Google’s Fall Rollouts

You could go to one of the many Google blogs and be distracted by flashy ads invading the side panel of your screen and be bombarded by Facebook notifications of useless polls and updates. Or you can let me highlight Google’s big announcements below. Still here? Good.


Editing a Microsoft® Office document, let’s say Excel, is not that easy on a Google Nexus tablet, or any Android device for that matter. Sure it’s easy to view a document with Smart Office, but you cannot make changes. Google introduces Quickoffice, free to use and easily integrates with Office and Drive.

Note: Everybody likes free swag. So when you log into Google Drive from your Quickoffice account by September 26, 2013, you’ll receive an extra 10GB of Google Drive storage.


Google Keep
I use my Google Keep post-it app daily and now it syncs seamlessly with Google Drive. Also recently rolled out, Google Keep features time and location reminders you can set to your checklists. For example, I can make a grocery list on my tablet in Google Keep and with a click of a button, it is accessible on my PC via Drive to print out for the grocery store. I can also be notified of such a list when approaching the destination thanks to Google Now location reminders.


Open edX
Google teamed with edX to “further innovate” the open source MOOC platform. Both companies have the same goal: to accelerate education by making it accessible through technology. With this shared vision and Google as a contributor to edX’s new website, students will hve access to quality learning.


In an effort to make college education more affordable and accessible, Google is partnering with colleges to offer reduced priced Chromebooks. Twenty percent of school districts deploy Chromebooks with Google towering the market at the $300 price mark. This school offers Chromebooks fully equipped to its students with a price tag under $200.


Google Translate
The latest version of Google Translate for iOS recognizes handwritten text in nearly 50 languages. I can literally use my stylus to handwrite umlauts or Chinese characters rephrased letter by letter.


New Hampshire’s Best Known Secret

There are two event websites I use for niché groups and networking – Meetup and Eventbrite. These sites are useful to finding activities in your area. This week I attended a 3½ hour NH Salesforce User Group (via Eventbrite) held at the FIRST headquarters.

I will gladly use this time to capitalize on “New Hampshire’s best known secret.” So you know those segways that public safety officers and annoying tourists scoot about on? The Human Transporter was invented by Dean Kamen of DEKA, and noted friend of inventor Ray Kurzweil. In an effort to get students (ages 6-18) more excited about STEM careers – engineering, robotic design, and animation, Dean Kamen started the nonprofit FIRST. Inspired students plan and then construct working renditions of moveable models with LEGO® Robotics, and often work with scientists to solve real-world problems. Competitions aspire students to gain 21st Century skills including creative problem solving and fosters lifetime exploration of science and technology for children, our tomorrow’s leaders.

Back to the User Group…

A user group is essentially like-minded people gathering around a table of donuts and coffee (sadly no NY bagels) sharing ideas, tips and tools of the trade. I listened, I shared, I observed. We discussed best ways to use Salesforce to attract different audiences, how we can bridge the gap with mobile communication and by using the CRM platform to its greatest potential, see substantial ROI. As an audience member, I was most impressed with Southern NH University’s College for America demonstration as I saw first hand the student portal, paying close attention to how the organization optimized the system for their user. An opportunity to see inside some of New Hampshire’s most promising companies and a chance to learn about SF best business practices, this was an event I will have to wait until next February to attend again.

Salesforce projecting the future.

This is a chance for me to fancy everyone with my hands-on knowledge implementing Salesforce Enterprise edition for multiple companies. I can subduely glorify my experience here.

At the TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference this week, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff candidly discussed his glory days with mentor and inspiration, Steve Jobs.  Benioff attributed Salesforce’s success to Jobs and followed his vision in leading the company: “Respect the past, but project the future.” It was this piece of advice, however that has led Salesforce down a prosperous path: Jobs quotes, “Saleforce needs to be ten times larger with the backing of at least one huge client and needs to become an application ecosystem.” That was in the beginning days of SF at a meeting they both attended and Jobs’ guidance has resonated since.

And what a path it has been.

The Nitty Gritty
A powerful tool, Salesforce manages the whole sales operations of a company down to process workflow, contact information, dashboard and analytics, and a robust reporting feature. This is a cloud-based system with customizable fields and integrations through APIs and the AppExchange network.

Who uses it?
Many companies use Salesforce internally and platforms such as SharePoint, Outlook, and Quickbooks all integrate together. My college, SNHU has been using SF to enhance their practices and recognized the potential of the platform for “its fast, scalable solutions to manage students’ data.”

Application ecosystem
Gladly speaking, Salesforce is a one-stop-shop for all a company’s needs. In addition to its CRM platform and cloud computing capabilities, adds a social networking platform called Chatter and Mobile Services platform for connecting with multiple devices amongst other features.

Salesforce has evolved into a company representing millions of marketing, sales and customer service professionals and is the world’s number one cloud platform. Luckily I can say I know the program like the back of my hand and one day it will be useful to me again.

This week’s cleaning house, the EdTech rattlers

Competency-based degrees, MOOCs and EdTech Innovators

Towson University launches its business incubator, TowsonGlobal, responsible for connecting EdTech companies and entrepreneurs.

Boston becomes the MOOC capital of the Northeast with the recent announcement of BostonX, a joint partnership with EdX offering free online courses.

President Obama commends my alma mater, Southern New Hampshire University on affordable solutions to competency-based degrees. View video here.

Pearson expands blended/online learning with Howard University. Students can now choose up to 25 online degrees with this flagship program.

Cengage Learning pre-negotiates bankruptcy.

NoRedInk, the online grammar tool is $2 million strong. Don’t fear the red pen!

Degree or not degree?

I’m nearing that age when you start to wonder what should I do with the rest of my life? The quarter life crisis. In a quest to find the right graduate school, this is what I’ve learned:

Apply to colleges with large endowments. Harvard really has a large petty cash fund.

Look at free unconventional learning models. Degreed helps you find free learning tools based on subject; this is where I found MIT’s The Creative Spark course.

Don’t be fooled by a graduate certificate program.

Teach for America, still healthy and strong, defers your student loans. The founder, Wendy Kopp recently spoke at BU’s 2013 commencement.

SNHU’s College for America acknowledges the workforce crisis and offers a competency-based, self-paced AA degree, the first nationally accredited program of its kind.

SNHU, My Alma Mater Considered One of the 50 Most Innovative Companies

Who would have thought that Southern New Hampshire University is considered the forerunner in innovating Higher Education.

Check out:

Snuggled in between highlights of such companies as HBO and my new favorite auto, Tesla, SNHU is changing online education not only in New England, but across the US too.

A small school with intelligent educators in a small town with not much going on. I am not complaining about my education. However, I am wary of a school more concerned with putting money into lawn sculptures rather than money where its needed most: the classroom. 

In an effort to look at this article with perhaps less disdained eyes, I come to the notion that yes, SNHU is undertaking what will be a lucrative outcome. If with the right believers and advisors of a MOOC (massive open online course) instruction model, then this not-for-profit institution will surely rise to be the leader in New England at least, if not the country like President LeBlanc hopes.