Posts tagged with "zoom"

health via 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Brain Tumor Infocon

By: Skyler Johnson

The Brain Tumor Infocon was an event that took place this past week, via Zoom because of the pandemic. The event was not for cancer patients themselves but for those that cared for them. They gave four talks on four separate days, each regarding a different topic. I attended the workshop focusing on children and young adults. All different types of people attended, from parents caring for children to friends caring for friends. But they came for the same reason, to try and gain advice towards dealing with cancer patients. And hopefully they left gaining more information then they had entered with. Here’s what I learned from the event:

Brain Cancer Changes Who a Person is

This must be terrifying to go through, but it does make sense. After all, the brain is where a person’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions are stored, and cancer destroys that. When a person has cancer you have to see them change. There’s not much anyone can do about it, there’s no way to prevent it, but it is something that happens nonetheless. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “Cancer”

For a person with cancer, it can be incredibly isolating when their caregiver doesn’t use the actual word. For children, it can be hard to understand what’s wrong with them if they don’t know what they’re going through if they don’t have the actual term to define it. It’s the same with emotions. Caregivers shouldn’t be afraid to show emotions just because they don’t want to upset those they’re caring for. It’s another thing that can make people feel very alone. 

The Question Jar

The presenter recommended a question jar for child patients who may be shy about asking questions regarding their cancer. The caregiver, a parent, would leave the jar in a heavily trafficked part of the house, like a kitchen or living room, and the child can put questions in the jar whenever they’d like. The caregiver would answer their questions periodically, not directly after the child put the concern in. You wouldn’t want them to know you’re keeping track. 

Feel Free to Take Time for Yourself

Having to take care of a cancer patient can be a daunting task, and one thing that was heavily encouraged was having caregivers taking time for themselves. They can’t be there for another person if they can’t be there for themselves. Exercise. Watch TV. Walk the dog. Anything that’ll help calm.

Everyone has a Different Definition of Caring

This is the first lesson I learned, and the most important. The presenter asked the group how they defined caring, which is not something I’d thought about previously. Several of the attendees answered, each in different ways. To some people, caring meant what caring means to most people: helping someone else through their day, making sure they’re content. If I answered the question I might’ve used an anecdote. But for one person it meant “loving and hurting,” which is, I can imagine, the most accurate. Caring can be painful. Caring can be suffering. Because you have to watch them fall apart, and get emotional in front of them, and despite all the advice people may give you, while caregiving will always be loving, it will also be hurting.

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

Philadelphia × New Jersey Pride Events – Summer 2021

By: Ally Brewster

Philadelphia is a place with a vibrant, bright LGBTQ+ community. The Covid-19 pandemic put a pause on many events last year, but that’s not the case this year. With places opening back up, with covid guidelines, Pride events are back!

See below for a list of some (but by no means all) of the pride events in and around Philadelphia, as well as across the river in New Jersey, during the 2021 Summer:

BFSC Family Pride Picnic & Pool Party – Wednesday, June 23

  • Time: 5-8PM
  • Location: Barclay Farm Swim Club, 315 Whitemarsh Way, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
  • Price: Tickets Will Be Sold At The Door: $20 Each Adult, $10 Each Child
  • Description: Enjoy games, contests, door prizes, Mr. Softee and a dance floor! Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Bring your own picnic.

Pride Fashion Show! – Athleta & Ten Thousand Villages Virtual Event!– Thursday, June 24

  • Facebook Live
  • Time: 3PM
  • Description: “Athleta x Ten Thousand Villages are partnering in support of Valley Youth House emergency shelters! LGBTQ+ and Ally volunteers will be modeling Athleta’s Pride month clothing collection along with fair trade accessories to raise awareness for our June donation drive for Valley Youth House’s LGBTQ+ services. All donated items will go into backpacks for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Needed items: Socks, bras, menstrual supplies, soap, underwear, pyjamas, blankets, stuffed animals, board games, keychains, journals, art supplies & coloring books, gift cards Drop off at Ten Thousand Villages or Athleta (Bryn Mawr and Glen Mills).”

Franklin Institute Family Pride – Saturday, June 26

  • Time: 12:00-4:00 PM
  • Location: The Franklin Institute 222 North 20th Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
  • Price: Included with museum admission. Free for Franklin Institute Members.
  • Description: Join the museum for an afternoon that blur the lines of science and performance! The Franklin Institute will partner with local drag queens for whimsical shows and dissections. It will be an afternoon of expressive coloring, roving demos, the science of bubbles and rainbows, photo-ops, colorful lights, and themed music for a community celebration!

Philly Pride! Make it Glow! – Saturday, June 26

  • Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Arrive 15 minutes early)
  • Location: 209 Leedom Street in Jenkintown Borough, PA 19046
  • Price: $38-$47 per person
  • Description: A night of painting with pride with your instructor Jay! A small class size. Reservations are required prior to arrival. The studio is BYOB, so you can bring your own food and drinks (wine, beer, soft drinks, no hard alcohol. Alcohol for ages 21+).

Pride Storytime – Saturday, June 26

  • Time: 10:30 AM
  • Location: 175 W Valley Forge Rd, King of Prussia, PA 19406-1851, United States | King Of Prussia
  • Description: Join Parker Edge at the UMT Park by the Gazebo @ 10:30AM for a pride-themed Storytime & activities!

Queering Wood Craft Virtual Event!- Saturday, June 26

  • Live on Zoom, hosted by The Center for Art in Wood
  • Time: 7:00-8:30 PM EDT
  • Price: Free! (With a suggested donation of $5 per person enables them to provide programs and exhibitions throughout the year).
  • Description: “Independent scholar and curator John-Duane Kingsley will lead this roundtable discussion with leading queer woodworkers and artists in wood, sharing the ways their lived experience impacts their craft, process, and aesthetic. Join us for an enlightening and fun evening. The Center for Art in Wood interprets, nurtures, and champions creative engagement and expansion of art, craft, and design in wood to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of it.”

Upper Darby Pride presents Drag Queen Story Hour and Potluck – Saturday, June 26

  • Time: 12PM
  • Location: Sellers Park, PA
  • Description: “Join your friends at Upper Darby Pride for an early afternoon of friends at Upper Darby’s history Sellers Park and Playground. Bring snacks and food to share with your group. Enjoy storytime with one of UD’s own drag queen readers, a great family friendly event for Pride Month 2021!”

LGBTQ+ Themed Children’s Story Time @ Perkasie Borough Farmer’s Market – Saturday, June 26

  • Time: 09:00 AM TO 12:00 PM
  • Location: Perkasie Farmer’s Market, 1 S 7th St, Perkasie, PA 18944
  • Price: On the grassy area close to the Shelly’s Design Center sign at the corner of 7th & Market.
  • Decription: There will be blankets to sit on, a table display of Children’s picture books with LGBTQ+ inclusive themes and a pride themed picture book list that can be used to add to your personal library.

Upper Darby Pride Festival – Sunday, June 27

  • Time: 1:00-7:00PM
  • Location: Upper Darby High School, 601 N Lansdowne Ave, Drexel Hill, PA, 19026
  • Description: Attendees are required to wear face masks! Activities fun for all ages! There will be specific kid-friendly activities, vendors, music, opportunities to help fund our mural arts program, and much more.

Pride Power Flow – Sunday, June 27

  • Time: 12:00 PM TO 01:00 PM
  • Location: Eagleview Town Center, 565 Wellington Square, Exton, PA 19341, Exton, United States
  • Price: Approximate price $20
  • Description: Hosted by Blue Buddha healing arts. Join Krystal in a day of power and strength building yoga while supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Rainbow clothing encouraged! A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Trevor Project!

Our City, Your Orchestra: William Way LGBT Community Center – Monday, June 28

  • Time: 7:00PM
  • Location: One South Broad Street | 14th Floor Philadelphia PA | 19107
  • Description: “The first season of Our City, Your Orchestra culminates with a visit to the William Way LGBT Community Center in celebration of Pride Month in June. The William Way Community Center encourages, supports, and advocates for the well-being and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community of Philadelphia through service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be joined by GRAMMY-winning composer and Philadelphia resident Jennifer Higdon and members of the Orchestra.”

History Talk: Before Stonewall, Before Gay Pride, there Was Philadelphia Virtual Event!–Wednesday, June 30

  • Zoom event (registration required)
  • Time: June 30, 2021 7:00 pm– 8:30 pm
  • Description: “William Way LGBT Community Center curator Bob Skiba will present on the history of the Philadelphia LGBTQ movement while placing it in a national context of LGBTQ history. This hour long illustrated presentation begins by examining what it was like to be queer in 1950s and 1960s America, an America where anyone who was at all different was demonized, medicated or arrested. It continues with Philadelphia’s response to this relentless oppression – the annual Reminder demonstrations that occurred every 4th of July from 1965 to 1969 in front of Independence Hall, the first organized, regularly recurring protests for gay rights in the country. Finally, it tells how the Stonewall riots changed that paradigm for good, morphing those Annual Reminders into and Gay Pride marches and giving birth to the modern LGBTQ movement.”

In Honor of: GAY PRIDE on The Farm – Saturday, July 17

  • Time: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Location: The Farm. 130 Mill Road, Evesham, NJ 08053
  • Price: Free entry. Drag Queen performances by ticket only ($15-$30).
  • Description: Activities include Craft Show/Vendors/Food. Drag Queens performing in the evening (by ticket only). Your Hostess will be Ariel Versace. With her will be Chasity St. Claire, Kali Coutour, Zephyra Rivers, Stefani Steel & Vickie Versace.

Bucks-Mont Pride Festival – Sunday, July 18

  • Time: 1-6PM
  • Location: Abington Art Center – 515 Meetinghouse Rd, Jenkintown, PA 19046
  • Description: “SAGA is proud to partner with several local organizationsto bring the first annual PRIDE Festival to Montgomery County, PA. Enjoy live music, food, community resources, family-friendly activities, and more at this free, outdoor event!”

Philadelphia Pride – September (date TBD)

  • After recent backlash of transphobia and racism, the group that has planned Philadelphia Pride in the past has dissolved (see more information from the Philadelphia Inquirer). Due to this, according to Abdul-Aliy Muhammad per the Philadelphia Inquirer, black and brown LGBTQ+ organizers of the local community are beginning to work on a more inclusive, accepting event in its place this September.

New Jersey Gay Pride Day – Sept 12

  • Time: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Location: Cooper River Park. GPS users: Use address 7001 N. Park Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ (this is the business address of Standard Merchandising which is directly across the street of our location)
  • Price: Free!
  • Description: Bring your blankets, chairs and tables! Headliner: TBD Other Entertainers: Reigning 2017 Ms. South Jersey Gay Pride Ginger Alle, 2019 Mr. South Jersey Gay Pride Manny Tucker Lovett, 2019 Ms. South Jersey Gay Pride Karen Vonsay, Rasta Boi Punany, Jon Kem, DJ Deluxx, and more!

To find more LGBTQ+ events in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, visit Philly Gay Pride, Philly Gay Calendar and Visit Philadelphia!

Marta Klopf photo from Grace Topalian for use by 360 Magazine

Digital Artist/Designer Marta Klopf QXA

By: Ally Brewster

Marta Klopf is graphic designer that works in web and brand design. When talking about her artwork Klopf says, “My projects focus on clear communication while highlighting the values, thoughts and stories behind a brand and translating conceptual ideas into cohesive visual worlds.” Originally from Italy, Klopf graduated from Minneapolis College of Art & Design and soon moved to New York City, quickly falling in love with the city and finding inspiration in it. She loves being able to help with change through her art and design. Klopf looks forward to getting back to creating art for local community focused organizations in the future. We had the opportunity to ask Marta Klopf about her artistic journey and what’s next for the artist: 

How did you get into graphic design? Was graphic design always the direction you wanted to go?

I wasn’t one of those people who know as children what they are going to be when they grow up: for a long time I didn’t see a path that seemed right for me. I was always interested in a lot of things, and always wanted to follow new ideas and start new projects. What I did know was that I was interested in art, and that I was passionate about communicating. So I discovered design, which is at its very core visual communication. I moved to Minneapolis to pursue my BFA in graphic design and have worked in the field since. And I think it worked out, because design gives you the opportunity to be interested in a lot of things, to approach different projects with different ideas and interests.

Do you have a preference for working digitally or physically? Why?

I love working digitally: I feel like the digital world is where a lot of people today go to find information, learn things, discover brands, buy things, make connections, and therefore it is a dynamic place that is always evolving, which makes it exciting to be a part of it. I also think digital projects challenge you in a different way, because they need to make an impact while also remaining flexible and adaptable.

You stated: “New York is vibrant and makes you feel alive. You always feel like you are part of something big. It always pushes you creatively because there is always something new to inspire you.” What initially drew you to work in New York? Do you have a favorite thing in New York you always go back to for inspiration if you ever feel burnt out?

I think that, at first, what drew me to New York was the sheer quantity of creatives and creative endeavors, which gives you the opportunity to really find a path that works for you and matches your interests. But I didn’t expect to really fall for the city as much or as quickly as I did: I met a lot of inspiring designers and creatives who were pursuing their passions in so many different ways. I think the people are what always inspires me: it may be a bit cliché, but the energy that comes from surrounding yourself with other creative people can be very energizing. I also love to take long walks: you always end up somewhere new, and getting out of your usual environment and what is comfortable usually helps.

You’re a freelance graphic designer “with experience in web and brand design.” What is your favorite aspect of being a freelance artist? The most difficult?

I work for an agency and also do freelance projects, so I get the best and worst of both. I love the freedom of freelance work. You are in charge of what projects you take on, and the directness of working directly with the person who will use your work makes it empowering. The most difficult part would be that you are alone: you have to be the one who does all the organizing, the designing, the coordinating, the email writing, the zoom calls. Which I like, but can be quite a lot.

How do you begin your process of starting a new project with a brand?

The first thing I do is learn as much as I can about the project, first to determine whether it’s something I am able to take on, and then to find out what makes the project special. I would then typically meet with the client, talk about big picture things (their ideas and needs, their philosophy, and so on) as well as practical things (timeline, other people involved in the project, etc). Depending on the project I would then come up with a few ideas and see whether they will work and are well received. From there, it becomes a matter of getting more and more detailed and continuing to incorporate feedback from the client until the final product is ready.

Of the projects you’ve worked on, which is your favorite? What about it makes it so memorable/special for you? 

I recently finished a website called letstech.at. It is geared towards kids 10-18 in age and is meant to be a science/engineering portal for them: get them interested in more scientific or technical subjects, present ideas through videos and blog articles, as well as show role models (especially female ones) who work in the field and be a place where they can find information about careers in engineering. I loved working on it both because it was a design challenge (trying to speak to a relatively broad age range), and because it truly is a great resource for kids: it feels great to be part of something that empowers them through learning and through highlighting female role models.

As someone who loves being able to help change the world through your artwork, which causes are you passionate about that you would want to design for in the future?

I try not to set limits on what want to do, but generally I feel strongly about projects that are of value to people: in the case of the project above, kids who want to learn, but also, for example, design for community based organizations who help women, minorities, or in any way empower people by offering them resources that may be otherwise difficult to access. As another example, I also was part of a mentoring program, where professional designers helped create logos for groups of high schoolers who wanted to pitch ideas to help their community to investors. I love being able to use my skills that way: making an impact through design.

With your artwork, what direction do you feel like you want to go in next? Is there any new pattern, style, process, person, media, etc, that you feel has grabbed your attention and inspired your work? Is there anything you’ve done in the past you want to continue with? 

I feel that style changes constantly, and the more we focus on style the less longevity a project has. What matters to me the most are good ideas, and I think the time of the pandemic (having to stay home and mostly focus on work) really reinforced the idea of wanting to make work that has an impact. I always look at the work of Partner & Partners (where I used to work) and Hyperakt in New York as inspiration for beautiful work that is backed by great ideas and also makes an impact on the communities and the world we live in.

Marta Klopf is currently accepting freelance projects here.

Marta Klopf design for LetsTech from Grace Topalian for use by 360 Magazine

Marta Klopf design for LetsTech

Working From Home illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

The Pandemic x Freelance and Remote Workers

A side-gig in retirement can help pad a nest egg, keep a retiree engaged, and provide wanted structure to days post full-time employment. But rather than settle for part-time work for somebody else, in greater numbers, boomers are using their skills and expertise to earn a side income freelancing online from home, according to a new report from the editors of International Living.

Source: InternationalLiving.com

The “freelance economy” is booming today, and that’s a benefit for expats eager to gain a remote income they could take with them abroad, according to a new report from International Living.

“As we come out of the pandemic, many doors have closed,” says Winton Churchill, founder of Barefoot Consultants, author of the book The “New” Retirement: The Rise of the Gig Economy and How You Can Profit From It, and a contributor to International Living. That poses real challenges to folks who found themselves forced to take an early retirement or laid off a few years shy of a planned retirement, says Churchill.

“But in this sea of bad news, there is the proverbial silver lining,” says Churchill. “The big winner in the post-pandemic world is the freelancer and the remote worker.

“Much has changed for the good, and those who realize it quickly will have an advantage.”

If you’re a baby boomer with some work and life skills, “you’ve never had more options,” Churchill argues.

“Many more companies and organizations are hiring freelancers and remote workers now than they ever had in the past because they are confident that they can successfully have people working remotely” he says.

“Going forward we see a much-increased appetite for freelancers, especially those with deep knowledge, well-honed skills, and lots of experience rebuilding after a big economic shift.

“At the same time, we are seeing millions of job openings go unfilled. Looks like a great opportunity for those age 50+ who learn how to thrive in the world of freelancing and remote work.”

More than 400,000 seniors are now doing gig work through online platforms, according to a recent study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute. Moreover, a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows the sharpest rise in “alternative work arrangements” was among workers aged 55 to 75.

In the International Living report, Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers, Winton Churchill identifies three ways the pandemic has changed the freelance climate and three trends for the immediate future.

  1. Resistance Gone

“For the better part of 20 years that I’ve been on freelance networks, there has always been resistance among hiring managers in companies, non-profits, and governments,” Churchill says.

“They felt as if the freelancer, especially if working remotely, would be much less productive than the employee sharing the same office building as the manager.

“But this was demolished during the lockdown as managers discovered freelancers and remote workers were even more productive when working from home and proved capable of keeping their organizations rolling along.”

  1. Employees Working From Home Are Productive

According to workplace benefits consulting firm Mercer, 94% of 800 employers surveyed indicated that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic.

“It is amazing how removing a long commute, removing the distraction of irrelevant meetings and office gossip, bad lunches grabbed on the run, and all the other distractions of office life that your remote worker can be even more productive,” Churchill says.

  1. Cool New Tools

“One of the great things that happened during the pandemic is a number of tools came online for people working remotely,” he says in the report. “Some of them were already out there in the marketplace but they’ve been terrifically enhanced for freelancers and remote workers because of the pandemic and lockdowns and people working from home.”

The four tools Churchill mention in his report are Zoom, Slack, Trello, and Asana.

Trends in Freelancing that Benefit Boomers

His trends for the immediate future:

  1. Employers Will Seek More Freelancers in Their Staffing Plans

“Organizations everywhere want more flexibility in their staffing plans. In the past a company may have had 20 employees. Now they will have 12 to 15 core employees and six to eight freelancers that come in during seasonal peaks or to handle very specialized projects.

“This will give organizations better flexibility in controlling their staffing cost while being better able to afford more specialized talent when needed.”

Baby boomers, Churchill argues, are ideal for this sort of employment because they bring expertise, work experience, and professionalism to the table.

  1. Hiring Trends Favor People That Have More Experience

“The ability to build an organization up after a trauma like the pandemic must rely on people who have experience coming back from economic upsets.

“Baby Boomers (and really anyone over age 50+) have faced these kinds of economic upsets many times in their career and met the demands of rebuilding after any economic crisis,” Churchill says.

“Employers are looking for wisdom beyond what we would call ‘book learning’ experience but practical experience seasoned over those decades.”

  1. No More Late Nights (or Long Days) at the Office

“Organizations are taking a long, hard look at what we call ‘the office,’ Churchill says. “They are rethinking how much they really need it, or at least if they need that much of it.

“Some companies have already informed employees they can work from home for the foreseeable future.”

This increased flexibility can be a benefit to people who are eager to earn part-time in retirement, make their own schedules, and have control over where they live and when they work.

The full report can be found, here: Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers.

For information on his upcoming Online Portable Income Masterclass with Winton Churchill, see here.

Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to Internationalliving.com

Eyelinerz illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Importance of Eye Contact

THE ALL-IMPORTANT SUBJECT OF MAINTAINING EYE CONTACT DURING VIRTUAL CONVERSATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

Did you know that we have oxytocin receptors in our eyes? When we make eye contact with someone (researchers say about 30 seconds of maintained connection should do it), the receptors tell the brain to produce the hormone, which travels through the body, hits the internal organs, and ends in the heart. Each time the eye contact is maintained, the reaction repeats. The result? Our breath and heart rate slow down, we feel calmer, we feel… happy. Even better, research shows that this effect is achieved when we make eye contact virtually as well as in person.

The Dangers of Losing Human Connection

Connecting with others doesn’t just make us happy, it can apparently also make us better people. In one study, researchers found that individuals who felt connected to others were more likely to want to volunteer in their community or do kindness for strangers. Researchers are now trying to determine how our wellbeing and connection to others is being impacted by spending so much time distanced from our social groups.

Some studies seem grim. One extensive study out of the UK analyzed over 80 research articles on loneliness indicates that as children experience increasing levels of loneliness due to being away from school and friends, they’re at increasing risk of depression and anxiety.

But the good news is that we are getting really creative (and effective) at keeping our human connection going despite the social distancing.

Connecting Creatively

For children navigating distance learning and time away from friends, doctors from the University of Michigan encouraged parents to see this time as an opportunity to teach children new skills that focus on kindness, resilience, and flexibility, while reminding parents that children are incredibly resilient as long as they are in a supportive and loving environment.

Kids can find social connections in lots of creative ways, from Zoom playdates to video game challenges with friends’ half-way around the world.

Technology also helps adults maintain — or form — meaningful connections. More than ever, meeting online is leading to meaningful, romantic relationships despite (or maybe because of?) couples waiting longer to meet in-person. Apparently, flirting via video chat is incredibly effective, despite the fact that you’re never quite really looking each other in the eye.

We are also connecting deeper with our coworkers, as Zoom happy hours have brought socializing into our homes, making for more relaxed conversations. There’s something about seeing your colleagues sipping seltzers from their kid’s playroom that really ups the camaraderie.

Connecting Effectively

Research has shown that the key to virtual connection is the same as it is in person — eye contact. Now we just need to get better at forming that connection during video calls.

The best way to do this is to look into the camera intermittently as you would someone’s eyes when meeting in person. I know, easier said than done! Our instinct is to look at the person’s face on the screen. But one solution to make maintaining eye contact with a camera more natural is having a tool like Eyelinez around your lens. The fun designs will grab your attention and remind you to keep looking into the lens.

What Are Eyelinez?

Maintaining proper eye contact with a camera is not a new challenge.  In fact, the challenge has existed ever since anyone had to stare into a cold dark camera as if they were engaging with a smiling human.  An “eyeline” is where the speaker is looking and Eyelinez is the solution to enable you to maintain a natural and engaging eyeline with the camera.

Virtual Meeting illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Zoom Hits A Record High

Zoom Hit a Record High Quarterly Revenue of $882.5 Million, Almost a 370% Increase YoY

Zoom’s revenues skyrocketed last year as global demand for online meeting solutions soared amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Although the popular video conferencing platform generated impressive revenue through its fiscal year 2021, the year’s final quarter set a new record.

According to data presented by BuyShares, Zoom hit a record high quarterly revenue of $882.5 million in Q4 FY 2021, almost a 370% increase year-over-year.

Annual Revenue Soared by 700% in Two Years

Unlike many other sectors, the video conferencing platforms witnessed explosive growth amid the COVID-19 crisis, as millions of people started working from home. However, Zoom emerged as the most preferred platform for holding virtual meetings. As countries across the globe-imposed lockdowns, family members also turned to Zoom as a way of keeping in touch with each other. Museums, theatres, and schools chose the platform to maintain normal operations.

With the ban on social gatherings, Zoom also became a cultural phenomenon through hosting parties, concerts, church services, and art shows. The surge in the number of users led to a 700% revenue growth in two years.

In the fiscal year 2019, Zoom generated $330.5 million in revenue, revealed the company’s earnings report. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by more than 88% to $626.6 million. The two-digit increase was driven by a strong Q4 FY 2020, matching the period between January and March 2020, when the pandemic already struck. Zoom’s quarterly revenue jumped by 78% YoY in this three-month period and hit $188 million.

The strong increasing trend continued in the following months, with revenue rising to $328.1 million in the second quarter of the calendar year 2020. Statistics show this figure more than doubled in the next three-month period and hit $663.5 million.

However, the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2021, matching the period between January and March 2021, delivered the highest quarterly revenue in Zoom`s history, causing annual revenues to rise above the expectations to $2.65bn.

Almost 70% of that value, or $1.83bn, was generated in the Americas as the largest Zoom market. Users from the EMEA region, as the second-largest market, generated $486 million in revenue. Asia followed with $332.8 million, respectively.

Market Cap Soared by 357% Year-Over-Year

While the Zoom stock price has increased steadily throughout 2020, a positive announcement regarding the efficiency of a COVID-19 vaccine in November last year resulted in the price falling by more than 30% by the end of the year.

Since then, the share price has been fluctuating and in recent months saw even more of a downturn, reaching $328.95 last week.

In December 2020, the combined value of Zoom shares stood at $115.5bn, revealed the MacroTrends data. Over the last four months, this figure dropped to $96.6bn, still a 357% increase year-over-year.

The full story can be read here

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Education Tips For Children

7 Ways to Ensure Your Child Gets a Good Education

The Oxford Method, a tutoring community, offers tips to help your child be successful in school

Over the last year, during the pandemic, there have been many kids who have struggled academically. This is in part due to the millions who have had to do online learning and find the setup difficult. Whether children are learning online, in person, via classroom, or through a combination of the three, there are things that parents can do to help them be more successful. Knowing what to do can help make a world a difference and reduce the struggling.

“Many parents are aware of the way their kids are struggling with school over this school year,” explains David Florence, professor and founder of The Oxford Method, a community that offers tutoring services around the country. “Rather than let them fall behind, it’s a good idea to take action and do what you can to help them keep up and even pull ahead.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of households with school-age children report that their kids have engaged in some sort of distance learning during the pandemic. They also report that the vast shift in the way kids are learning has also caused digital inequality because some kids don’t have access to computers and/or the Internet. Whether students are learning online or in class, there are things parents can do to help them get a good education.

Here 7 ways to help ensure your child gets a good education:

  1. Sleep. It’s crucial for a child to get enough sleep each night, which will help them to be more focused, as well as improve their behavior, quality of life, and mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children ages 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep per night, and teens ages 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Teach value. It usually starts at home whether or not a child values an education. Parents who want their kids to get a good education should instill a love of learning in their children and teach them to value the education they are getting.
  3. Get them help. If your child is struggling, you may be able to help them, but there also comes a time when kids need a tutor to step in. A good tutor can make a world of difference in ensuring that a child gets a good education. They can help ensure that students will not fall behind and that they will get the foundation they need to move on in a subject.
  4. Show them how. Oftentimes, kids don’t know how to effectively study for a test or to take notes when they are in class. Take the time to show them how to do it effectively, as well as how to stay organized with their schooling. When students are organized, they are more likely to succeed.
  5. Ask them questions. Be sure to ask your kids how it is going, if they got their homework done, if they need any help, or if there’s anything they need to be more successful. They like to know that you are interested in how they are doing, so it’s good to show an active interest.
  6. Get involved. It’s always a good idea if you can get involved with the school and have good communication with the teacher. That way you will be aware of what is going on and know how to help your child more. Teachers love it when parents take an active interest in their child’s education.
  7. Praise your kids. Help kids to know what they are doing is right or what they are doing is wrong. Praising and encouraging the kids builds their confidence and helps them to succeed as they grow.

“Just about every parent has the ability to help kids succeed with their academics, even if it’s ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” added Florence. “We help parents be successful, even those who don’t have the funds to pay for a tutor. Our mission is to help as many students to achieve as we can.”

The Oxford Method has over 100 tutors around the country, covering all subject areas. They offer online tutoring, as well as in-person and in-classroom options. Their tutoring services are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Instructors have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with many of them having a master’s degree, Ph.D., and at least four years of teaching experience. The Oxford Method works with their nonprofit, Social Actualization, Inc., by giving them 10% of all profits. The funds are used to provide free computers, high-speed internet, and instruction to underprivileged families in urban and rural America. Plus, 40% of their instructors are PhDs, 40% have a master’s degree, and 20% have only a bachelor’s degree.

The Oxford Method believes that education is the great equalizer and the best gift you can give the next generation. Subject areas include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as business, social studies, psychology, English, history, public speaking, study methods, test-taking, and more. To get more information about The Oxford Method, visit the website.

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

Virtual Hangout illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Houseparty is Poppin!

It’s award show season, and just because many are still social distancing it does not mean you can’t have a viewing party with friends and family! The show can still go on with Houseparty.

Houseparty is a synchronous face-to-face social network that enables group video communication through mobile and desktop applications. A user opens the app, and their friends get a push notification that they are “in the house” and ready to chat. The app allows users to come online and be present and see who their friends are talking to and join their conversations. On average, users spend 60 minutes per day in the app chatting with friends.

Get dressed up, pour yourself a drink, open the Houseparty app, and get your friends “in the house” to watch this year’s award shows – and make sure to check out the Trivia categories dedicated to movies! Click on the dice icon on the top right to play all the games available on Houseparty Heads Up! Tap a game and you’ll then be asked to add friends to play with you. Wait for them to connect, then it’s game on!

Fortnite Mode

Fortnite Mode lets you cast your party into Fortnite so you can bring your friends with you while you play. You opt into this feature by linking your Houseparty and Epic Games accounts on the Houseparty app.

Houseparty is a great resource for people right now and that they don’t need to miss out on gathering this award season. Houseparty is secure. There have been no data breaches and no exposure to customer data or third-party accounts. You can read their full statement on data safety to learn more.

Houseparty is available on iOSAndroidMacPC, and as a Google Chrome extension.

Follow along @houseparty.

remote learning illustration by Kaelen Felix

Remote Learning Tips for Parents

While remote learning can negatively impact motivation, engagement, and curiosity, there are ways to help stressed out students.

Emily Greene suggests 5 things that parents can proactively do at home to help their kids better manage the challenges of the disruption to schooling, and for some, the partial return to in-person learning.

As she writes in her book, “School, Disrupted”, parents can help to uplift and inspire their kids by trying these things, which in turn will also help teachers!

1) Make sure your child has free time/down time every day. This is necessary to activate an important brain network called the Default Mode Network (DMN). Scientists know that the DMN is intricately tied to curiosity, creativity, and imagination which can help boost engagement and motivation in these challenging times.

2) Curate their curiosity. Asking questions stimulates curiosity, which is directly tied to engagement and joy in learning.  Parents can help jostle our children out of the “circle the correct choice” mindset and make way for open-ended questions that are vital to learning. As parents, we can be too quick to provide advice, opinions, and answers. To foster curiosity, try to hold back, ask questions, and listen. In an article for the Harvard Educational Review, Susan Engel of Williams College argues for the promotion of curiosity in schools, calling for a “shift in the way we see the traditional role of a teacher from one who answers questions to one who elicits them.”  Let this be your guiding principle–eliciting questions will uncover a treasure trove of curiosity.

3) Encourage kids to get hands-on. Ask them what they want to create, make, or build. Doing activities that are off the computer and are hands-on engage them in learning in new ways. Other ways to get hands-on are to go outside. Or, take a virtual field trip!

4) As parents, we can also help teachers come up with ideas to integrate more fun and engagement into Zoom-based lessons. Teachers have a tough job right now trying to engage both in-person and remote learners. Sharing Zoom Boosters, (found in Emily’s book) shows that you care and are engaged in being part of the solution.

5) Encourage your child to get creative with their assignments–for example, by self-advocating for choice in projects. If the teacher plans to give a multiple-choice unit test, urge your child to ask if they can make a poster, a brochure, or a podcast covering the subject matter instead. If they are uninspired by the list of writing prompts for a class paper, encourage them to ask the teacher about selecting a personalized prompt that they are more excited to write about. When they are given an assignment, encourage them to ask the teacher, “Can I make a short film for my final? Can I write a short story? Can I put on a play? Can I build a contraption that would demonstrate this principle of physics?” The worst that can happen is the teacher says no—but more often than not, teachers appreciate the initiative because they know it shows a passion for learning during a very tough time due to the pandemic.

Emily Greene (www.emilygreene.com) is author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is cofounder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.