Author: Matt Marino

Posts pusblished: 6
Biographical Info:
Matt Marino is Founder and Board President of FAAET, a Certified NJ business and computer teacher and CEO and Owner of FIBE.

Citing Social Media Sources

Recently I read an article on Teach Thought about the proper way to use social media as a source when conducting research. I was intrigued to see that there was actually a format setup for both APA and MLA style formats for how to reference social media.

The chart for this:


The display of these sources seems to work in line with the associated format and publication style mentioned. The article details how APA has setup a style guide associated with using social media sources and offers it to the public for a small fee, but MLA hasn’t expressly released a style guide associated with social media sources.

I wanted to take a look at whether or not individuals who are writing scholarly articles should be considering the usage of social media within their research. I’m to understand there is no differentiation with respect to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, etc. and that all social media could in theory be used for research purposes, only if a few are mentioned in the chart.

I wanted to take a look at the pros and cons of using social media sources from the perspective of scholarly journal writing.


  • Social media offers the most recent resources you can find. Often when conducting research this is one of the primary concerns of publications, that an article features more recent references than a collection of older literature.
  • Social media is always on. You always have access to social media, as long as you have an internet connection through your phone or computer. You don’t have to worry about a database being down for maintenance in the way you might in other search situations.
  • Social media offers more content than any other search tool. Every second on social media thousands of posts are being created and published. Journals on the other hand will be published, at best, once a month and only feature a handful of articles.
  • Social media offers a wide range of opinions. In the internet age individuals are more able to express themselves. If you are studying a certain topic you may find a more wide array of opinions on social media than you would through journals, textbooks and more traditional norms.


  • Anyone can get on social media. I know a friend’s daughter who is two and knows how to use YouTube quite well. There is nothing to stop her from publishing a comment on YouTube if her mother is logged in. What this boils down to is that the sources on social media may not be vetted as they would be through a review of a publication.
  • Accuracy may not exist on social media. Since everyone is able to produce content on social media you may find that there are multiple opinions on the same topic all claiming to be factual.
  • Social media offers more content than any other search tool. While this is a pro, it is also a con. It will take a keen eye and a lot of time to sift through the extensive content published on social media. Your search terms have to be perfect for everything to work for you. Too broad a search results in too many results, but too specific a search results in no results.
  • Using social media as a source for research has not been studied, so it is difficult to determine how successful using social media sources might be or if there is any adverse impacts from using social media as resource when conducting research.


In browsing YouTube I found an in depth video that discusses using social media for research and ties in to many factors.

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Overall, my view point at this time is that it may be far more productive to use social media to promote your research than it would be to conduct it.

MS OFFICE, Open Office or Google Docs?

When I was in high school the only option for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. was using Microsoft Office. Many years have gone by and new competitors are emerging that could potentially eliminate MS OFFICE from the classroom altogether in the future.

This blog post will examine the pros and cons of MS OFFICE, Open Office and Google Docs with respect to how they can be used within the classroom for the most efficiency.



  • MS OFFICE is a well established brand
  • MS OFFICE has countless databases and resources that can be used for troubleshooting purposes
  • Microsoft is run by Bill Gates who wants to improve education
  • Microsoft gives bulk deals to school districts purchasing licenses
  • MS OFFICE has been most commonly used with most students growing up


  • MS OFFICE is an expensive product
  • School districts may not need all aspects of MS OFFICE, but it is actually cheaper to purchase packages with multiple software programs than purchasing one program at a time
  • Newer and younger students are not being introduced to MS OFFICE any more

Open Office:


  • Open Office is FREE
  • Open Office features similar products to MS OFFICE [Writer vs. Word, Calc vs. Excel, Impress vs. PowerPoint]
  • Open Office allows you to use the same file extensions as Google Docs and MS OFFICE
  • Open Office has strong support like MS OFFICE with various resources available


  • Not everyone has Open Office. If you save a file with an Open Office extension and try to open it on another computer you will need to install Open Office on that computer.
  • Open Office requires you to download a language pack if you’re not an English speaker/writer
  • Open Office has a forum that is currently unstable at this time

Google Docs:


  • Google Docs is FREE for anyone with a Google account
  • Google Docs, like Open Office, offers programs similar to MS OFFICE programs
  • Google Docs offers Forms making it perfect for educational use
  • Google Docs is a great tool for collaboration
  • Google Docs is currently being presented in the classroom the way MS OFFICE used to be
  • Google Docs features many Add Ons


  • Google Docs, like most Google products, have limited help resources. Most of the help resources for Google Docs have been published by users of Google Docs.
  • Google Docs privacy settings must be setup correctly to prevent unauthorized usage
  • Google Docs settings need to be setup correctly for successful collaboration

My Overall Summary:

I have used all three of these products at one point or another. The major plus I see for MS OFFICE is that it is still on nearly every computer on the market today, including in libraries and school districts. The major drawback is that MS OFFICE is very expensive and since a new version comes out often at times it seems as though it isn’t worth paying more for the newer version.

I truthfully see myself using Open Office and Google Docs more and more. Open Office is great tool for me since it is essentially a free version of MS OFFICE. The only issue is that it is only on one of my laptops, so if I save a file in Open Office extensions I have to make sure I modify the file on the laptop that has Open Office. Not a big deal, but something to consider.

I find Google Docs is probably the best tool to use for collaboration, especially for coursework. So long as you have a Google account you can invite who can edit documents with you and leave it at that. Google Docs also features Forms which are perfect for use in various classroom situations and numerous Add Ons work well with Google Docs. This allows me and many others to complete various tasks right within Google Docs.

I feel in the upcoming years MS OFFICE will become a thing of the past and Google Docs will likely take over. Google Docs will just need to build a database/pool of resources for usage like Open Office and MS OFFICE have to be the undisputed king.

Instagram Instruction

Prior to August 2014 I was hesitant to use Instagram for any purpose. I’m not the selfie type or really even like taking pictures. But I noticed a lot of my friends were using Instagram and had great looking pictures. So in late August 2014 I finally joined. At the moment I seem to be using it in the same manner a lot my friends are: showcasing pictures of our canine chums and our food/beverage interests. I use Twitter in the classroom and wondered if I could use Instagram in the classroom as well.

If you use Instagram in a different way, tell us about it in the comments!

Student Based Ideas:
Featuring student work is ideal with Instagram. Not only does it allow you to have a record of great student products, but it allows you to display it to other classes, parents, etc. This will likely encourage greater production if students know their work will be viewed by other eyes. The student work doesn’t have to be specifically visually aesthetic items. A great poem is just as worthy as a great picture.

Featuring a student of the week is another great way to have a productive classroom Instagram, while encouraging students to do their best. The student of the week can send out pictures of where the sit, their favorite aspects of the classroom and much more. There should be some criteria in place to determine the student of the week for these purposes.

Students can interact with their classmates in a way they did not before. They will have more to talk about now that they the creativity of their classmates. Featuring student work allows classmates to learn more about each other such as hobbies and interests.

Teacher Based Ideas:
Since you’re presenting student work and providing students with a platform to express themselves it is also a good idea to chronicle what they’ve done. You could make a collage for each student using sites like You could make an end of school year timeline for each student using Dipity. With either choice you can document all of the wonderful things your students did all year.

You can also capture important moments for the students. Things like field trips should be remembered. Things like graduation should be recorded! These items, if student specific, can also be added to their display of progress.

Remind students of reading assignments. Send a picture of the book you’re reading and include the page numbers that need to be read before the next class meeting. This gives students an interactive reminder of what they need to do.

In this same regard Instagram can be used for all homework reminders. Need to remind students a worksheet is due tomorrow? Send it out with a reminder in the description. You can do the same for anything: book report, homework problems, PowerPoint assignment, essay, etc.

While there are items out there like Remind101 administrators often frown upon text messaging type reminder systems, so use Instagram. Send out reminders about class trips, end of marking period, school closings due to holidays and delays/closings associated with inclement weather. This can also be used for sports and clubs.

You should also use your classroom Instagram account to send out encouragement. There are a lot of standardized tests these days, so make sure to encourage students via inspirational items you can find or create.

Finally, I think I will use Instagram to assign some fun homework or extra credit. NOTE: Students must be 13 years of age or older to join, so this may only be plausible in a high school setting. I would provide a visual prompt for students and expect them to synthesize the prompt and create an articulate response. I would encourage net etiquette so there are no arguments in the responses.

For additional ideas check out this neat YouTube video:

Bell Ringers and Do Nows for the 21st Century

Over the course of the past decade it is no secret that there is more technology, especially educational technology available than ever before. Some aspects of technology have made our lives easier, while some others have made it harder to “teach the basics.” For example, anyone charged with the task of finding information will often “just Google it.”

But using technology for Bell Ringers or Do Nows, or whatever you happen to call them could be an interesting way to keep students’ attention from the start of class. NOTE: This can only be executed within a classroom where all students have an available desktop or equivalent to access the specific websites needed.

The First way to create an interactive Do Now via educational technology is TodaysMeet

To create your own room go to and you’ll see the following:

You will be able to name your meeting room whatever you like (note below you will be told where an abbreviated URL link is located once you create your room). You have the following options for how long your room can remain open: 1 hour, 2 hours, 8 hours, one day, one week, one month and one year. You will see that one week is the default option. You may want to create a room for each class period since everyone should be expected to reply. Your time parameters however are entirely up to you.

Then you click Create Your Room and enter your name. Once you’ve done this enter the information you need answered for your Do Now and have students enter the room to provide their responses. The students will also have to enter their name, so you can identify them and give them credit for their responses.

For our purposes I created an example at which is scheduled to disappear in a week, so I will provide graphics below of what I’m talking about.


To enter your message type it into the blue box and click the Say button. Bear in mind you may only use 140 characters when typing. Also note only those individuals provided with the link to your “meet” should have access to it.

The web address with the Copy button next to it provides you with an abbreviated URL for your specific TodaysMeet interaction.

When clicking transcript you end up with something like this:

When clicking projector you end up with something like this:

Transcript displays everything relevant to what is provided and the projector places emphasis on the words.

The Second way to create an interactive Do Now via educational technology is TitanPad

TitanPad offers two distinct options for educators. First, is to create a public pad. Second, is to create your own private pad through a subdomain.

With the public pad you will see something like this:
There will be a link at the top of the browser provided for you to share with the class. Each individual enters their name on the top right, then can chat in the bottom right section.

The actual pad in the middle can be edited by anyone in the class so it is necessary to keep your eyes on the TitanPad at all times to make sure students are actively engaged in what they need to be doing.

The private pad link above sends you to the following:
Enter a subdomain that is easy to remember and related to your course. Fill in your full name and finally provide your email. Password instructions are mailed to the email address you provided.

Click the link provided in the email sent by TitanPad. Once you do so you will see a screen that looks like this:
Create your password as requested.

You will then be brought to a “news” section with a button that states “create new pad” on the right. Create a pad and you will see it looks exactly like the one created for the public pad, but you have more controls available for it.

To get back to your created private TitanPad for future use type in the URL you created – and you’ll receive a login screen that looks like this:

The benefits of using the private TitanPad are that you can make a different pad for every exercise you intend to use it for, within your own personal subdomain. For the public TitanPad you will have to go and create a new one every time, but with the private pad you can store all used TitanPads to look at later or potentially use again to serve as a reminder for students.

NOTE: These items can just as easily be used within the business world for collaborating information, but for these purposes I’ve pointed out their use within a classroom pertaining to Bell Ringers/Do Nows at the start of a classroom period to actively engaged students.

Originally posted at Mind of Marino

Peachtree vs. QuickBooks

Within the world of business education Accounting courses are a delicate topic to discuss. Some school districts offer a number of sequential Accounting courses, while other schools offer no Accounting courses whatsoever. Many people always note how it is important to get the basics down, but in Accounting courses sometimes this is overlooked. Accounting courses used to feature detailing the basics by going over everything by hand, such as ledgers. Now in some schools there has been a paradigm shift towards using software for Accounting purposes, essentially teaching how to use a particular program, rather than actually teaching Accounting. Within school districts I’ve seen Intuit QuickBooks as the primary program used, but most accountants have told me Sage Peachtree now known as Sage 50 is what is actually used in the field of accounting (ie what the pros use).

The dilemma is, in a world where PARCC is being implemented, do we continue to ride with the status quo or do all aspects of academia move towards preparing for college and career? The status quo would be to continue using Intuit QuickBooks, while moving towards preparing individuals for a career in Accounting would be to switch over to Sage Peachtree now known as Sage 50.

The intention of this blog post is not to discredit the usage of either of these programs in an Accounting classroom, but rather to explore their differences and similarities so that our readers may make informed decisions on which product will work best in your Accounting classroom. We will mention cost of the products here, but that often depends on number of licenses that are purchased and any discount the respective companies will provide.


Intuit QuickBooks
The biggest positive about Intuit QuickBooks is that it offers a free 30 trial. This allows Accounting educators the opportunity to test out various functionality including in the software to see if it will fit within their classroom. This is extremely helpful if you need to create a proposal to your administrative team as to why using Intuit QuickBooks would be helpful within your classroom environment, as you can reference specific examples.

Another strong feature we like about Intuit QuickBooks is there in depth help opportunities. Intuit QuickBooks provides individuals the opportunity to “train” in the usage of their product.

Live Training:
Live Training is available both in person and via online webinars. The prices vary from Free to $499 depending on what training you need and where you receive your training (online webinars seem to be cheaper than in person training). Each of the courses offers different experiences dependent on your needs. This could be a great opportunity for further knowledge and preparation if an educator pursues it.

On Demand Training:
We live in a world where we want the opportunity available to us to have everything at our finger tips. This is understood via the offering of On Demand Training. This offering is similar to the live training, however, you purchase the ability to stream a lesson to your computer via the internet and navigate it at your pace. Meaning you could get through five minutes today and come back tomorrow and finish the lesson, or break it up into a number of days until you’ve mastered that lesson. The individual lessons are pricey at $400 each, but bundle packages allow for you to purchase multiple lessons at a discount. This is likely not the route to go for an educator as the prices are too steep. A school district is unlikely to foot the bill for such costs given that this may be a tertiary need of the school.

CD/DVD Training:
The CD/DVD Training option is essentially the same thing as the On Demand Training. The difference of course being the On Demand Training is done via streaming on the internet and the CD/DVD Training is done through purchased CDs or DVDs, as the name would imply. The price points are exactly the same, but with the CD/DVD Training you would have a physical copy of the lessons you’d like, rather than a digital copy. A school district might be willing to foot the bill for the CD/DVD Training as one physical copy of the lessons can be used throughout the district.

Online Demos:
The Online Demos offered may not be the most in depth features, but they can provide a good starting point on each area you’re interested in learning more about. There about 60 seconds each, meaning you can view them all at once. They are also free! But they do not provide the quantity that the other training offerings would provide.

Like any good product an online community is featured in order to provide individuals the opportunity to seek out answers to their questions without necessarily having to reach out to Intuit QuickBooks via their customer service. Online communities also encourage collaboration and sharing which is helpful to individuals starting out with using the product.

The pricing plans are noted as $12.95, $26.95, and $39.95 per month. As mentioned above the price may very for a school district given number of licenses purchased for the product.

Additional Info:
For additional info on Intuit QuickBooks please check out their FAQ. Also note that Intuit QuickBooks syncs with many of today’s apps.

1. Intuit QuickBooks is considered easy to operate.
2. The software requires little to no actual knowledge in the field of Accounting.
3. Features items you’d be reviewing in an Accounting course such as Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and General Ledgers.
4. With monthly licenses it is easier to decide to no longer use the product.
5. A lot of available tutorials, webinars and information available.

1. It is not the industry standard according to accountants.
2. It may not be useful once a student reaches Accounting II or Accounting III.

Intuit QuickBooks At a Glance:


Sage Peachtree now known as Sage 50
Sage Peachtree/Sage 50 also offers a free trial period, but they do not indicate how long it is until you signup for it. They will also schedule a one on one demo for you on how to use the software. No cost is noted with the demo.

Support offered is not as involved as Intuit QuickBooks, but they do offer the usual company customer service as well as an online help forum/community.

Plans vary from $299 to $449 to $1,499 a year. The $299 and $449 plan features usage for one person, while the $1,499 plan features usage for three people. Again prices may vary for a school district buying multiple licenses.

1. Defined as industry standard by accountants.
2. Features items you’d be reviewing in an Accounting course such as Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and General Ledgers. Also includes Job Costing and Forecasting.
3. Aligns with PARCC goals.

1. Requires Accounting knowledge.
2. Limited help resources available.
3. Yearly licenses lock you into longer usage and harder to decide to no longer use product.
4. May be more effectively used in an Accounting II or Accounting III course.
5. Some define it as harder to operate than Intuit QuickBooks.

Sage 50 Tutorials:

Overall Thoughts:
You need to consider the needs of your classroom before deciding on which program to use within an Accounting course. You also need to consider the budget your school district has available for its educational technology products. Intuit QuickBooks biggest assets are its ease of use and availability of resources to help both educators and students utilize it. Sage Peachtree now known as Sage 50‘s biggest asset is the fact that it is considered the industry standard among accounts. For example, a school district only offering one accounting program may be more inclined to utilize Intuit QuickBooks, while a Career and Technical Education program training individuals for real world accounting might utilize Sage Peachtree now known as Sage 50. Ultimately the decision should be made based on a best fit though.

Using Dipity

Prior to the start of 2014 I couldn’t tell you what Dipity was, as I had simply never heard of it. As a part of the MeD in Business Education program at Bowling Green State University I was introduced to Dipity and am glad I am now aware of its capabilities.

For those of you who are in the dark about Dipity, it is a free, online resource for creating visually appealing timelines. You are allowed to upload videos, pictures and other media to make your timeline more enticing. It is a perfect tool for students of all ages and for any classroom educator to use.

Below you can see two examples of timelines I’ve created for courses using Dipity, but you are not limited in what you can use Dipity for, as realistically anything you may need to create a timeline for you can create with Dipity.

So now the question becomes, how can I use Dipity?

Signing Up for Dipity:

Signing up for Dipity is a fairly easy process. First, visit

Once on Dipity you will be asked for your First Name, Last Name, a username, a password and your Email address. There may be a captcha required for you to prove you are a human. You will need to verify your email address to activate your account.

Once you have completed these tasks and your account is activated you are able to start making timelines.

Creating a Timeline:

At this point you need to name your new timeline. A description may or may not be necessary depending on what your project is. If you only intend to give a picture timeline of events a description is a good idea and may need to be lengthy, but if each feature of the timeline will have its own description it may not be necessary to produce an in depth description for these purposes. Choosing a category is another aspect that may or may not be important to your usage. If you intend to use Dipity often it is a good idea to label each timeline with a category so that they are easier to find later on. You can upload a picture to help further define your timeline.

The permissions feature is a primary focus when creating a timeline in Dipity. This allows you to set your Dipity so that only you can see it, you may change this later when you’re ready to “publish it.” It also allows for collaboration so that you may invite other individuals to add/modify when it comes to the timeline. Connecting or following people on Dipity is the easiest and most effective way to collaborate.

Adding to Your Timeline:

Once you’ve created your timeline click Add Event to starting adding events to your timeline. Please note that whenever you create a new timeline Dipity puts an event of “Created New Timeline” into your timeline, so to make the timeline efficient and professional it is best to take this event out.


For each event you add you are going to need to label it with a title. Thus far I have seen no limitations to the length of the title. Next you need to add a date to your event, as without the date the event cannot be properly attributed to the timeline. Once again you’re asked for a description, but this time it is specific to the event. The length of your description is dependent on the intended purpose of the timeline. You always want to make sure you consider your audience as well. For example, if you’re using Dipity timelines to teach in a Kindergarten course their attention spans need to be considered.

Then you may add media associated with your timeline event. You are able to upload appropriate pictures or you can use image URL links available online and click Ok. You will see a preview of the image you selected. Make sure the image regardless of what message you use is appropriate to your event to avoid confusion and present the case the timeline is professional. You may not be able to describe an event as best you’d like. This is where the Link feature comes in, as you may include a link to an alternate website that may provide in depth information about the event. Note that not all events with have extensive, in depth websites for you to refer to. The Video URL acts in the same manner. You should utilize this function to further explain your event. For example, if your timeline event is on the Louisiana Purchase a YouTube video of a recreation of the Louisiana Purchase would be appropriate to link here. Make sure to view the Video URL prior to using the link, as content may not be appropriate depending on your audience.

Finally, is the top feature as far as I’m concerned. You have the option to simply Save an event you add and come back at a later date, but if you want to create your timeline all at once Dipity has made it easier on us. You can simply select Save + Add Another which allows you to Save your most recently created event and jump right into a new event, rather than having to close out your current event and select Add Event again. This makes it possible for continuous modifications and additions to your timeline for the quickest production.


My personal favorite is the List mode, as it allows you to simply scroll through each event and view information on the events you’re interested in.


Flipbook mode is an excellent choice to use in younger grades, as it may be more visually appealing for students of that age group.


Timeline mode is primarily what you see while you are creating your timeline by adding events. It allows you to scroll so you can see all events on one screen or one event at a time.


Map mode is a fun feature of Dipity, but only truly works if you provide locations for each of your events. Then it will show a map of all the various locations your events occurred at.


My Final Thoughts:

  • Dipity is free. This is always a positive when working in academia where budgets are tight.
  • Dipity is easy to use, as explained above.
  • Dipity is user friendly. Dipity allows for users to vary in age due to its setup of essentially just selecting various, repetitive options for creating timelines.
  • Dipity is visually appealing. Dipity can be viewed as a timeline, flipbook, list or map. While my preferences are timeline and list mode, they all are visually appealing to the eye.
  • Dipity looks professional. Whether a 6 year old first grader or a college professor uses Dipity the timelines come out in a professional manner that you wouldn’t mind showing off.
  • Dipity is free. Did I mention this?