Sunday, April 29, 2012

C4T #4

Angela Maiers Education

Personalized service is such a rarity in the marketplace. In a sea of automated recordings, generic emails, and anonymous service representatives - true customer Service is not only a luxury; it is often a shock to the system.Case and point. I recently stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston. I had a minor (and I emphasize the minor) mixup with my online reservation. The staff was wonderfully accommodating and took care of everything when I arrived. Quick, immediate, apologetic, and done. Great customer service right? Imagine my surprise when, I came back to the room later that evening to this beautiful site. My first I thought – this must be a mistake. Somewhere in another room, a guest is going to receive a wonderful treat. I called the front desk wanting to make sure the”intended guest” still had time to enjoy their gifts. As I was dialing, I glanced at the card and saw my name. In shock, I hung up the phone. The front desk rang me back (of course) again apologizing for any inconvenience this minor incident caused me, wanting to make sure I knew how valued my patience and consideration was. What…they valued my patience and consideration??? I had long forgotten the “incidence”. I thought I was being “punked” by my husband or friend. Nope…they meant it. Imagine that; someone going out of their way to make sure I left happy and satisfied with their service. WOW- almost unheard of these days! Glad they put this in writing, or I would think it was a dream: Although, I appreciated and loved these special gifts; she ”had me at Angela.” I was a return customer at, “I’m Sorry.” So few brands take the time and energy for those basics. That is all people are looking for- to be noticed and acknowledged; to matter- right? Luxury is no longer defined by the quality of your product or zeros on your price tag. It is defined by your ability to meet and exceed the needs of customers. How do you provide “luxurious” service to those you lead and serve?

I said...Mrs. Maiers,

I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama and I was assigned to read and comment on your blog. After reading this blog post, I realized that there aren't many places around today that would take the time to do what the hotel did for you. I agree with the sentence that you said about luxury is defined by your ability to meet and exceed the needs of customers. That is a very true statement.

In the second post that I commented on Mrs. Maiers stated Thanks to Tim Stokman for reminding us all how fun education and documentaries can be!Remember those good old times when the teacher used to roll the television set into the classroom, to play documentaries about biology and geology and physics? Well, “good old times” seems a little bit too nostalgic here, especially for a kid from the 80’s, because I’m pretty sure they still play them every now and then, using more modern media like DVD’s. When the teacher pressed the play button and the video started rolling, the whole class literally went mute. Before we could realize what happened, we were all sucked into a world where David Attenborough was our teacher, and the tropical rainforest our classroom. We visited laboratories, museums and even went inside plants to see how chlorophyl worked, and we still had time for supper that day! Most kids, including me of course, were hungry for more by the time the credits started rolling. What makes documentaries great? What makes documentaries so engaging and captivating? What made all us kids sit down and watch in awe for more than one full hour? If you have a child, you know this is something impossible to do, right? No child can sit silent for even one minute, let alone an hour. To understand this better, let’s look at what a documentary really is. A documentary is a montage of sights and sounds from different sources, ranging from radio and television to rare footage from extreme and unreachable places, all with the aim of documenting reality. The key concept here is “reality”: A documentary feels so real and concrete, unlike a chalkboard, which only portrays the abstract. Add to this special effects, and you truly have a unique experience here. It appeals to all five senses: Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. The latter three are generated by our own brain, our imagination, our sixth sense if you will. Documentaries spark interest and enthusiasm, precisely because our brains are completely engaged with the material being presented. Learning becomes easy and fun, because our attention is fixed while our senses are constantly being stimulated. We form (emotional) memories of what we like, so the stage for future career choices and future creativity for you children could be set here. Education with documentaries
Documentaries are a great supplementary tool for educators and teachers alike. As a documentary buff, I’ve been using them for myself and my kids for years with amazing results. However, they are not there to replace you. Like I said: They are just tools, and like any other tool, they should be used
with caution and skill. Documentaries have a couple of crucial shortcomings, and I will discuss them here. First, the problem of objectivity. A good documentary filmmaker will always document reality as objectively as possible, but some can be very subjective as well, especially when they have some kind of political agenda in mind. There is no such thing as peer review in the world of documentaries, so
anybody can produce anything. Always watch a documentary yourself before you show it to your kids. I know from experience that many can be misleading. Another problem is that watching documentaries is a very unsocial activity. Keep in mind that documentaries will never offer real valuable human contact and warmth. Always limit the amount of documentary time to your kids and students. Once or twice a week should be enough. Fill in the rest of their time with more social activities.
A third problem I see with documentaries has to do with passivity. It’s no different from watching tv, because it offers no interactivity at all. It’s all very linear and absolutely no engagement is required, which kind of dulls the little brains a little bit. We don’t want our children just sitting there and
watching all the time, right? We want to keep their minds sharp, and this can only be done with more interactivity. Fortunately, this problem is tackled by interactive web documentaries which I will cover in another post. Tim Stokman is the founder of, a website where you can watch free documentaries online. In his spare time, he raises three kids and watches documentaries.

I commented back and said,
Ms. Maiers,
I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. After reading your post, I can honestly say that I am one of the students that got happy when the teacher would roll in the tv for that day or say that we were watching a movie in that class today. I believe that some teachers just show movies to students because they don't feel like teaching that day. But others have other movies that are more interesting and the children can actually sit and pay attention to them. Great post.

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