Education Content Marketing
June 10, 2012

A Special Education Publisher Contest – Case Study

The Situation: When our client, a leading provider of instruction materials for students with special needs, sponsored a contest to honor special education teachers and their students, CB&A leveraged the opportunity to promote the contest to achieve nationwide recognition and spark participation. The Results: The successful campaign enhanced visibility, garnered extensive media coverage, and positioned the publisher as a premier provider of instructional materials for students with special needs.
Education PR - Public Relations for Edtech
March 12, 2012

SXSWedu: Supporting Ed Tech Through Positive Storytelling

I’m back after a week of learning at SXSWedu. Hot conference topics included content curation, educational gaming, social learning and open educational resources. I had the opportunity to hear from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame (total childhood flashback) as well as many educators who are leading the charge in our nation’s schools. Plus, a visit to Austin isn’t complete without a Frank hotdog… scrumptious! My favorite session: “EdTech Reporting: Why It Sucks and How to Fix It,” featured Audrey Watters of Hack Education, Betsy Corcoran of EdSurge, Frank Catalano and Lisa Wolfe. According to the session description, “much mass news media reporting about educational technology and digital learning tends to fall into one of two camps: blind cheerleading about how technology will solve all of education’s woes or negativity-filled diatribes about how tech just puts icing on a turd.” The panelists believe that education topics “need to be accurately reported in media outlets for there to be informed public dialog about technology in education.” As a percentage of GDP, education is the second-largest U.S. industry, but research from The Brookings Institution indicates a clear lack of education coverage in the national media. During 2009, only 1.4 percent of national news coverage dealt with education. In 2008, only 0.7 percent of national news coverage involved education, while 1.0 percent did in 2007. Since 2009, education has made few gains among national outlets. Upticks in coverage are most frequently related to national policy decisions rather than school curricula, student progress or teacher performance. When asked to describe an effective article, Betsy Corcoran said it’s when a journalist asks a question and genuinely tries to go after the answer. Audrey Watters added, “A good article situates technology in terms of teaching and learning, not just as a magical tool that appears on a desk.” A reporter should also reach out to educators to see if a product passes the sniff test. Betsy agreed: “If you can’t talk to the user then you don’t have a story.” The two stressed the importance of storytelling, observing that companies can…
Education Marketing TrendsEducation PR - Public Relations for Edtech
March 5, 2012

Heading South for SXSWedu

For the second time in two months, I’m traveling south to Austin for an education conference. Given the snowstorm we received last weekend, I certainly welcome any and all opportunities to escape a snow-covered Madison in March. This time I’m attending SXSWedu, the second annual education event connected to the film, music and interactive conference known as South by Southwest (SXSW). Like other SXSW festivals, SXSWedu seeks to convene a wide variety of stakeholders who share an interest in 21st century innovation and best practices. Attendees include not only education professionals such as teachers, administrators and professors, but also business, industry and policy leaders who share a keen interest in modernizing teaching and learning. According to the Austin American-Statesman, SXSWedu is on track to double participation this year, with more than 1,600 people registered to attend. Keynote speakers include U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and LeVar Burton from the children’s television show “Reading Rainbow.” SXSWedu is expanding its focus nationwide and doubling the number of concurrent sessions. I look forward to checking out these sessions in particular: Tuesday, March 6th, 10:15-11:15 AM School 2.0: Teachers and the Future of Education Featuring Steve Hargadon, Classroom 2.0 Wednesday, March 7th, 3:15-4:15 PM Education and Technology: Now and in the Future Featuring Kevin Hogan, Tech & Learning Media Group Thursday, March 8th, 10:15-11:15 AM Edtech Reporting and Why It Sucks and How to Fix It Featuring Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Betsy Corcoran, EdSurge, Frank Catalano, Intrinsic Strategy, Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications When I return, I’ll be sure to share a few highlights from these sessions with those of you unable to attend. In the meantime, be sure to follow the hashtag #SXSWedu on Twitter for live updates from the conference this week.
Education PR - Public Relations for Edtech
September 22, 2011

Lessons Learned from Netflix

All companies, whether they are active in social media or not, should secure the online names that could be used to protect or promote their brand. Unfortunately for Netflix, the company is learning this lesson the hard way. As many of you know, Netflix recently announced the separation of its online streaming and mail-order DVD services. This week, CEO Reed Hastings shared in a blog post that the DVD service will now be known as Qwikster - a name chosen because it "refers to quick delivery." But Netflix seems to have forgotten to secure the Twitter address of its new service. A guy whose name is listed as Jason Castillo has been tweeting from @Qwikster for months. And get this - his profile picture is a cartoon Elmo smoking a joint, and his tweets are filled with foul language and drug references. As said best by The Washington Post, "Hardly the first brand association that a company would like to make, and a major failure on the PR front." Yikes. TechCrunch was the first to discover this PR blunder, observing that "The first thing many tech pundits do upon hearing industry news is check a prominent brand's Twitter account to see if it's active and on message. @Qwikster, obviously, is not representing Netflix at its finest at this point in time." In addition, as of today, Netflix still does not have an official Web site for Qwikster, just a holding page that promises it will be "launching soon." As a result, an opinion writer for Mashable called Qwikster the worst product launch since New Coke. What's the key takeaway? A company that secures the online usernames containing its brand names, as well as their most common permutations and acronyms, can control its image on social media channels when it interacts with customers, prospects, media and other key influencers. Company ownership of these social media handles also prevents unauthorized spokespeople from sharing harmful content and damaging your brand reputation. If you haven't already, spend five minutes today securing the social media handles for your company to avoid a "Netflix disaster" of your own.…
July 15, 2011

Top 10 Tools from Web 2.0 Smackdown

On the Saturday before ISTE 2011, the CB&A team had the opportunity to attend EduBloggerCon in Philadelphia. Now in its fifth year, the all-day "unconference" is organized by Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0, and designed for those interested in social media in education. Rather than determining the presenters and sessions ahead of time, the unconference is organized collaboratively in real-time by participants on-site. As an added bonus, EduBloggerCon is a free event for all. After attending fascinating sessions on hot topics such as mobile technology, flipped classrooms and digital textbooks, the Web 2.0 Smackdown offered participants the opportunity to present their favorite Web 2.0 tool to the audience in two minutes or less. More than 30 online resources were shared in less than an hour, many of which I was not familiar with. Here are a few of my favorites from the Web 2.0 Smackdown: Qwiki's goal is to improve the way people experience information. The company delivers information in a format that's quintessentially human - via storytelling instead of search. A recent article from EdReach called Qwiki the next best platform for digital storytelling. Qwiki highlights an "Education Qwiki of the Day" to support educators in the classroom. To see Qwiki in action, check out the page for Bacon (yum!). Nota is a collaborative web platform that allows you to create, share and collaborate on presentations and other forms of online material. Users can integrate text, video, maps, clip art, and photos into a presentation, and then instantly embed their work in blogs or social networks to share and collaborate with friends. Watch a tour of Nota at AnswerGarden is a minimalistic feedback tool. Educators can use it in the classroom to evaluate comprehension, or companies can employ it as a creative brainstorming tool. Users ask a simple question, and can share, export or embed to collect answers from participants. The answers are represented as a word cloud with the most popular responses shown in the largest typeface; take a look at this sample AnswerGarden. LucidChart provides online flowchart software that helps you communicate visually. The web-based platform…
Education PR - Public Relations for Edtech
November 2, 2010

The Need for Open Leadership

According to the Nielsen Company, we each spend, on average, nearly five and a half hours per month on social networking sites, up two hours from last year.  During the PRSA 2010 International Conference, Charlene Li addressed the challenges company leaders face as a result of this dramatic adoption of social media.  She began with this question: "How do you get comfortable with this sense of being out of control?" Li became an industry name with the 2008 publication of "Groundswell," which she co-wrote with Josh Bernoff.  In the book Li emphasizes, "It's really not about the technologies, it's about the relationships.  The one constant is relationships."  As the use of social media continues to rise, she's encouraging company leaders to enter the conversation, strengthening these relationships by improving efficiency, communication and trust. In her new book, "Open Leadership: How Emerging Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead," Li presents a new approach she thinks company leaders must adopt to maintain a competitive advantage.  Traditionally, business is based on the concept of control, yet the growth of social media demands openness.  Li outlines how companies can thrive in this new, transparent world, and how they can leverage these tools to benefit their organizations. To illustrate this point, Li shared the example of when a Dell laptop caught on fire in June 2006.  The company acknowledged the incident on its Direct2Dell blog, linked to the photo in question, and admitted that it didn't have an answer yet as to the cause.  Three months later, Dell announced the recall of more than 4 million notebook computer batteries, the largest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry.  But by addressing the issue quickly and transparently, Dell managed to avert a greater marketing disaster. Her second example featured Best Buy.  The company had planned to send 1,000 emails to customers as part of a customer loyalty test; instead, it sent 6.8 million emails.  Best Buy CMO Barry Judge blogged this: "We screwed up the execution which makes me sick about the customer trust that we have impacted."  Judge demonstrated his openness…
October 27, 2010

The Role Education Plays in Fighting World Hunger

"Almost a billion people are going hungry every day around the world," according to Bettina Luescher, chief spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme.  During the PRSA 2010 International Conference, Luescher shared powerful stories of providing hunger relief to children and families devastated by war or natural disasters, including recent efforts in Haiti, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  She asked the audience to ponder the reality of famine: "We've never felt true hunger - it's like having bleach in your stomach." The United Nations World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  In 2010, the organization aims to reach more than 90 million people with food assistance in 73 countries.  "Hunger is a huge issue around the world," stated Luescher.  "Hunger today still kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined." In addition to sharing how the United Nations handles communications during a crisis, Luescher reflected on the crucial role education plays in combating world hunger.  She declared with confidence: "Education is the single most important investment a country can make."  The World Food Programme advocates for education through the organization's school meal food programmes. Besides providing vital nourishment, school meals act as a safety net for poor families and help keep children in schools.  In countries where school attendance is low, the promise of at least one nutritious meal each day boosts enrollment and promotes regular attendance.  Parents are motivated to send their children to school instead of keeping them at home to work or care for siblings.  In the poorest parts of the world, a school meal programme can double primary school enrollment in one year. Among the key beneficiaries are girls, who otherwise may never be given the opportunity to learn.  In its "take-home rations" projects, the World Food Programme provides basic food items, often including a sack of rice and a can of cooking oil, to families who send their daughters to school.  With school meal programmes in nearly 70 countries, Luescher stated that "the World Food Programme is not a hand-out; it's an empowerment program.  We provide the nourishment people need…
July 15, 2010

The Life and Death of Web 2.0

Edublogger Adam Bellow held a memorial service for the term "Web 2.0" at the 2010 ISTE Conference as part of his session titled eduTecher's 10 Web Tools To Make Your Classroom Rock.  In support of his effort to "bury the term once and for all," Adam contributed this guest post to summarize his ISTE presentation for our readers. An Abridged History of "Web 2.0" The term "Web 2.0" was first coined in 1999, more than ten years ago.  A lot has happened since then.  For instance, we were introduced to a little Web company named "Google."  To think of it another way - "Web 2.0" was coined before the first iPod was introduced.  However, while the term was first kicked around in 1999, it wasn't until 2003-04 that "Web 2.0" took on its current meaning and gained popularity. When originally coined, the term meant something because the predominant number of websites simply informed.  Company Web pages, and basic information tools such as dictionaries and reference sites, provided data and static information with minimal user interaction (social or otherwise).  These "read-only" websites came to be known by the moniker "Web 1.0." In the beginning, "Web 2.0" was cool.  It was the new buzzword.  Unfortunately, it's still lingering with us today.  The "2.0" signified that there was a distinct and definable difference between new interactive websites and those that came before.  That's fine.  Initially this idea makes sense.  For a few months, or even a year, we can have a shiny new name to define a changing medium. But today's Web is almost entirely interactive or social in some way.  Why continue to use a term that distinguishes itself from the predecessor if the predecessor no longer needs to be differentiated from (see example of "Coke II" or "New Coke).  Most of the static sites from years ago now offer a degree of social interaction - at the very least you can add comments or share content. The Web has evolved.  The medium is still very much the same, but its use has changed.  It's meaningless to call it "Web 2.0" to designate it…
Education PR - Public Relations for Edtech
June 26, 2010

ISTE 2010: Exploring Excellence

The CB&A team has traveled to Denver for ISTE 2010 – the conference formerly known as NECC.  The theme of this year's most comprehensive educational technology event is Exploring Excellence.  Nearly 20,000 teachers, technology coordinators, library media specialists, administrators, policy makers, industry representatives, and students from around the globe have gathered in the Mile-High City. Whether you're attending the conference in person or virtually, bookmark or follow ISTE Connects on Twitter for the latest news, events and commentary from ISTE.  In addition, follow Charlene Blohm, Kristen Plemon, Sandy Fash, and Emily Embury on Twitter as they tweet daily updates of interesting articles, client news and helpful tips.  Also be sure to follow CB&A at CBlohmAssoc, led by Brittany Dorfner. News from clients exhibiting at the conference... Califone (Booth #1189) Providing all students the opportunity to clearly hear their teachers and audiovisual media in the classroom, Califone showcases its upgrade Infrared Classroom Audio System as well as the company's new Assistive Listening System.  For more information, visit Discovery Education (Booth #628) Discovery Education announces new agreements with several organizations, including BBC, Smarterville/Reading Rainbow and CBS News, to further expand the content libraries of the company's curricular services.  For more information, visit ePals (Booth #1478) ePals highlights 11 educators from around the world who were named winners of the company's 2010 Teacher Ambassador Contest.  These winners were chosen based on their innovative use of the ePals Global Community across the curriculum.  For more information, visit Funds For Learning (Booth #1532) Funds For Learning announces the latest release of E-rate Manager, a web-based tool used for assistance with E-rate funding requests and commitments, offering improved features to enhance the user experience.  For more information, visit GlobalScholar (Booth #554) GlobalScholar highlights several U.S. districts that use the Pinnacle Suite of products to provide administrators and educators the data and resources they need to inform instructional decisions and improve student achievement. Gradecam (Booth #1384) When paired with a web or document camera, GradeCam Online allows teachers to scan and grade multiple-choice tests and other assignments instantly, helping to ease a time-consuming…