Scientists create their own ‘teacher-friendly’ book to counter climate denial in schools

For two years in a row, lawmakers in Idaho have successfully removed climate science from the state’s public school curriculum despite overwhelming public support from teachers and students. This year, when lawmakers successfully voted for a second time in February to remove key references to climate science from education standards, one representative defended the move by arguing that the decision didn’t prohibit teachers from teaching the science — only that it was no longer required for teachers to do so.

But critics of removing the climate references argued that the lack of statewide standards would leave teachers — especially those in more rural districts, where climate science is considered more politically controversial — without meaningful resources to help teach kids about climate change.

“We are here today not just for those students in classrooms across our state, but for tomorrow’s nurses, farmers, lawmakers, teachers, bankers, and citizens who deserve the very best science, and science education, not some watered down, censored version,” Dick Jordan, a retired high school science teacher, told legislators during a public hearing before the state’s House Education Committee in early February. “We can’t ignore science even when it makes us uncomfortable.”

Now, one group is working to bring climate science to the students no matter what. On February 13, one week after lawmakers approved the climate science-less standards, every public high school in the state will begin receiving The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change — a resource that a group of former science teachers hope will help educators combat misinformation about climate change at a time when lawmakers seem intent on censoring climate science from schools.

As we look forward to the coming decades, the most important challenges that we as a society face are grounded in the very connected issues of climate, energy, water, and soil,” Don Duggan-Haas, director of teacher programs at the Paleontological Research Institution and an author of the book, told ThinkProgress. “If we don’t understand what we’re doing with, and to, those resources, then we are in serious trouble.”

Aside from high-profile cases like Idaho, where lawmakers or education boards have specifically stepped in to quell what kind of climate science teachers are required to cover in their curriculum, students across the United States are generally exposed to at least some climate science during middle and high school. According to a 2016 survey by researchers at Penn State University and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), three out of four science teachers spend at least one hour of their annual curriculum teaching climate science.

But the survey found that while 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by human activity, that consensus didn’t make its way into teaching — 30 percent reported teaching students that climate change is “likely due to natural causes,” while another 31 percent reported teaching climate change as an unsettled science. Less than a third of teachers surveyed knew that the consensus surrounding human activity and climate change was between 81 to 100 percent.

Organizations that routinely peddle climate misinformation have seized upon that gap in teacher understanding of the scientific consensus in an attempt to weaken climate science standards throughout the country.

Last May, the Heartland Institute — a think-tank that routinely challenges the consensus on climate science and counts Exxon and Koch-funded organization among its donorsmailed out 25,000 copies of a book titled Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, along with an accompanying DVD, to science teachers around the country. The book and DVD asks teachers to “consider the possibility” that climate science isn’t settled, and encourages educators to teach about a “vibrant debate taking place among scientists.”

The goal, according to Heartland, was to eventually get a copy of the book to every science teacher in the country.

The move elicited vocal criticism from both science and education groups, with both the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) issuing statements in opposition to the book.

At the time, scientists at the Paleontological Research Institution were already working on a book, funded by the National Science Foundation, that would help make climate science accessible to teachers across the country. But with the news that the Heartland Institute was working to disseminate their version of climate science to every teacher in the nation, the work took on a renewed kind of importance.

What was supposed to be a short-run project for maybe 100 teachers suddenly became a campaign to counter the Heartland’s climate misinformation. After launching a crowdfunding campaign this summer, Duggan-Haas and his colleagues have been able to print thousands of books, with plans to ship them to every science teacher in New York, Idaho, Florida, North and South Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada. If the crowd-funding campaign is successful enough, they, too, want to send books to every science teacher in the country.

It’s not a middle school or high school curriculum but rather a resource for the teacher to get them up to speed both on the physical science and the social science that makes teaching climate change a different kind of challenge than teaching photosynthesis for example,” Duggan-Haas said.

Duggan-Haas and his colleagues hope that by getting The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change into public schools around the country, teachers can begin to feel more comfortable with teaching a subject that has become so politically-charged in recent years. The guide is written specifically for teachers that might have a background in science but lack direct experience with climate or earth science, and even includes a Frequently Asked Questions section aimed at addressing persistent climate “myths,” like the idea that there has been no measured increase in global temperatures.

“While there is no shortage of credible science information that teachers can access (NOAA and NASA for example), this guide is different in that it speaks directly to teachers. It shares advice for what educators and students really need to know, and why,” Karin Kirk, a science education consultant who has worked with the authors of the book on separate projects, told ThinkProgress via email. “I love that this book is being used as the antidote to the Heartland Institute’s unwanted mailings, and even more than that I love the idea of an energized generation of students growing up with a solid understanding of this topic.”


How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List

How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content influences not only all aspects of our marketing but of our entire business as well.

Content is not something you can take lightly. It needs to be front and center of your strategy and it needs to be done well. The only issue is, it’s time-consuming.

For small business owners, finding the time to create high-quality content on a regular basis can seem impossible. With the ever-growing to-do list that so many business owners face, how can the content giant get taken care of without adding more to their plates?

The answer? Outsourcing.

Outsourcing your content creation efforts is far more common than you probably think, and in my opinion, it’s a necessary tactic if you want to do content marketing well. In today’s virtual world, the sky’s the limit for the talent that you can use to create the content for you.

Not only will it benefit your business, but it will likely save you money by giving you the time back needed to focus on other lucrative areas of your business.

Below are a few tips for outsourcing that will get you on your way to being a successful content creation machine.

1. Own your process and strategy

So here’s the thing. You can, and should, absolutely outsource the creation of your content, but you must still own your process and strategy (it is your business after all).

The only way to outsource effectively is to put systems in place that ensure successful collaboration between you and your outsourced team.

I’d recommend using a project management tool to manage deadlines and provide feedback efficiently. Things can get lost in email and has the potential to get messy. I use Asana, but there are a lot of tools out there that can help you get the job done.

Getting a routine going between you and your outsourced partners can also be extremely beneficial. For example, have blog posts due to you for review every Thursday and podcast show notes due every Wednesday. That way, you know what to expect and when to expect it, and the person creating the content will also know what they need to be doing and when without a lot of back and forth communication.

Develop an editorial calendar that lays out a strategy that your outsourced team can refer to. Planning ahead makes month-to-month operations easier for you, and lets your content creators know what’s to come.

2. Be picky

Anybody can really claim to be a writer, but claiming to be a writer and actually being one are two different things. When searching for somebody to outsource this work to, seek out references and testimonials, and ask them to write a blog post for a title you give them to see how they approach your topics and writing style.

There are numerous sites out there that you can use to find writers, including:

In the beginning, take the time to review the work for specifics, style, tone, and voice. Edit each post to make sure it still represents the brand well, and feel free to tweak a bit to add a personal touch. Provide your content creators with feedback from the beginning, otherwise, they’ll never be able to learn what you’re truly looking for. If they don’t apply the feedback to future posts, you should consider this a red flag.

If you find they are consistently living up to your expectations, bring them on board. The review process will take less time the more they get used to writing for you. In fact, you’ll hopefully get to the point where you don’t have to review their work at all.

It’s important that you do what you can to prevent bottlenecks. There may be times that your content isn’t 100% perfect but, don’t let an endless editing phase prevent you from getting your content out into the world.

Your audience cares more about receiving helpful information than they do about whether or not your author’s tone perfectly aligns with the brand.

3. Remove the guesswork

You must be clear about the instructions you give your writers in terms of tone, style, and formatting. Create a document that outlines these areas for each of your writing needs as well as any background information that is necessary for them to get the job done.

It can be easy to blame remote writers for creating less-than-ideal content, but if you haven’t taken the time to provide the information they need to get the job done, then the blame is on you.

4. Focus on results

When it comes to your content efforts, you must always be paying attention to the results you’re seeing. Even if the content appears to check all the boxes on your list, it doesn’t mean it will perform well once it’s published.

Keep an eye on the metrics to see what resonates with your audience and what does not.

Keep in mind that one piece of content shouldn’t dictate strategy moving forward. You need to look for trends to help you decide what to stick with and what to revise moving forward.

5. Take care of your team

Your outsourced team may be remote, but they’re still a part of your team now and should be treated as such. Don’t forget to give positive feedback when it’s deserved. People want to work for those that appreciate them. The more valued and appreciated they feel, the better the work they produce will be.

By outsourcing content, you are able to focus on areas business of your business that require your attention. If you feel inclined, you can still create one thorough piece of content on your own each week to help keep you on your toes and current with marketing trends, but that’s entirely up to you.

Outsourcing can be extremely valuable for your business, provided you do it the right way and pay special attention to the process.

Remember, although another person is doing the work, it’s your or your brand and reputation that stand behind it, so don’t take the process and development lightly.

Now you can use Alexa to create music playlists

 The recent arrival of the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max have demonstrated, if nothing else, what a smart speaker can be when it’s music first. On the other hand, audio’s never been as much of a driver on Amazon’s Echo line, though the company did take a small step in that direction with its recent refresh.
This week, the company’s adding another small but useful… Read More

How to Create Engaging Social Media Graphics (Even If You’re Not a Designer)

Generating engagement on social media is imperative for any brand that wants to boost awareness or grow a customer base—which let’s face it, is every brand.

So it’s no secret that as consumers of digital media, our newsfeeds are overwhelmed with customer stories, updates and calls to action as a result. As users, we’re getting inundated, and as social media managers, we’re finding it tougher to stand out.

The strategy for those in the know? Get visual.

The Importance of Getting Visual on Social Media

The power of visuals to grab attention and drive engagement is undeniable. Think about it, what type of content do you engage with in your own time?

A study by OKDork and BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million articles and found that including an image with a post on Facebook more than tripled the amount of shares that post received, while on Twitter shares more than doubled.

facebook shares with and without visuals

Adding at least one image to the body of an article more than doubled the times it was shared too.

This isn’t a new idea. In his popular book “Brain Rules“, published nearly a decade ago, molecular biologist Dr. John Medina wrote that vision trumps all other senses:

“If information is presented orally, people remember about 10 percent, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 65 percent if you add a picture.”

But deciding to go visual is just the first step. Doing it in a way that will engage, while elevating your brand and fostering trust with your target audience, requires a little design know-how and strategic vision—no pun intended.

Over at Adobe Spark, we’re advocates of good design. In this article, we’ll explore how you can incorporate some basic design principles into your social media graphics to boost your brand awareness and affinity immediately.

As a bonus, each design principle has an accompanying set of post templates that are totally free for you to use.

Basic Design Principles for Strong Graphics

1. Legibility

Perhaps the most important principle of good design is so obvious, it’s easy to take for granted: make sure your text is easy to read.

Don’t overdo it with fancy typefaces that might look pretty, but ultimately will detract from legibility.

Keep in mind that US consumers now spend an average of five hours a day on mobile device with an estimated 50% of that time in social media apps. This means a large share of your content will be consumed on the small screen. Keep that font size up.

blackberry jam adobe spark template

Blackberry jam template

Modern Art adobe spark template

Modern art fair template

Pro-tip: You’ll want to be cognizant of color contrast. Steer clear of color combinations that create visual vibrations, which is when colors don’t contrast enough and appear to bleed into one another.

color contrast

2. Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the use of stylistic elements like color, type size and positioning to convey the relative importance of information on a page.

Like punctuation or syntax, hierarchy provides order and helps readers prioritize and comprehend information more quickly and accurately, and ultimately enhances communication.

A few things to keep in mind as you build your designs: everyone reads top-down and most cultures read left to right by nature. Bold visual cues like a heavy font or strong color can create tension in our natural processing.

When creating graphics for social media, where skimming is standard and you’re trying to grab a viewer’s attention, keeping a clear hierarchy is paramount.

Succulents Adobe Spark Template

Succulents template

Pop Quiz Adobe Spark template

Pop quiz template

3. Color

Color is an invaluable tool for creating contrast and balance. But it is important to be aware of how certain hues or pairings influence perception. Some colors such as those in the red and yellow families, can stimulate and energize, while others such as those in the blue spectrum can convey calm and trustworthiness.

As you start your designs, think about what feelings you want to evoke. Once you have a sense of your desired mood and effects, you can play around with professionally designed color palettes in Spark post to get an idea of color groupings that create harmony and balance, and how to use them in your messaging.

modern business adobe spark template

Build a modern business template

five spices adobe spark template

Spices template

4. Typography

Much like color, typography conveys mood and tone, sometimes more more powerfully than the copy it delivers. When choosing a font, think about the desired tone of your words.

Some of your copy may be intended as more humorous; some more serious. Know where you have room for expressive flourishes with your typeface and where you’d like your font to be more neutral. From there, you can explore which typefaces work best together.

Cupcakes adobe spark template

Cupcake template

coffee adobe spark template

Coffee template

5. Context

Distribution may come at the end of your content workflow, but it is important to be thinking about where your visuals will live every step of the way so that you can tailor your graphics to the sizes and preferences of the respective social media platform.

Spending a little time exploring your customer’s motivations is crucial to this step. You want to be sure that once you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, you’re offering some value and not just being a distraction.

Every audience is different, so I can’t tell you what will work best for your brand. However, I find that it helps to start by thinking about the underlying motivations for why people share. A New York Times Customer Insight Group broke the reasons people share into five main categories:

  1. To bring valuable, enlightening and entertaining content into the lives of people they care about.
  2. To define themselves.
  3. To grow and nourish their relationships.
  4. Self-fulfillment.
  5. To get the word out about causes they believe in.

One of the things I love most about Adobe Spark is that once you’ve decided what you want to share where, it can help you with the heavy lifting of optimizing your visuals for a range of social networks with the handy resize feature. You can also use Landscape by Sprout Social to quickly resize your images to share across multiple social media channels.

Not sure what size your social media graphic needs to be? Here’s a list of the ideal social media image size for every platform.

Social Graphics & Brand Identity

Armed with the basics of good graphic design for social media, we can now turn our attention to brand identity and how to leverage your visuals to reinforce and elevate your brand story.

The fundamental building block of brand is consistency. It takes five to seven impressions for people to begin to recognize your brand. This means that repetition of key brand ingredients—logo, colors and typeface—is essential.

If your graphics look and feel cohesive and related, then users can form a clearer understanding of your brand in their minds. If your graphics look and feel different every time, they will have no cumulative branding effect (except for ensuring that your users don’t know what to expect).

adobe spark social media graphic templates

Adobe Spark’s premium features allow you to seamlessly integrate your brand ingredients, such as your logo and colors, into all of your social media graphics. That way, every piece of content will look consistent and professional—and Spark delivers 24 branded templates for a variety of platforms and use-cases that you can create from.

This post How to Create Engaging Social Media Graphics (Even If You’re Not a Designer) originally appeared on Sprout Social.

How to Create Winning Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are one of the most creative types of video out there. They can be quick and spontaneous or planned out to the smallest detail. I’m working with Wave on a fun challenge for Instagram Stories! Join the #MakeWaves challenge on December 8th until 8 pm ET for Instagram Stories. Details here! Or enter as…

The post How to Create Winning Instagram Stories appeared first on Peg Fitzpatrick – social media educator and influencer.

How to Create the Perfect Facebook Business Page

create-facebook-business-page-thumbnail

In the digital age, there are more ways for businesses to reach targeted audiences than ever  before. Think about it. You’ve got your mailing lists, search engines, display advertising networks… and of course, social media sites. Of all the social media platforms, I think it’s safe to say that one rules supreme. Good ol’ Facebook. With the largest user-base and powerful engagement […]

You’re reading How to Create the Perfect Facebook Business Page which was originally published on SEO Services by RankPay™ → If you don't rank, you don't pay.

CARFIT And CEA Create A Joint Lab On Artificial Intelligence

CARFIT and CEA Partner

CARFIT and CEA have signed an agreement to create a joint laboratory focused on Artificial Intelligence related to car vibrations and their interpretation. The lab will bring together teams from the List, a CEA Tech Institute, and from CARFIT to share knowledge and expertise. The joint lab will be dedicated to the development of artificial intelligence methods for identifying signs of mechanical failures exposed by car vibrations.

CARFIT develops technological solutions to simplify mobility, by proposing real-time car monitoring to offer a smart maintenance system, adapted to the driver’s car use. The CARFIT team is comprised of automobile specialists, scientists, and artificial intelligence experts. CARFIT wants to further develop its predictive maintenance expertise by exploiting automobile vibration data analysis.

As a major research player at the national and international level, the CEA fulfills its industry competitiveness mission through CEA Tech, the CEA Technological Research Division. More specifically, the List institute carries out research on smart digital systems. The List’s teams already lead research projects on in-vehicle systems, interactive systems, and sensors and signal processing. As a Carnot institute (TN@UPSaclay), the List’s collaboration with CARFIT joins Carnauto spinneret action to strengthen competitiveness and attractiveness of the companies of the automotive domain by facilitating their access to the innovation.

The activities of CARFIT and CEA are thus complementary, enabling a fruitful collaboration on automobile predictive maintenance by vibration analysis. The two partners have therefore agreed to conduct a common R&D, leading to the design and development of optimized, innovative solutions of predictive maintenance for light-duty vehicles (authorized loaded weight not to exceed 3.5 tons).

“As an autotech startup, the creation of a joint lab with the CEA is a key milestone for CARFIT. This lab will extend our capabilities in Artificial Intelligence beyond what we could have done alone and opens up opportunities within the automotive ecosystem already in collaboration with the CEA.” says Nicolas OLIVIER – CEO of CARFIT.

“The List institute contributes to the automotive revolution through the autonomous and connected car and the development of digital services.” declares Philippe Watteau, Directeur de l’Institut List. “The Artificial Intelligence is at the heart of this revolution and our collaboration with CARFIT is going to open the way to the maintenance of tomorrow which will be predictive and as a service.”

This cooperation opens the way to the development of innovative architecture taking advantage of the deep learning to improve the diagnostic accuracy, to anticipate the failures and to maximize the mechanical defect coverage of vehicle components by vibration analysis.

Disclaimer: CARFIT is an alumnus of our ReadWrite Labs accelerator program. Kyle Ellicott is also an advisor to the company.

The post CARFIT And CEA Create A Joint Lab On Artificial Intelligence appeared first on ReadWrite.