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St. Paul’s Cathedral and #London skyline walking back from the pub last night #nofilter

St. Paul’s Cathedral and #London skyline walking back from the pub last night #nofilter

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5 things we learnt at the #ContentlySummit

Much for food for thought at the #ContentlySummit at the @BoweryHotel in a hot and humid New York this week. This is a community leading the way in terms of the latest thinking and technologies supporting the creation, publishing and measurement of content by publishers and brands.

@Contently’s @ShaneSnow made the case for brand’s taking their investment in content and storytelling more seriously – put simply great stories build relationships and make people care. So how do we do this effectively? Here are some of my takeaways for brand content types:

1) The truth in advertising - Transparency is a big issue in the brand publishing movement and an excellent panel debated ethics and the fine lines around native ads. @Jeffjarvis argued that transparency will always benefit your brand in the long run. He argued that you should be up front and use straightforward human language. Brand Voices? No, just call it an ad.

2) Measure everything, but assume nothing – the geeks were up next and @Buzzfeed’s @KyHarlin argued that there is often an assumption that data is truth and you need to understand what is really being measured. Buzzfeed’s key metric is ‘viral lift,’ measuring the proportion of social pick up of its content. ‘Scroll time’ measures engagement and whether someone is actually reading a post. Let’s get those beauties into conversation with your boss next week…. 

3) Don’t forget email - @Alexisea told us how email and newsletters remain a crucial premium product and channel for @PureWow’s efforts to drive engagement around its content. @Refinery29 complete A/B testing on every email they send out. You can read more about their content secrets in their blog.

4) Knowing your audience - @CarrieParler from @AmericanExpress talked to the need to really understand your audience and the problems they are trying to solve. AE understands that a huge proportion of small businesses fail and they aim to help their Open Forum audience to overcome hurdles with learnings from other entrepreneurs and education guides. How can your brand be truly useful?

5) Distinct corporate brand strategies – American Express and @Microsoft have very different branded content strategies. Microsoft storytelling team under @Btamblyn comes out of corporate communications and is a vehicle for telling Microsoft stories that the press wouldn’t traditionally cover and shift perceptions of the company. American Express’s Open Forum is all about support of their community. Which way to go?

Follow the @Contently team and visit their awesome blog for further reports from the summit.

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The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.
Rupert Murdoch

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Branding lessons from Scottish TV

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to fly to Glasgow for the day to speak to the Scottish TV team about digital communications and learn more about their business. I was made extremely welcome.

This is a vibrant and nimble media company. As Scotland’s leading media brand, it reaches over 3.6 million viewers each month via Channel 3 in Scotland and over 3 million unique users each month through its digital services.

It is expanding through smart use of new digital channels, data and about to launch a series of new local TV channels for Glasgow (Monday 2 June) and Edinburgh. You can check out the promo for the new Glasgow channel here. I live in Essex, but even I want to watch it….

There was a great deal to takeaway from the day, but one that stood out was the rebrand process being undertaken, the very emotive work done to get under the skin of ‘friendly’ Glasgow and create a fresh brand identity for TV and visual communications. This is something any corporate brand needs to understand now given the growth of owned and video content.  

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Good to see there is a healthy parent/ child respect in place.

Good to see there is a healthy parent/ child respect in place.

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Mary, St. Francis, Mel & Quentin. An unlikely combo in Assisi today.

Mary, St. Francis, Mel & Quentin. An unlikely combo in Assisi today.

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Be short, be simple, be human.
Sir Ernest Gowers

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Hi there! I was just rolling through your tumblr, thoroughly enjoying some of your posts, esp your extensive coverage of ed innovation conferences. With our endeavor, the 524 project, we seek to unite a classroom of DC students with Detroit students via modern technology to encourage discussion about their city histories. We wanted to invite you to follow our tumblr, hoping you could provide insights from your ed tech experience on how we could use technology to better engage students!

Asked by 524project

That sounds like an awesome project. 

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10 Talking Points From the ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit - Getting Smart by Guest Author - edchat, edinnovation, EdTech, Innovation

In the same week that we were given the details of my four-year old daughter’s first school, I headed to Scottsdale in Arizona for a peak into her schooling future. And while it might be hard to reconcile life in a rural village school in England with the high-octane VC and start up scene at the ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit, there have undoubtedly been some globally relevant edtech lessons and challenges to ponder. Here are some talking points that caught the eye of the Pearson Labs team…

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pearsonlabs:

5 things you may have missed on day two of the ASU+GSV Education Innovation SummitHere are 5 things you may have missed on day two of the ASU+GSV Education Innovation Summit:The day started strong with a panel called “How Four Rock Star Women Are Leading Their Schools Systems” - featuring Dr. Barbara Byrd Bennett, CEO, Chicago Public Schools; Cami Anderson, Superintendent, Newark Schools; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public School; and Diane Tavenner, Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools. Cami made a passionate argument for maintaining the same high standards and rigor for those students struggling most as we do for our best performing students. All of the women also agreed that we need to find effective ways to integrate smart phones and other personal devices into the classroom. Students use technology in all aspects of their life outside of the classroom, said Kaya, so why we would we ask them to unplug inside. Cami added that while her schools have faced challenges with allowing personal devices on the premises, with the right transformational leadership, there could be a solution on the horizon. Hadi Partovi from Code.org - the engine behind the popular “Hour of Code” intiative - gave a lunchtime talk about the importance of teaching kids computer science. “Note everyone needs to learn a coding language,” he said. “But everyone needs to understand how technology works.” He also announced the dates for the 2014 Hour of Code. Considering more girls participated in “Hour of Code’ in one week than tried computers science in the last 70 years, we’re pretty excited to see what 2014 has in store!In a lunchtime panel on the role of the VC community and opportunities in the sector, a panel concluded that edtech is an exciting ‘messy soup’ with more innovation, lower barriers of entry and at the same time greater competition and higher failure rates. Laela Sturdy from Google Ventures talked to the need to attract the best talent to the biggest problems and that the promise of personalised learning is one of the hardest engineering challenges. Mitch Kapor argued that great solutions will come from different and more diverse groups than the ones being funded right now and that we need to be able to identify talent wherever it comes from. Paul Maeder from Highland Capital said that VCs fund people that look like them and that although it is one of the most diversity challenged industries, the patterns are changing with the emergence of the next generation of talent in the industry.Stacey Childress and the Gates Foundation released their new survey, Teachers Know Best, which asked over 3,000 educators about what digital instructional tools are essential to helping their students be prepared for college and careers in the 21st century. Good news for the ASU+GSV audience: both teachers and the 1200+ students surveyed “see technology as useful in instruction.” Alignment with college- and career-ready standards and/or teachers’ lessons plans was the most-cited benefit sought by teachers when choosing instructional resources, both digital and non-digital.Former NBA star Magic Johnson gave the closing talk of the day, discussing life outside of basketball and some of his education initiatives, including supporting more than 10,000 minority students with college scholarships. When asked about his view on social impact investing, he said his mom taught him from a young age about the importance of giving back. “It’s not just about us being successful, it’s also about how many other people can you help be successful.”   

pearsonlabs:

5 things you may have missed on day two of the ASU+GSV Education Innovation Summit

Here are 5 things you may have missed on day two of the ASU+GSV Education Innovation Summit:The day started strong with a panel called “How Four Rock Star Women Are Leading Their Schools Systems” - featuring Dr. Barbara Byrd Bennett, CEO, Chicago Public Schools; Cami Anderson, Superintendent, Newark Schools; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public School; and Diane Tavenner, Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools. Cami made a passionate argument for maintaining the same high standards and rigor for those students struggling most as we do for our best performing students. All of the women also agreed that we need to find effective ways to integrate smart phones and other personal devices into the classroom. Students use technology in all aspects of their life outside of the classroom, said Kaya, so why we would we ask them to unplug inside. Cami added that while her schools have faced challenges with allowing personal devices on the premises, with the right transformational leadership, there could be a solution on the horizon. Hadi Partovi from Code.org - the engine behind the popular “Hour of Code” intiative - gave a lunchtime talk about the importance of teaching kids computer science. “Note everyone needs to learn a coding language,” he said. “But everyone needs to understand how technology works.” He also announced the dates for the 2014 Hour of Code. Considering more girls participated in “Hour of Code’ in one week than tried computers science in the last 70 years, we’re pretty excited to see what 2014 has in store!In a lunchtime panel on the role of the VC community and opportunities in the sector, a panel concluded that edtech is an exciting ‘messy soup’ with more innovation, lower barriers of entry and at the same time greater competition and higher failure rates. Laela Sturdy from Google Ventures talked to the need to attract the best talent to the biggest problems and that the promise of personalised learning is one of the hardest engineering challenges. Mitch Kapor argued that great solutions will come from different and more diverse groups than the ones being funded right now and that we need to be able to identify talent wherever it comes from. Paul Maeder from Highland Capital said that VCs fund people that look like them and that although it is one of the most diversity challenged industries, the patterns are changing with the emergence of the next generation of talent in the industry.Stacey Childress and the Gates Foundation released their new survey, Teachers Know Best, which asked over 3,000 educators about what digital instructional tools are essential to helping their students be prepared for college and careers in the 21st century. Good news for the ASU+GSV audience: both teachers and the 1200+ students surveyed “see technology as useful in instruction.” Alignment with college- and career-ready standards and/or teachers’ lessons plans was the most-cited benefit sought by teachers when choosing instructional resources, both digital and non-digital.Former NBA star Magic Johnson gave the closing talk of the day, discussing life outside of basketball and some of his education initiatives, including supporting more than 10,000 minority students with college scholarships. When asked about his view on social impact investing, he said his mom taught him from a young age about the importance of giving back. “It’s not just about us being successful, it’s also about how many other people can you help be successful.”   

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