Archive for August, 2011


Hurricane Irene came and went but didn’t disturb Computer Explorers International Training. Roni Deely, a Computer Explorers franchisee since 1993 was scheduled to conduct training in Houston. Due to Hurricane Irene she didn’t board her flight out of Philadelphia. Instead she set up her office to conduct training virtually! Technology was certainly our friend from 8am – 4pm on Saturday August 27th as Irene was headed for the east coast. As Roni’s husband Bill prepared their home for the hurricane, Roni spent the entire day with Computer Explorers international students (Alan, CeCe and James) from her office using Video Skype.

Roni Deely via Video Skype

Roni walked the class through several of the Computer Explorers curriculum units. Her training session was “Train the Trainer.” She did an exceptional job providing the necessary information and confidence so they can return home and conduct the same training with their  instructors.

Watch this very short video of one of their finished products. It’s their version of Angry Birds!

Join us on Inside Computer Explorers on Wednesday 10 am Central as we talk with Alan Harrison from the UK and CeCe Qian from China about the challenges of attending an international training, virtual learning and the next steps to starting business when they return home.

We Have A Winner

Judging the videos submitted by the Computer Explorers franchisees was not an easy job.  We knew at the Computer Explorers corporate team that we needed outside experts to help us. Once again, we thank Adam Enbar (HubSpot), Robin Raskin (Living in Digital Times) and Nick Powills (No Limit Media Consulting) for their help.

Some of the comments from the judges regarding the videos were:

  • I had to watch each video 3 times because it was so hard to choose (I even  consulted my wife on the final 2)!
  • The videos captured both sophisticated programming and the enthusiasm of the kids.
  •  The teacher’s narration was helpful.
  • The 2 minute clips gave  me a completely different perception of what Computer Explorers actually  does (it’s fantastic!!!).
We announced the winner on our BlogTalkRadio show Inside Computer Explorers after visiting with the franchisees and learning more about their video, the students and the location where the video was filmed.

I hope you can spare 40 minutes to listen to each of the franchisees share their excitement about their programs!

Inside Computer Explorers

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf

Nick Powills shared this about the winners: Lori Longo and Cathy Mead:

While all participates did a great job with their videos, especially given that each video highlighted something special they created, I believe Lori and Cathy stood out above the rest. In Social Media – in order for a video to be considered Social, it must tell a story. Lori and Cathy did just that, in that they highlighted a beginning, middle and end of a project and used student testimonials and actions to support it. Additionally, it clearly highlighted an end result of working with Computer Explorers. Videos such as this one can be marketed for more business at the local level – whether in NY or in outside markets. The video also included creativity in animation – something that can be considered technologically advanced.”

Congratulations Lori and Cathy! Your iPads are in route to New York and we are anxious to see future videos and pictures of your programs.

It’s hard to describe the passion I have for Computer Explorers. The excitement I feel on the first day of international training is beyond words. It is thrilling to know that at the end of two weeks Computer Explorers will have a new franchisee in the UK and new programs offered in China.

Maybe if you watch this video that I received from students in Bangsar, a residential suburb on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur you will understand.

This has been an exciting week for Computer Explorers. Oh heck, most weeks are exciting since we have the most creative, enthusiastic and passionate franchisees.

If you have been following my posts you are aware that we have asked the Computer Explorers franchisees to submit videos of their students having a great time learning. With their submission they have a chance to win two iPads! One to be used in their programs and the other to be donated to the school where the video was taken.

The National Education Technology Plan 2010 may not be an interesting read for most individuals. We at Computer Explorers find it not only fascinating but we believe it validates our philosophy and teaching practices. The report says: “Many of the failings of our education system stem from our failure to engage the hearts and minds of students.” How sad is that? Our goal in Computer Explorers is to engage students with the use of technology. We want learning to be fun and when students are having fun learning we empower them to want to learn more!

Videos tell a story. We developed the contest to encourage franchisees to share their stories with us. I personally invited the following industry experts to serve as our judges. I am delighted that they accepted my invitation! Each of them brings a different perspective as a judge. They are all full of personality and wonderful to work with!

Adam Enbar, HubSpot

Adam Enbar, Inbound Marketing Specialist for HubSpot started his career as a real estate developer specializing in low income neighborhoods throughout New York City.  What started as a brief stint in property management blossomed into a full scale development firm which included acquisitions, construction, and development consulting.

During business school, Adam decided to get involved in sales and marketing.  To that end, he held internship positions at Guthy-Renker, Stion Solar and SCVNGR. While reading Inbound Marketing (cover-to-cover on an airplane), Adam realized that the ideas represented a fundamental shift in the way companies needed to operate and he wanted to take part. As an Inbound Marketing Specialist at HubSpot, he focuses on helping entrepreneurs and marketers grow their businesses by leveraging search engines, the blogosphere and social media.

Adam is holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where he now assists teaching Inbound Marketing in the MBA Digital Marketing course. During his free time, Adam can be found snowboarding or teaching entrepreneurship to inmates at the South Bay.

Robin Raskin, Living In Digital Times

Robin Raskin is President and  Founder of Living in Digital Times.  Robin Raskin has spent the past 30 years exploring what it means to be living in digital times. An author, editor, magazine publisher, blogger, TV and radio personality, and consultant, Raskin says she’s never met a media she doesn’t like, and is happiest when she’s writing about technology’s second citizens: kids, seniors or women and technology.

Raskin is the former editor of PC Magazine and Editor in Chief of FamilyPC. She’s been a columnist for USA Today Online and has authored 6 books about parenting in the digital age. Her latest book is The Parents’ Guide to College Life. (Random House 2006). Today, you can find her work on Yahoo! where she covered Boomer technology, DiscoverCard’s online magazine, and at RobinRaskin.com.

In 2007, Raskin became the co-founder of The Sandbox Summit : A Playdate with Technology, an event created in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CES). From this toe-tipping begining, Living in Digital Times has grown to encompass 6 different lifestyle meets technology events that occupy a major part of CES’s North Hall. She also created and produced, The Last Gadget Standing (now in its 10th year) and The Mobile Apps Showdown, both wildly popular events at CES.

Raskin lives in NYC and the Hudson Valley, with her husband, her three drop in now and then children, and closets full of obsolete technology.

Nick Powills, No Limit Media Consulting

Nick Powills is CEO and Owner of No Limit Media Consulting based in Atlanta, GA. The following is what Nick shares regarding No Limit Media Consulting:

At No Limit Media Consulting, we pride ourselves on the ability to provide our clients with the most progressive and strategic communications approach in the franchise industry.

To accomplish this objective, No Limit has reevaluated old communications strategies and replaced them with a fine-tuned blend of Traditional Media + Social Media. These improved tactics have consistently delivered more qualified franchise leads while keeping existing franchisees happy as well as supporting new franchisees when they open and build brand buzz in targeted growth markets.

Articles secured no longer stop at just being a “beautiful placement.” There are now many more ways to prolong the value of these articles by distributing the content via the Web and using each article as collateral in franchise lead development. We call this approach the “merchandising of press.”

I’m so glad I called in the experts to serve as judges. Not to mention that it takes the heat off of me to pick a winner!!

Our last Computer Explorers franchisee video entries came from  Rebecca Parrent  from Colorado and Joy Watson from North Carolina! The winner of our first ever Computer Explorers franchisee contest will win two iPads!

Rebecca Parrent from Colorado

Rebecca Parrent  has been a Computer Explorers Owner/Director in Colorado since 2004.  She has worked in Information Technology since 1984, specializing in user support, custom applications design, curriculum development, adult professional development education for businesses and individuals, and students’ innovative technology education throughout the metro Denver area.    Rebecca participates in many community youth and technology outreach programs including Colorado FIRST LEGO League since 2005, the Colorado University of Denver’s STEM-a palooza since 2009, the Arvada Harvest Festival, National Guard Family & Youth programs, and offers many after school and summer programs throughout the metro Denver and surrounding suburbs. Rebecca says, “we are excited to be inspiring and bringing up the next generation of scientists, engineers, programmers and innovators by working with unique programs in the schools and communities.”

Her video entries feature students from Broomfield Community Center and Duncan Family YMCA working with robotics and engineering.

Good luck Rebecca!

Joy Watson from North Carolina

Joy Watson has owned a Computer Explorers  franchise since August of 2007 in Cary, North Carolina. She enjoys the hands-on approach to Computer Explorers classes and wants to make sure every Computer Explorers  participant learns while having fun! Joy came to the Computer Explorers franchise after 10 years as a marketing communications manager with a global corporation. Before that she worked for the beef industry and in public health, both involving educational components. Wanting to be more connected with her community and pursue a career that she truly loved, Joy left the corporate world and purchased a CE franchise. Joy lives in Four Oaks, NC and when she is not working she enjoys golf, reading, gardening and travel.

Her video entry highlights students from Cary Academy’s Summer Quest Camp using Marvelous Motorized Machines with LEGOs and Treasure Hunting with GPS.

Good luck Joy!

Our next video entries to win two iPads came from North Carolina and New York!

Anne Mullet from North Carolina

Anne Mullet from Charlotte North Carolina says she  is a teacher first, business woman second.  Anne was introduced to computer technology integration in 1990 while working in a public elementary school. As a non-degreed parent, she established a premier computer technology program with little support and no curriculum. Upon completing a degree in elementary education in 1996, Anne became more diversified in the area of educational technology by working with schools utilizing distance learning videoconferencing. Becoming an ITRP (Integrated Technology Resource Program) teacher for Computer Explorers in 2006 and experiencing the curriculum and support of the entire Computer Explorers franchise made the transition to becoming the Owner/Director in June 2008 seamless. You can learn more Anne and her staff here

Her video entry highlights Pre-School students from Christian Montessori at Lake Norman working “Under the Big Top” using a laptop and an iPad!

Good luck Anne!

Cathy Mead and Lori Goldman-Longo are co-owners of the Nassau County, NY Computer Explorers franchise.

Cathy Mead from NY

Lori Longo from NY

Cathy has a BA in Elementary Education from C.W. Post University and an MA in Early Childhood Education from Queens College, CUNY. She worked in a number of preschools before signing on as a Computer Explorers teacher in 1993. She later took over the Nassau County franchise, which she has been running since 1999. She loves working in the education field with directors, parents and especially the children!

Lori has a BA in Secondary English from Queens College, CUNY and an MA from Hofstra University. She has taught English in both public and private schools for over 25 years. She has also tutored for the SAT exam. She was very active in the elementary school her sons attended, running the reading program there for a number of years. She began teaching for the Computer Explorers company in 1996, before taking over the Nassau County franchise in 1999 with Cathy. Both Cathy and Lori have been the recipients of a number of Computer Explorers awards. To learn more about Cathy, Lori and their staff here

Their entry highlights students from  the “Family & Children’s Promise Project” held in Hempstead, NY.

Good luck Cathy and Lori!

Lori Gross from Chicago

Per my blog post yesterday I will be sharing the top video entries (in the order they were received) for the Computer Explorers iPad contest.

Our first entry came from Lori Gross located in Chicago, Illinois.  It was a great start to the contest.

Lori Gross is the Owner/Director of Computer Explorers of Northeastern Chicagoland.  Lori and her team are dedicated to bringing quality, exciting technology, computer education and enrichment programs to schools and communities in the Northeastern Chicagoland area.  Her love of children and passion for their education is what drove her to take on the challenge of owning and managing the Computer Explorers business in Chicago. She and her husband along with her two small children are Deerfield natives and Lori says  she is committed to giving all children the tools and skills they will need to be successful in the future!

You can learn more about Lori and her team on her her Website linked here

Her video entry highlights an exciting TechCamp at the Gurnee Park District in the Northern Chicagoland area which was comprised of three programs: Jr. FUN-Gineering, Secret Agent, Spybot and Digital Movie Making.

Good luck Lori!

The second entry came from Roni Deely in Delaware.

Roni Deely, from Delaware

Roni has been a Computer Explorers Owner/Director in Delaware since 1993. She began her teaching career in the pharmaceutical industry as a corporate sales manager / trainer. In 1992, she moved to Delaware, purchased a Computer Explorers franchise and became part of the early child care and education community in April 1993. She has received several awards with Computer Explorers including Franchisee of the Year 2000, and continues to rank in the top five territories in the country. You can learn more about Roni and her staff here

Her video entry highlights exciting Video Game Design featuring the Scratch program and LEGO WeDo kit!

Good luck Roni!

Everyone Needs An iPad

Deb with Computer Explorers iPad

For more than 25 years, Computer Explorers has been a leading provider of outsourced child computer and technology education programs for schools, recreation centers, summer camps and day care providers.

Computer Explorers is a franchise system that teaches more than 33,000 students per week. Our 600 teachers prepare children for the future in nearly 2,000 schools. Internationally Computer Explorers is represented in England, Wales, Ireland, Australia and Malaysia.

What is missing are videos to show the awesome programs we are so very proud of.  With videos of our classes we could add credibility that our students are engaged and learning. If we had videos to share we could communicate that we are different than the competitors. Videos establish trust and continue engagement for an extended period and videos of our classes would add energy to our Website!

For all the reasons above I wanted to encourage the Computer Explorers franchisees (via video) to capture the excitement of their classes via video. Since I wanted the videos in a matter of a couple of weeks I tied a contest to the request. The winner of the contest will receive two new Apple iPad 2s. One is for the franchisee to use in their programs and the second to be donated to the location where the video is filmed.

I  would love to give every Computer Explorers Franchisee an iPad to be used in their classes but it’s just not in the budget at this time. Instead, one very creative and deserving franchisee will win two iPads.

Over the next few days I will share the top entries with you. I would love to receive your feedback!

We have a few impressive  judges that will help us determine the winner which will be announced by the end of the week. We wish everyone the best of luck!

Doug Davidoff

I subscribe to many blogs. One of my favorites is The Fast Growth Blog by Doug Davidoff. His most recent post “What We Need Is Confidence” is worth the read. He says: ” In a market that lacks confidence, buyers seek those who have it.  Now is the time for you to be certain; to live the philosophy: It’s ok to be wrong, just don’t be in doubt.”

It’s hard to be a strong leader when there are so many outside influences. There are times when it is difficult to keep my chin up and hold onto the confidence I arrive with first thing in the morning. Sometimes all it takes is one email and the doubt sneaks into the day.

Not only are buyers seeking confidence but so are peers, employees, franchisees, friends … I will admit there are times that I have to dig deep and believe in myself and what I do. Yesterday I started the day with a great positive attitude until that one email arrived. I quickly started questioning myself. My confidence was challenged. But not for long!

The next email I received came from a franchisee who has followed my lead and ventured into the world of blogging. She was asking for input. I had very little to give and soon she will be posting blogs without my review. Then I received a phone call from another franchisee who has been anxiously waiting news (good or bad) on a proposal on a new program we are offering. In fact, I have been anxiously waiting for news on the proposal and pleased that I was one of the first calls he made. Oh, it was good news too!

On Monday I recorded a short podcast for the system on the advantages of Google+. As hard as it is to believe, I have a few franchisees who still consider any social platform as a productivity drain. Late in the day, I received a notice that I had been circled by a franchisee who has resisted social media. That notification made my day! He/she may not have agreed with my rationale but at least it’s being tested for themselves.

It’s early and I am starting today with a positive attitude, a strong belief in myself and confidence that I can accomplish what I set out to do. It’s possible that outside influences may try to derail my direction but I will remember what Doug has said: “it’s ok to be wrong, just don’t be in doubt.” Thanks Doug!

Jennifer MacDonald provided this little teaser video for her upcoming FranCamp session!

To learn more about the sessions at FranCamp visit this link: http://fransocialcamp.com/sessions/