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One of the hardest things about being an English language arts teacher is teaching writing, especially fiction—students tend to believe that a person either is or is not a writer and that they are one of the nots. To counter this, I’ve always looked for ways to engage students in writing for nontraditional purposes. That’s not easy, but I’ve found a great new way to engage students in writing fiction by connecting it to their love of games.

For teachers who are new to the world of gaming, I’d suggest exploring the world of text-based games, one of the oldest types of computer games. In these games, players are given text-based descriptions of what is happening in the game, and they type what they want to do next (like “go west” or “pick up the ax”). To get a sense of what kinds of storytelling are possible in text-based games, check out the Zork series.

When I started doing research into these games, I discovered that they’re a type of interactive fiction. I’ve found that when used well, interactive fiction is a fantastic way to teach literacy skills.

Here are some of the skills that interactive fiction develops:

Plot: Interactive fiction helps students recognize the different aspects of plot (such as protagonist, antagonist, conflict, and resolution) and apply them to their writing.

Proofreading: Proofreading game code to make sure everything is where it needs to be is crucial—and needs to be constantly practiced. It’s also a habit that transfers easily to writing: The importance of punctuation in coding is the same as the importance of punctuation in standard writing.

Descriptive writing: When you’re creating a game that requires people to read everything in order to understand what’s going on, strong description skills are needed. This is a wonderful way to help students work on their imagery skills. The more details they provide in their stories, the better the game will be.

I developed an original project incorporating all of these skills that you can use with your students. I also created my own game, which you can use as an example for students before you start the project.

Note: You don’t have to know how to code to do this lesson—don’t let the coding element scare you away!

In order to get the most out of this lesson, I recommend giving your students seven or eight class periods to write and code their stories. If some of your students are more into storytelling than coding and others are more into coding, you might consider allowing them to team up, with one student in charge of the story and the other writing the code. At the end, the team can present the finished product to the class.

Days 1 and 2

To begin, I introduce my students to the Raspberry Pi RPG tutorial program, which helps students learn how the code works. Students will need access to a computer or laptop—but not necessarily a Raspberry Pi—for this lesson to follow along. These first couple of days are all about understanding how the code works in the examples provided by the tutorial and learning which pieces of code they need to copy verbatim and which pieces they need to adapt by adding information that is specific to their own story. Proofreading skills are really put to the test here because everything needs to be copied exactly as it is written or the code will crash.

Days 3 to 5

Students start to build out their games. They work on their descriptive writing as they flesh out the environment of their game and build multiple rooms. This is a great time for the teacher to connect with students to see how their stories are shaping up and help them with their imagery.

Days 6 to 8

Final proofreading and debugging should take place to ensure that the games are ready to share with the class. Trinket allows users to share links to their games so that others can remix them and try them out. Students can easily share links using Google Docs or Google Classroom.

When I did this lesson with my classes, my students were highly engaged as they began to explore the more complex ways to create their game and build their narrative. In their games, every turn and move had a consequence they needed to account for in the code. This helped students take a deep dive into their stories and plan far ahead. The maps they created were very complex, but that helped them visualize their games in order to code them. Students who did not consider themselves coders were having a blast and sharing their game with their friends.

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How To Add Interactive Animations To Your App With Motionlayout

What is MotionLayout?

Getting started: ConstaintLayout 2.0

Start by creating a new project. You can use any settings, but when prompted, opt to “Include Kotlin support.”

MotionLayout was introduced in ConstraintLayout 2.0 alpha1, so your project will need access to version 2.0 alpha1 or higher. Open your build.gradle file, and add the following:


implementation '' How do I create a MotionLayout widget?

Every MotionLayout animation consists of:

A MotionLayout widget: Unlike other animation solutions such as TransitionManager, MotionLayout only supplies capabilities to its direct children, so you’ll typically use MotionLayout as the root of your layout resource file.

A MotionScene: You define MotionLayout animations in a separate XML file called a MotionScene. This means that your layout resource file only needs to contain details about your Views, and not any of the animation properties and effects that you want to apply to those Views.

Open your project’s activity_main.xml file, and create a MotionLayout widget, plus the button that we’ll be animating throughout this tutorial.

< android:layout_width=”match_parent” android:layout_height=”match_parent” <Button android:id=”@+id/button” android:layout_width=”wrap_content” android:layout_height=”wrap_content” android:text=”To the right (and back)” app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf=”parent” app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf=”parent”

The MotionScene file needs to be stored inside an “res/xml” directory. If your project doesn’t already contain this directory, then:

Name this directory “xml.”

Open the “Resource type” dropdown, and select “xml.”

Next, you need to create the XML file where you’ll build your MotionScene:

Since we’re animating a button, I’m going to name this file “button_MotionScene.”

Open the “xml/button_motionscene” file, and then add the following MotionScene element:

<MotionScene <MotionScene <Constraint android:id=”@+id/button” app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf=”parent” app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf=”parent” android:layout_width=”wrap_content” android:layout_height=”wrap_content” <Constraint android:id=”@+id/button” app:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf=”parent” android:layout_width=”wrap_content” android:layout_height=”wrap_content” <MotionScene <Transition motion:constraintSetStart=”@+id/starting_set” motion:constraintSetEnd=”@+id/ending_set” <Constraint android:id=”@+id/button” motion:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf=”parent” motion:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf=”parent” android:layout_width=”wrap_content” <Constraint android:id=”@+id/button” motion:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf=”parent” android:layout_width=”wrap_content” < android:layout_width=”match_parent” android:layout_height=”match_parent” android:id=”@+id/motionLayout_container” <Button android:id=”@+id/button” android:layout_width=”wrap_content” android:layout_height=”wrap_content” android:text=”Bottom right and back” app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf=”parent” app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf=”parent”

To start this animation, we need to call the transitionToEnd() method. I’m going to call transitionToEnd() when the button is tapped:


import android.os.Bundle import import android.view.View import* class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() { override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState) setContentView(R.layout.activity_main) } fun start(v: View) { motionLayout_container.transitionToEnd() } }

Install this project on a physical Android smartphone, tablet, or Android Virtual Device (AVD) and give the button a tap. The button widget should respond by moving from one corner of the screen to the other.

At this point we have a problem: once the button has moved to the upper-right corner of the screen, the animation is over and we can’t repeat it unless we exit and relaunch the app. How do we get the button back to its starting position?

Monitoring an animation with transitionToStart()

The easiest way to return a widget to its starting ConstraintSet, is to monitor the animation’s progress and then call transitionToStart() once the animation is complete. You monitor an animation’s progress by attaching a TransitionListener object to the MotionLayout widget.

TransitionListener has two abstract methods:

onTransitionCompleted(): This method is called when the transition is complete. I’ll be using this method to notify MotionLayout that it should move the button back to its original position.

onTransitionChange(): This method is called every time the progress of an animation changes. This progress is represented by a floating-point number between zero and one, which I’ll be printing to Android Studio’s Logcat.

Here’s the complete code:


import android.os.Bundle import import import android.util.Log import android.view.View import* class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() { override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState) setContentView(R.layout.activity_main) motionLayout_container.setTransitionListener( object: MotionLayout.TransitionListener { override fun onTransitionChange(motionLayout: MotionLayout?, startId: Int, endId: Int, progress: Float) { Log.d("TAG", "Progress:" + progress) } override fun onTransitionCompleted(motionLayout: MotionLayout?, currentId: Int) { if(currentId == { motionLayout_container.transitionToStart() } } } ) } fun start(v: View) { motionLayout_container.transitionToEnd() }

Currently, our button moves in a straight line from point A to point B. We can alter the shape of the animation path by defining some intermediate points. If you think of ConstraintSets as MotionLayout’s “resting states,” then keyframes are the points the widget must pass through en route to its next resting state.

MotionLayout supports various keyframes, but we’ll be focusing on:

KeyPosition: Modifies the path the widget takes during the animation.

KeyCycle: Adds an oscillation to your animation.

KeyAttribute: Applies a new attribute value at a specific point during the transition such as changing in color or size.

All keyframes must be placed inside a KeyFrameSet, which in turn must be placed inside a Transition element. Open the “button_motionscene.xml” file and add a KeyFrameSet:


<Transition android:id="@+id/my_transition" app:constraintSetStart="@+id/starting_set" app:constraintSetEnd="@+id/ending_set"

Let’s start by using a KeyPosition keyframe to alter the path our button widget takes through the animation.

A KeyPosition must specify the following:

motion:target: The ID of the widget that’s affected by the keyframe, which in this instance is the button widget.

motion:framePosition: The point where the keyframe is applied during the transition, ranging from the animation’s starting point (0) to its ending point (100).

app:percentX and motion:percentY: Each keyframe’s position is expressed as a pair of X and Y coordinates, although the result of these coordinates will be affected by the project’s motion:keyPositionType.

motion:keyPositionType: This controls how Android calculates the animation path, and by extension the X and Y coordinates. The possible values are parentRelative (relative to the parent container), deltaRelative (the distance between the widget’s start and end position) and pathRelative (the linear path between the widget’s start and end states).

I’m using KeyPosition to transform the animation’s straight line into a curve:


<Transition motion:constraintSetStart="@+id/starting_set" motion:constraintSetEnd="@+id/ending_set" <KeyPosition motion:target="@+id/button" motion:keyPositionType="parentRelative" motion:percentY="1"

You can apply multiple keyframes to the same animation as long as you don’t use multiple keyframes of the same type at the same time. Let’s look at how we can add an oscillation to our animation using KeyCycles.

Similar to KeyPosition, you need to specify the ID of the target widget (app:target) and the point where the keyframe should be applied (app:framePosition). However, KeyCycle also requires a few additional elements:

android:rotation: The rotation that should be applied to the widget as it moves along the animation path.

app:waveShape: The shape of the oscillation. You can choose from sin, square, triangle, sawtooth, reverseSawtooth, cos, and bounce.

app:wavePeriod: The number of wave cycles.

I’m adding a KeyCycle that gives the button a “sin” oscillation of 50 degrees:


<Transition motion:constraintSetStart="@+id/starting_set" motion:constraintSetEnd="@+id/ending_set" <KeyPosition motion:target="@+id/button" motion:keyPositionType="parentRelative" motion:percentY="1" <KeyCycle motion:target="@+id/button" motion:framePosition="50" android:rotation="25" motion:waveShape="sin"

Scaling up with KeyAttribute

You can specify other widget attribute changes using KeyAttribute.

I’m using KeyAttribute and android:scale to change the size of the button, mid-animation:

<MotionScene <Transition motion:constraintSetStart="@+id/starting_set" motion:constraintSetEnd="@+id/ending_set" <KeyPosition motion:target="@+id/button" motion:keyPositionType="parentRelative" motion:percentY="1" <KeyCycle motion:target="@+id/button" motion:framePosition="50" android:rotation="25" motion:waveShape="sin" <KeyAttribute motion:target="@id/button" android:scaleX="2" android:scaleY="2" <Constraint android:id="@+id/button" motion:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" motion:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent" android:layout_width="wrap_content" <Constraint android:id="@+id/button" motion:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent" android:layout_width="wrap_content"

We’ve already seen how you can use KeyFrames to change a widget’s properties as it moves from one ConstraintSet to the other, but you can further customize your animation using custom attributes.

A CustomAttribute must include the name of the attribute (attributeName) and the value you’re using, which can be any of the following:








<MotionScene <Transition motion:constraintSetStart="@+id/starting_set" motion:constraintSetEnd="@+id/ending_set" <KeyPosition motion:target="@+id/button" motion:keyPositionType="parentRelative" motion:percentY="1" <KeyCycle motion:target="@+id/button" motion:framePosition="50" android:rotation="25" motion:waveShape="sin" <Constraint android:id="@+id/button" motion:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" motion:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent" android:layout_width="wrap_content" <CustomAttribute motion:attributeName="backgroundColor" <Constraint android:id="@+id/button" motion:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent" android:layout_width="wrap_content" <CustomAttribute motion:attributeName="backgroundColor"

Throughout this tutorial, we’ve built a complex animation consisting of multiple attribute changes and effects. However, once you tap the button the animation cycles through all of these different stages without any further input from you — wouldn’t it be nice to have more control over the animation?

In this final section we’re going to make the animation interactive, so you can drag the button back and forth along the animation path and through all of the different states, while MotionLayout tracks the velocity of your finger and matches it to the velocity of the animation.

To create this kind of interactive, draggable animation, we need to add an onSwipe element to the Transition block and specify the following:

motion:touchAnchorId: The ID of the widget that you want to track.

motion:touchAnchorSide: The side of the widget that should react to onSwipe events. The possible values are right, left, top, and bottom.

motion:dragDirection: The direction of the motion that you want to track. Choose from dragRight, dragLeft, dragUp, or dragDown.

Here’s the updated code:

<OnSwipe motion:touchAnchorId="@+id/button" motion:touchAnchorSide="right"

You can download this complete project from GitHub.

Wrapping up

Join A Board Of Directors With These Skills

If you have ambitions to join a board of directors, you must demonstrate sought-after abilities and skills to land a seat at the table.

Today, CEOs want directors with specific ‘hard’ skills and certain soft skills.

So, what are they skills you need to join a board, and do you have them?

If you follow the news media you may be convinced that the planet, its people and its economies are in a state of crisis.

Organisations around the globe are facing ever-more challenging environments, and the role of the board and its members is evolving all the time.

Increasingly, boards and CEOs are looking for strategic non-executive directors that are hands-on and innovative.

So, how do you become an in-demand board member, and what strategic skills do you need to develop?

Board members must shape innovation and growth

Today’s forward-looking companies and CEOs want directors who can implement effective risk management strategies while shaping innovation and growth.

Research, led by Prof Patricia Klarner, director of the Institute for Organisation Design at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, shows that ‘enlightened’ CEOs want more board support.

As well as supporting and driving innovation, CEOs want their boards to manage and mitigate risks.

“Modern CEOs want members of their boards to understand current issues including regulatory regimes, ESG, the realities of the cost of living crisis, and cybersecurity threats,” says David W Duffy, CEO of the Corporate Governance Institute. “However, they also want board members to contribute to strategic growth.”

The new reality for board members

We are coming to the end of the days of the ‘all-rounder’ non-executive director.

CEOs are interested in finding board members with specific industry skills and experience.

Boards look for directors who can effectively contribute to a company’s strategy.

Businesses want directors to have the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfil their roles effectively.

CEOs want directors who are trained in and knowledgeable about governance and best practices.

Stay compliant, stay competitive

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Restructuring, change management, and transformation

IT infrastructure, AI, and cyber security skills

Governance knowledge

Risk management

Environmental, social and governance expertise (ESG)

Legal and compliance

HR and company culture skills

What general boardroom skills are in high demand? Strategic decision-making skills

Directors make critical decisions that affect a company’s current state and future. Making strategic decisions requires evaluating your organisation’s goals and assessing potential risks associated with each decision. Effective, well-informed decisions can lead to growth and success. When a specific process isn’t achieving the desired results, a company director needs to respond swiftly and make informed decisions.

Analytical skills

The ability to glean insight from relevant information, intelligence or data will help you with strategic decisions to grow. Directors also need to be able to interpret and recognise the most pertinent information to achieve goals. Analysing data can help produce creative solutions to any challenges facing the board and the CEO.


To respond effectively to workplace and industry changes, directors must be adaptable. As well as planning, directors should anticipate challenges that may require a change in direction. The ability to adjust quickly to these changes is essential.

Inspirational leadership

To display inspirational leadership, one must clearly state goals, outline strategies to achieve those goals, and allocate resources to deliver results. Visionary leadership skills help a director unite their board under common goals, which will boost boardroom engagement and productivity and produce better results.


A creative mindset often drives an organisation’s success. A creative company director constantly seeks to improve and streamline processes and find innovative solutions to challenges. Business models can also be reshaped with creative thinking to generate positive changes and growth.


The ability to demonstrate empathy, especially in a leadership position, is crucial in improving communication, building boardroom relationships, and maintaining director satisfaction. By showing compassion for others’ experiences, perspectives and feelings, colleagues will feel taken care of and valued. Through empathy, you can foster a collaborative environment and boost productivity.

Management skills

To assign tasks and set achievable goals, directors at a company should know the strengths of the organisation. An essential part of good management is to provide the people in your business with the training and resources to reach their objectives and prioritise tasks to ensure optimal performance.

Written and verbal communication skills

Directors are in regular contact with other company leaders and board members. A solid ability to communicate both orally and in writing is necessary when discussing strategies and risks. In addition to building rapport with the CEO and the board, communicating clearly ensures everyone understands your value as a director.

Specific skills required to join a board of directors

Through experience, board director training, networking, and education, a director can develop the skills they need to succeed.

There are industry-specific courses available for developing your skill set as a board member.

One way to learn how to improve your skills is to be open to feedback and constructive criticism.

Think about how you can apply the feedback you get from colleagues.

How to network and get noticed by CEOs and boards LinkedIn

Executive networking at its best. Take part in groups, post updates, respond to others’ posts, connect with people you know and make new connections. Use LinkedIn to find first degree contacts (CEOs and board members) at your target organisations.

Twitter Online media Associations and groups

Make friends with other experts and thought leaders. Become a member of the Corporate Governance Institute and then become a mentor to a new member or a less experienced person. Publish articles related to your areas of expertise on their websites and newsletters.

In-person networking events

Do not overlook trade shows, conferences, networking events and other opportunities to meet and make connections in person.

Volunteer your time and expertise

Engage in community events, fundraising efforts, and other community activities where you have expertise.

Delve back into your own network

Circle back to your established trusted network. Let people know you want to contribute to a board. You just never know who may lead you to a critical decision-maker.

Learn about Corporate Governance and become a member of the CGI

How To Learn New Skills With Amazon Alexa

You already use Amazon Alexa to check the weather, control what music you listen to, hear the news, and much more. However, what if you could use this handy assistant to teach you things? You can learn from Amazon Alexa from the comfort of your own home. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument or speak another language. You can do both of those and more.

Adding Skills to Alexa

Before getting into what you can learn, you need to learn how to add new skills (things Alexa can do) to Alexa. There are three easy ways to enable any new skill:

1. With your voice – Say “Alexa, enable” along with the name of the skill. If you’re not sure what to add, ask Alexa to recommend skills. If you don’t know the name of a skill, it’s easier to browse using one of the other two methods.

3. Alexa app on your smartphone – Open the menu at the top left and choose “Skills & Games.” Search or browse for what you want. Tap “Enable to use.”

1. Learn to Play Guitar with Alexa

Even if you’ve never touched a guitar before, Amazon Alexa can help. Let Alexa guide you through how to form different chords. Get help with tuning your guitar and maintaining a tempo. You can even ask Alexa for the chords to your favorite song. Some of the best skills to enable include:

Guitar Chords – Teaches guitar chords

Rock Out Loud – Teaches chords, helps with tuning, and helps find chords for popular songs

Guitar Learner – Teaches more common chords

Guitar Teacher – Teaches notes and chords along with tuning

Four Chords – Learn common four-chord songs (great for beginners)

Guitar Tuner – Helps tune your guitar

Guitar Backing Tracks

– Plays background tracks for your practice sessions

2. Learn a New Language with Alexa

Wish you could speak a second or even third language? Learn from Amazon Alexa. Using Alexa is actually highly effective since you get to hear the words and phrases and practice at your own pace. It’s a good idea to also write down what you’re learning so you can easily review after each lesson. Depending on the skill you choose, you’ll pick from dozens of languages. Some of the best skills to use include:

Daily Dose – Learn any of 34 languages in free eight-minute daily lessons (a premium version is available)

Translated – Learn by asking Alexa to translate phrases into a chosen language

Learn Spanish SpanishPod101 – Learn Spanish one word at a time

Chineasy – Learn Chinese

Language Tutor – Learn Italian, French, Spanish, and Australian English

3. Learn to Cook

Best Recipes – Name three ingredients you have and get recipe ideas

Allrecipes – Get a wide variety of recipes

America’s Test Kitchen Daily Cooking Q&A – Get daily tips and tricks (Echo Show users get weekday videos, too)

Instant Pot

– Great guidance for Instant Pot users

The Bartender – Make thousands of amazing drinks

Ingredient Sub – Learn what to substitute and how

4. Get Smarter

Do you love trivia? Want to learn more about history and current events, even if you’re short on time? Continuing to learn something new is a skill that helps your mental health, improves your confidence, exercises your brain, gives you things to talk about, and helps you crush it on trivia night. You may even discover a new hobby or interest in the process. Besides, some of the most productive and successful people devote time to learning new things each day.

Amazon Alexa helps with skills such as:

5. Relax Through Meditation

Meditation is often a hard skill to master, but you can learn from Amazon Alexa. Even if you only do it five minutes a day, you’ll reduce your stress. Plus, with a clearer mind, it’s easier to learn other skills. Use these Alexa skills to help you:

6. Master Fitness

You don’t always want to go to a gym to exercise, but you still want to learn how to get fit. Become a fitness guru just by asking Amazon Alexa to help. Get step-by-step guidance to help you learn how to exercise at home, even if you don’t have any equipment. It’s fun, easy, and there aren’t any judgy people watching. Try these skills to see for yourself:

7. Learn to Play Piano with Alexa

Guitar not quite your style? Learn how to play the piano from Alexa instead. Learn the basics and start playing songs quickly. All you have to do is follow what Alexa says. These skills will help you start playing right away:

Piano Teacher – Basics lessons and drills

Piano Teacher With Echo Show Integration – Echo Show isn’t required, but offers visible lessons as well as audio lessons

Chord Whisperer – Learn the notes in different chords. (Learn notes in the other skills first.)

Of course, when in doubt, just ask Alexa how to learn a particular skill. Even if Alexa can’t teach you directly, she just mau be able to set you on the right path. If you need more skills, here are some “must-have” skills you should enable for Amazon Alexa.

Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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Using Dance To Promote Sel Skills

Last school year, veteran teacher Jennifer Grau decided to introduce dance as part of her effort to build bonds between her special education students and the general ed second graders at her school on Chicago’s West Side.

Using videos to help her students learn a few simple steps, Grau was able to get them working with both preferred and non-preferred partners. The energy of the music and the students’ focus on the steps helped them forget about any differences they felt between themselves and their classmates.

Grau’s new strategy worked like a charm. “It was the first time all the kids were engaged and collaborating without any fights or complaints,” she said. The lessons helped students explore ideas of diversity and social engagement, and they finished by reflecting on how the activity helped them get along better.

The most successful social and emotional learning (SEL) programs use active forms of learning to teach students, and evidence suggests that dance outpaces other forms of physical activity and other forms of arts learning when it comes to improving SEL outcomes. Despite the evidence, dance is not included or prioritized in the curriculum of the vast majority of schools in the U.S. and around the world.

Two Left Feet? No Problem!

In many schools, the greatest barrier to bringing dance into classrooms is a lack of comfort with dance on the part of classroom teachers. For most students, permission to move—especially with music—offers considerable stress relief and an immediate boost to their sense of optimism and joy. Luckily, there are resources that can take the pressure off teachers to lead the activities.

Dance can be used to foster students’ intrapersonal and interpersonal SEL skills, as well as skills like responsible decision-making. To see how, we’ll consider three dance activities. To get started, you’ll need to find a short dance video that your students will enjoy—look for something with just a few simple movements that they can easily follow and learn. Teachers looking for videos might start with the free Dance-of-the-Month lessons (registration required) from my own organization, EduMotion, and the H.Y.P.E. the Breaks videos on YouTube created by Hip-Hop Public Health.

Intrapersonal SEL Skills

Self-awareness and self-management are fundamentally rooted in the body, making dance an excellent tool for building such competencies as emotional awareness, accurate self-perception, and impulse control.

Using dance to identify emotions: Dance and movement can be a great way for students to explore how emotions are shown and felt in their bodies. Give your student this prompt: “Emotion is a word that describes the feelings you have. How does your face show emotion? How do other parts of your body show emotion?” Next, invite students to follow along to the dance or movement video you’ve selected. After the students perform the dance together, ask them to choose a favorite move from the dance and practice that move while showing an emotion they select. They can do this in pairs—each student should guess what emotion their partner is trying to convey. 

Conclude the activity by prompting students to reflect on what their body feels like when they are showing the emotion they select. By thinking about what an emotion feels and looks like in their body, they become more self-aware and attuned to their emotions.

Interpersonal SEL Skills

Many dance and movement activities promote teamwork and cooperation and provide rich opportunities for developing relationship skills and social awareness.

Using dance for communication: In this activity, students consider how they communicate both verbally and nonverbally, and they practice listening and responding to input from others.

To start, give students this prompt: “When we communicate, we use words and body language to let other people know our thoughts and feelings. How can you communicate with words? How can you communicate with body language?” Next, as in the activity above, invite the whole class to follow along to the dance or movement video you’ve selected.

Finally, have students practice giving each other feedback with active listening skills. Have them try the dance or movement while facing a partner, and think about how they can be friendly with their partner as they work together. After trying some steps together, prompt them to talk to each other about how it went—was it easy? hard? fun? silly? While they’re listening to their partner’s feedback, they should make eye contact and smile in encouragement. Prompt them to end the activity by thanking each other and exchanging a handshake or high five.

Responsible Decision-Making

Dance and movement can be a wonderful way for students to work on problem-solving and to develop the ability to evaluate and reflect, which in turn can affect their thinking on things like their responsibility to help make the world a better place.

Using dance to promote good citizenship: In this activity, students explore ways to make healthy choices and then identify a personal “superpower” that can help make the world better. Give your students this prompt: “It’s important to act in ways that are healthy and positive for ourselves and others. How can you be safe and speak up for others?”

Invite students to follow along to the dance or movement video you’ve selected. Once they’ve got the moves down, have them identify a superpower they could use to make the world better and embody the superpower by adding it to the movement activity. They should think of a pose that will show the superpower, and then discuss their ideas.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Considerations

When choosing resources for dance or movement-based activities, keep in mind that dance can be useful in fostering cross-cultural understanding and respect: By studying dance forms that originate in other parts of the world, students gain understanding of the history, identities, and values of others.

Dance can also help students overcome cultural and linguistic obstacles because of its focus on nonverbal communication. For English language learners, in particular, dance provides the opportunity to express themselves through the body and has been shown to bolster their self-esteem.

20 Essential Skills For Digital Marketers

Many people come into the digital marketing industry with the soft skills they need to do a great job. These skills can make it easier for them to learn the hard skills necessary to perform their job duties.

It’s been said that soft skills can’t really be taught, but I strongly disagree with that.

It takes both hard and soft skills to do your best work in digital marketing. And the good news is, you can work on building both types.

Depending upon your experiences with the world, you may give up easily because you’ve never gotten what you wanted. You may not want to ask questions because you’ve had questions shut down before. With the proper environment, those skills can definitely sharpen.

Here are 20 essential skills to help you succeed in digital marketing.

Soft Skills 

Soft skills are skills related to how you work. These are skills many people possess without really thinking about them.

Here are 10 soft skills that are the most important ones from my experience.

1. Curiosity

I love when an employee wants to learn more. There are so many aspects of digital marketing and so many little niche areas. Craving more knowledge about how it all fits together truly makes you better in any role.

2. Tenacity

If you give up easily, digital marketing is probably not the field for you.

You may work to rank a site and an update crushes you, or you may pitch ideas that get rejected. You may be called in to help figure out why a site isn’t doing well.

Every day there’s something new, and that’s what keeps it all interesting.

3. Willingness to Listen and Learn

I have been wrong so many times it’s crazy. My employees (and clients) know to argue their points with me if they think I’m wrong, and I’ve learned to really trust what they say.

I’ve had clients give me instructions that I don’t think will work out but I try them and have been surprised quite often. Thinking you know everything means you don’t have the opportunity to get better.

4. Adaptability

With my team, assignments can vary from month to month depending upon our client roster. They might be working on a finance client for one month then they’ll need to switch up to a travel client.

They may need to pitch in and help someone else out on a client they’ve never worked on.

When I first started out, I got thrown into technical SEO, content writing, and PPC all at the same time. There’s always a chance that you’ll need to do something else or extra so you might as well be prepared for it.

5. Ability to Multitask

There are always a ton of things going on at once in digital marketing. You want to read the latest articles, see the latest relevant tweets, do your job, figure out how to do something in a different way that saves time, do reports, etc.

If you can’t multitask well, you will quickly fall behind.

6. Empathy

Being able to see things from someone else’s point of view is essential to marketing of any kind. It’s important to understand why someone thinks a certain way.

Empathy is so important that I wrote an entire article about it.

7. Taking Your Own Ego out of the Picture

Sometimes we are so caught up in what we think needs to be done, we can’t take a step back and listen to someone else because all we are thinking is that we know what’s best.

We all need to realize that we don’t always get it right, and even if we are right, sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

You can’t take it personally when you think you should bid on certain keywords and the client wants you to bid on different keywords.

I can’t take it personally when I submit an article to this very site and my editor asks me to make a change.

8. Strong Work Ethic

Obviously, you really need this in most careers but with something like link building, you are never going to do well without wanting to work hard as it’s very frustrating and tedious at times.

When marketing fails, it can be extremely difficult to start over. You will encounter lots of roadblocks in some form or another so it’s critical to keep trying and not give up.

9. Honesty and Transparency

One of my pet peeves is when someone can’t admit to a mistake.

You’ll always be found out.

We had a couple of employees who would leave work on the clock and think they wouldn’t be caught, for example. We had someone clock in from another state and pretend that I just hadn’t seen them in the office.

People say completely absurd things. With so many people available to replace you, not being honest is unacceptable.

10. Being Able to Say “I Don’t Know”

I don’t know why this is so difficult but it seems to be. I worked for someone who told me to never admit to not knowing something, and I think that is ridiculous.

You don’t learn unless you admit that you don’t know something. If I don’t know something, I want to dig in and figure it out.

I don’t find it embarrassing to not know everything. I’ve never thought less of anyone who admitted to not knowing something.

With so much information thrown at us constantly, it’s impossible to keep up.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are teachable skills. Here are the 10 hard skills that I think are the most achievable and the ones that can help you forge a broader knowledge of the industry.

11. How to Search Well

People constantly ask questions they could easily query in Google. It can waste a lot of time.

You need to be able to dig for information and get better with your search queries so you aren’t wading through tons of irrelevant information.

We’ve had employees who started to work on a new client and would email to ask me to explain what a certain product was used for, for example.

I’d then spend my own time searching Google and figuring it out, then emailing back. I’d much rather do my own research than ask someone else to do it for me.

13. Conducting Research and Gathering Data

You will most likely need to pull data from various sources at some point. You may have to do a technical audit on a website.

There are so many tools and sources for information that it’s critical you can figure out where to look and how to get what you need.

If you’re creating content, you’ll also need to be able to find and verify information.

14. Using Google Analytics

You can get so much information from Google Analytics that it would be a real missed opportunity not to try and master it.

If Google is giving you information about your site, you absolutely need to use it.

From looking at traffic to tracking conversions, Google Analytics is a must-have tool, and it’s free.

15. Using at Least One Major SEO Tool

Outside of Google Analytics, it’s good to know how to use at least one tool that can give you a different dataset. I use a few because each has its strong points.

It’s amazing to see how much information you can get from these tools and their reports.

16. Analyzing the Effectiveness of Your Efforts

Some people measure progress by increased traffic. Some like conversions.

Whatever your KPIs are, you need to know how to track them reliably.

17. Communication

Whether you communicate better through writing or speaking, good communication skills are absolutely critical.

My employees are remote workers and none of my clients are anywhere near me, so I spend a lot of time emailing back and forth with everyone.

I think good communication skills come naturally to some people. But if they don’t to you, it’s definitely something you can work towards improving.

18. Figuring Out What’s Going On and What’s Gone Wrong

If traffic suddenly drops or your bounce rate drastically increases, it’s important that you know how to start tracking down potential causes.

Not everything is cause for alarm, of course. There may be logical explanations for what you’re seeing.

You simply need to know where to look and how to grab enough information to get an idea of what’s happening and then start to fix it.

19. Using a Crawler

There are several great crawling tools out there and you should familiarize yourself with at least one of them.

Even if you aren’t getting too technical with your work, just being able to get information about redirects or duplicate content can be incredibly helpful.

20. Coding or Understanding Code

I came into SEO from a programming background so I’m a bit biased, but I do think that SEO professionals should at least know basic HTML.

Coding also teaches you how to think very logically and improves your problem-solving skills. Even if you never have a chance to code, you will be better equipped to think through problems.

Do You Really Need to Possess All of These Skills to Be Great at Your Job?

Absolutely not. There are countless SEO pros who don’t know how to code, for example, and they can do their jobs well.

There are people who don’t possess a lot of the soft skills and they’re fine.

With today’s level of remote work situations there is more flexibility than ever to be yourself, work where you like, sometimes work whenever you feel like it, and simply get the job done.

But when it’s time to grow your career and enhance your professional value, you’ll definitely want to work on a few of the key digital marketing skills above.

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