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STEM + Arts Cultivating Better Students

Riverdale Country School in New York City is the most expensive preschool in the country, and it is no coincidence that it offers a hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum. Preschoolers have classes in counting, geometric shapes, and seasonal changes. By 2nd grade they explore the scientific method, magnets, simple machines, and even the origins of the universe. By middle school, students are heavily into earth and environmental science and learn math as a form of reasoning.

What Is STEM?

graphics-02The wisdom of this approach is that it teaches preschoolers to look at the world around them with enjoyment and curiosity. STEM gives kids the tools they need to understand the world and reason through problems. As the adage goes, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he has food forever.”

The 21st century tools (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) provided by STEM get to the underlying functionality of today’s world. Science and technology encompasses the use of smartphones, tablets, and computers, along with a wealth of other devices, while science explains how things work. Engineering gives curious minds the tools needed to bring ideas to life. Mathematics is a basic building block that helps adults balance a checkbook, evaluate financial problems, get the best bargain, file taxes, and more.

With all the job growth available in STEM-related fields, it is no surprise that it has quickly become a watchword for the modern educator. Destination Imagination rises to the challenge by reframing traditional education and curricula to accommodate a more analytical focus and project based learning. They work to prepare students for the careers of today and the new career opportunities of tomorrow.

Building a Day Around STEM

graphics-01STEM learning can and should be adapted into daily life. The addition of a few vocabulary words might be all it takes to adjust the learning focus. Instead of asking a child how or why, encourage her to design and experiment. This simple change can reap dramatic rewards. It will help a child learn to attempt solutions and become solution oriented.

Destination Imagination uses a 5-step process to guide learners from idea to finished product. The free flowing style used allows those children who learn by doing to dive into a project, while students who use a planning model have the opportunity to think through a solution before implementing it. In either case, students gain the benefits of each step of the Destination Imagination process.

The STEM approach also embraces the idea that the arts are an often overlooked foundation for critical thinking. Getting involved in the community and encouraging learners to take risks in a safe environment helps keep their curiosity active and maintain their engagement.

Using theater in early learning can provide a platform for risk taking, like performing a fairy tale. The 2014-15 Destintation Imagination challenge schedule includes the creation of a fairy tale, offering an excellent opportunity to translate from the page to the stage. This leap encompasses feats of engineering, a variety of technology, budgeting needs, and the ability to express without facing personal ridicule. Leadership skills, teamwork, and collaboration form the core of a successful show. By changing STEM to STEAM, (including the Arts) STEM concepts can be applied to every aspect of life, from buying a house to tackling repairs.

Are you ready to get your kids started with Destination Imagination? Start a Team Today!

Mobile is More Than Snapchat for College Kids

Ragging on college kids and their mobile devices is easy to do, but these little devices that have a world of knowledge are not leaving hands anytime soon.

From Snapchat to Blackboard and everything in between, we’re in a digital revolution and we have the opportunity to create an environment that cultivates life long learners. But, in order to do so, we must adopt technologies and ideologies that are engrained in students’ everyday lives.

[stag_button url=”” style=”purple” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”]Read the rest on #TeamMyraid’s Blog[/stag_button]

Questions to Ask: What Apps Have You Developed?

Starting a mobile strategy is tough. It’s one of the most challenging projects I worked on with my former team. Since transitioning over to Myriad Mobile, I’ve been able to gather some of those thoughts and here’s the first! Simple and concise – what to ask potential mobile partners.

Question 1: What apps have you developed?

Almost any mobile company can give you a list of apps they’ve developed. If a suite of apps with case study-esque descriptions isn’t available on their website, that should raise a red flag. Qualified developers will be eager to hand over a list of apps they’ve have a hand in completing. Make sure to follow up with how much of the app they were responsible for, whether it be the design, development, or the initial strategy or the whole thing.

[stag_button url=”” style=”purple” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”]Read the rest on #TeamMyraid’s Blog[/stag_button]

Super 7 – Top Apps for the 4th of July

We’re just a few short hours away from America’s very own hot dogs, apple pie, temporary- deafness-due-to-aggressive-lighting-of-hand-held-explosives holiday! Fourth of July or Independence Day, whatever you choose to call it, is probably my favorite holiday of the year because it stands for everything that is right in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Whether your patriotic plans include food, friends, family, fireworks or some combination of all four, here is my list of the top mobile apps you’ll need to not only survive, but to also celebrate in style.


Part art, part science, grilling is more than just throwing meat on a grill over a bed of hot coals (or propane). Knowing how to properly cook a steak or roast vegetables will ensure that your patriotic guests won’t go hungry, or get sick. These solid apps will help arm you with a musket of grill skills to defeat the redcoats.

[stag_button url=”” style=”purple” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”]Read the rest on #TeamMyraid’s Blog[/stag_button]

Have a Whale of an Online Presence

[stag_intro]One of my good friends, who is also now a co-worker at Sanford, started up a company a few years ago dedicated to helping non-profits break through the idea that non-profit online presences can’t be any better than mediocre. She is a brilliant strategist who has big company know how that can fit into a small company budget.  She’s basically amazing. Her company Beluga Social has some fantastic resources that I wanted to share with ya’ll![/stag_intro]

[stag_divider style=”plain”]1. Website Review Worksheet

I love this resource because it’s easy to digest, yet chock full of great nuggets of easy to implement action items. Some of my favs include:

  • Your domain name makes sense?
  • Is your mission on your site?
  • Is it easy to figure out how to contact your organization?

[stag_button url=”” style=”purple” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”]Beluga’s Non-Profit Website Review Worksheet[/stag_button]

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2. Blog Review Worksheet

Again – simple, easy to digest, brilliant checklist of what to do and how to measure. From the basics to analyzing your blog to make sure you’re reaching your audience, this one-pager will bring your blog to the next level. While some of the things might seem simple or ‘duh’, both Margot and I have come across too many non-profits that are failing when it comes to their blogs. Fav things:

  • Is your logo on the blog?
  • Updated on a regular basis.
  • Linked to Google Analytics.

[stag_button url=”” style=”purple” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_self”]Beluga’s Non-Profit Blog Review[/stag_button]

[stag_divider style=”plain”]3. Social Media Strategy Worksheet

Margot and I love social, like we really love social. While it looks high level, this worksheet is incredibly comprehensive and is one that I used to start our enterprise social strategy which (in my mind) shows the versatility, elasticity, and overall adaptability of this worksheet. Fav things:

  • Describing your audience segments.
  • How will you integrate into other types of communication?
  • What does success look like?

[stag_button url=”” style=”purple” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_self”]Beluga’s Social Media Strategy Worksheet[/stag_button]

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Like I said earlier, she’s great! Check out her company Beluga Social, but don’t bug her too much – she’s planning a wedding!


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[stag_one_third] Margot’s Twitter



@SanfordMargot [/stag_one_third]

[stag_one_third] Margot’s LinkedIn

Connect Here [/stag_one_third]

[stag_one_third_last] Margot’s Facebook

Beluga Social [/stag_one_third_last]

#WeMustBeBold – My Learns From OTA in 140 Characters

One of the things I’ve been forgetting in my beige hug is the power that social has to bring people together, to unite in one conversation with many voices. My co-worker/friend Melissa invited me to OTA this year and my faith in multichannel conversations via social was renewed. The movers/shakers/fantastic people at this conference are much better writers than I, so I bring to you what I learned from OTA in their tweets.

1. Figure out where you’re going before you get there.

3. Remember that Google only tells part of a person’s story. They don’t populate search results for the people, experiences, and hardships that got you to where you are today.

4. Associate yourself with greatness. It’s so easy to get caught up in going out and having a good time that we sometimes don’t really see the people around us. Are the people around you making you better?

5. Ryan Gosling will always support you. AND it’s ok to like The Notebook.

6. How are you supposed to know who you should surround yourself with? Antonio broke it down:

7. Despite being in the frozen tundra, we can trend.

8. 97% of everything is crap. So look for the 3% of greatness.

9. You don’t have to be a wizard of Keynote to be a great speaker and showing that vulnerability just makes you more lovable.

10. Honesty in advertising wins.

11. A good story is a great thing.


13. Create, create, create! The more you create, the better you get, the better you get the better you feel, the better you feel the better you create.

14. Know who you are, know your story, and know your headline.

15. Non-profits and charities can and should have beautiful brands.

Basically, I left Sioux Falls on Friday with my bucket of inspiration filled to the brim and spent three hours dreaming, imagining and strategizing how to convert that bucket into my reality. What that actually looks like, I’m not totally sure, but I do know one thing – #WeMustBeBold.


What is Social Media?

… One of the toughest, yet most thought provoking questions I’ve been asked in a long time. But to get a start, Random House says it like this:

social media

noun ( usually used with a plural verb ) Digital Technology . websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts: Many businesses are using social media as a means to generate sales.

Almost everyone who is passionately immersed (professionally and personally) in what they do is sometimes too close to the subject to give an objective answer.  And that was me in this case.  After the standard, “well that’s a very good question,” I took a moment to collect and realized that there was no need for objectivity in this case. What was needed was an honest conversation about what ‘being social’ actually means.

I was like ‘ello?

MEME-BLOG-social-media-explained-donuts‘Online communications used by large groups to share information’ – so cold, so high level, so not what I’ve based my career on. So what does social actually mean to me? Social media is about developing a community and building a group of people who are passionate about a cause, an organization, or an activity.  Businesses and organizations who simply ‘push out information’ are doing an injustice to the platforms and people within their community by not truly engaging. These communities are built of vibrant, two-way communication driven, people. The people who make up our communities have unique stories, personalities and points of view, but at the same time have a common bond between them.  Organizations ‘winning’ the social media game right now are those that recognize it’s more than a promotion channel, it’s an opportunity to tell the stories of their community and start real conversations about those stories.  Those that are simply using these magical avenues as pushing out marketing messages are missing the mark and the enormous opportunity they have to fill up our audiences trust buckets with the love and affection of their community.

Without people,we don’t have a community. Without community, we don’t have stories to tell.  What are we left with then? I wish I had some prolific answer, but unfortunately I don’t. I just know that no matter how big/small/tall/short/fat/skinny our social communities are, we have an obligation and honor of sharing the stories of our community and if we ignore that obligation, we miss the mark and potential of social.

What is social media? Simply put, it’s telling and engaging in the stories of your community. Have a fantastic Monday 🙂 -Max

Max’s (Social) Fab Four

I get asked all the time from both business owners and non-profits, “what social networks should I be on?” I always give the same answer, “it all depends on what your strategy is!” And while I am a firm believer that I’m absolutely correct in starting with strategy before tactics, I do want to share my favorite or ‘fab’ four of social networks.  These magically seem to fit into almost any strategy I’ve developed and executed.

Ok – stop gabbing. Where should I be?

1. Facebook

One of my favorite networks is also one that I spend a lot of time perusing. What makes Facebook make my fab four? So far in the world of digital, it seems to be one of the only networks that has transcended the lifespan of the typical social site.  If social networks had a lifespan, Facebook would be your great granny – that’s still kickin’ strong! One of the most exciting things (for me) is Facebook’s continual growth in a time when the latest niche social platform is birthing and dying.

2. LinkedIn

Are you a professional or want to become one? Then you should be on LinkedIn. It’s really as easy as that. Get the idea out of your head that you should only be on LinkedIn when you’re looking for a job. Learn more about why your ass needs to be on LinkedIn by checking out my blog post from June here >>

3. Twitter

As my papa was ramping up his and his school’s social footprints, he was doing an interview with his local radio station.  At the end of the interview papa Jon told the listeners they could follow him for updates on sports scores, school closings, and everyday happenings. The DJ replied “Twitter? I thought that was just to tell people what kinda sandwich you ate at lunch.” If you’re reading this, I think you know it’s not just for telling what you had for lunch. After all, you can tweet about #JuanPablo and this season of #TheBachelor.

4. Google+

I’m a cheater when it comes to Google+.  I use it as an aggregator for my LinkedIn and Facebook content. But you and I both know that Google is taking over the world – so we might as well be early adopters. Again – learn more on why in my post from November >>

Ok that’s the breakdown of my fab four. High level? Yes.  True? Yes. Boom.


Max’s Social Marketing Advent Calendar – Reflection

December 29: Love Google.

You may think it’s an evil empire, but in reality they’re changing the world for the better. Check out this blog post to see more reasons to love Uncle Googs.

December 30: Go stead with Pinterest.

Make sure you’ve converted your business Pinterest to an official page. Why wouldn’t you? Unless you have no access to your company’s website.  (guilty)

December 31. Reflect.

How was your year in social? What were your ups and downs.  Wins? Document the shit out of them and hand them to your boss man/boss lady and their boss too.  Make sure everyone knows how awesome you really are. Good luck and happy new year.