Major Digital Project – The Finale

It is now that time in the semester where all things are coming to an end, including this Major Digital Project. I don’t think I fully understood what I was taking on when I read the description of the Major Digital Project assignment in our course syllabus. I considered a variety of potential projects before I decided upon incorporating a Social Media Marketing project into my Entrepreneurship 30 class. I was very excited for this project as it is something that interests me and fits in so well with the course I’m teaching, but my class and I hit a setback in terms of timing pretty early on.  I quickly found that I was in over my head when it comes to social media marketing, so I called in backup in the form of a Zoom session with my classmate, Nancy Smith. We finally began making progress on the social media marketing project, and I’m now ready to provide my final update.

Social Media Marketing Project
The entire project is outlined in this PDF file: EC&I 831 Social Media Project
It includes:

  1. Pre-assessment
  2. Introduction to social media marketing
  3. Major project outline
    • Pitch business idea, create company, assign roles in company, create business plan, and conduct a formal board meeting with a local business mentor
    • Determine who is your target market and how will you reach them on social media?
    • Participate in Zoom session with social media marketing expert, Nancy Smith
    • Create company social media accounts
    • Create social media content calendar
    • Create content
    • Post content
    • Interact with customers
  4. Suggested tools
    • Hootsuite – social media managing, scheduling, measuring tool
    • Canva – graphic design tool
    • Adobe Spark – graphic design tool
    • Figma – interface design tool
    • Stencil – graphic design tool
    • BeFunky – photo editor, collage maker, and graphic design tool
    • Infogram – infographic creator
    • Visme – infographic creator
    • Soapbox – video creator and editor
    • Snappa – graphic design tool
  5. Assessment
    • Student worksheet
    • Assessment rubric

Entrepreneurship 30 Social Media Project Progress

My Entrepreneurship 30 class is comprised of 30 grade 11 & 12 students. The students have pitched potential business ideas and formed 4 companies: The Lip Stuff, All Boxed Up, Food Dudes, and Snow Busters. All companies have created business plans and conducted formal board meetings with local business mentors. Three of the four companies have already begun full company operations including production, marketing, and sales, while the fourth company will be kicking off operations next week.

Here are the social media platforms for each company:


The Lip Stuff
Product/Service: handmade, simple ingredient lip balm
Instagram: thelipstuff.co 
Company Composition: 7 grade 12 girls
Social Corporate Responsibility: 10% of profits being donated to SOFIA House Regina

lipstuff


All Boxed Up
Product/Service: themed gift baskets (spa, movie, Christmas)
Instagram: allboxedup.co
Company Composition: 8 grade 12 girls
Social Corporate Responsibility: $1 from each basket donated to Teddy Bears Anonymous 

boxed


Food Dudes
Product/Service: candy bags and pizza from Alex Pizza
Instagram: foooddudes
Company Composition: 9 grade 12 boys, 2 grade 11 boys
Social Corporate Responsibility: 10% of profits donated to the Regina Food Bank

fooddudes


Snow Busters
Product/Service: snow shoveling
Facebook: Snow Busters JA
Company Composition: 4 grade 12 boys
Social Corporate Responsibility: 50% seniors discount

snow


 

Final Reflection

Unfortunately the high school semester does not align with the university semester, instead it runs from the beginning of September until the end of January. As such, my students are only half completed the project and have not quite reached the completion and assessment phase. They will continue running their businesses and social media accounts until mid-January and will then liquidate the company, complete shareholder reports, conduct formal shareholder meetings, and hopefully receive a dividend.

My students and I have learned a ton about social media marketing through this project. I have really enjoyed the learning and trying to figure out how to incorporate my major digital project into my teaching. This is an assignment that I will absolutely continue to use with my future classes.

Thanks for following along with the ups and downs of this project! I know my students would love if you followed their company’s progress as the semester continues, feel free to follow their company accounts.

 

 

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Summary of Learning

Wow! What a semester it has been! A jam-packed three months with lots of new information, tools, resources, collaboration, relationships and many many things to think about. I have stuck with my tried-and-true method of procrastinating and have finally created a finished product for my Summary of Learning.

For my Summary of Learning artifact I wanted to try a new tool that I have not used before. I have always wanted to make a cool whiteboard video, but my whiteboard writing isn’t nearly as nice as Brooke’s  so I decided a digital whiteboard video, like this would suffice:

 

That’s when I found VideoScribe; a tool that allows you to create your own cool whiteboard videos without actually having to have legible whiteboard writing. After hours of work and feeling pretty happy with myself for learning this new tool, I discovered that the 7 day free trial of VideoScribe comes with the company logo in the background of your video. Unlike Amanda, I stuck with the free version so please don’t mind the VideoScribe logo all over the video… it doesn’t appear when you are editing and honestly by the time I discovered this I was too far in and too stubborn to pay for a subscription.

Here is my Summary of Learning

 

With the end of EC&I 831 (once I complete my final Major Digital Project post that is…) I will have officially completed my 9th Masters class and will complete my Masters of Educational Psychology in April 2020 – what a surreal feeling!

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What is Social Media Activism and does it work?

I was unable to attend class this week due to parent-teacher-student interviews followed by hosting a grad parent meeting. When I first read the blog post prompt, What Kind of (Digital) Citizen? post, and In Online Spaces Silence Speaks As Loudly As Words post, I felt very out of my comfort zone. I spoke to a coworker and friends about their thoughts on social media activism and we all had varying levels of comfort with this topic. Luckily I gained some knowledge and clarity when I watched the recording of the class. There was great discussion around the topic and I learned a lot. When discussing social media activism, one must first look at citizenship.

Citizenship
What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy by Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne describes three kinds of citizens; the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice oriented citizen.
The personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in their community such as recycling, donating blood, and staying out of debt. By developing personally responsible citizens it is also developing character, honesty, integrity, and hard work (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004)
The participatory citizen actively participates in civic affairs and the social life of the community at the local, provincial, and national level. This type of citizenship emphasizes engaging in collective, community-based efforts and focuses on planning and participating in organized efforts to care for those in need (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004).
The justice oriented citizens analyze and understand the interplay of social, economic, and political forces. This citizen advocates and calls attention to matters of injustice and to the importance of pursuing social justice, focusing on responding to social problems. As opposed to emphasizing charity and volunteerism the focus is on social movements and how to effect systemic change (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004).

What is Social Media Activism? 
According to Wikipedia, “Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society” (2019). Social activism is a broad range of activities which are beneficial to society or particular interest groups, often operated in groups to voice, educate and agitate for change, often focused on global issues. Social media activism is essentially using the platform of an online forum to lead or support a cause, it is activism behind a screen. Some examples of Social Media Activism include the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge, and The No Makeup Selfie.

Slacktivism 
In a world of constant likes, comments, and retweets, is it possible to create real change behind the click of a mouse or tap of a phone screen? Often the concept of social media activism can be alluring to a personally responsible or participatory citizen who aligns with a movement or cause. These individuals contribute to the activism through retweeting, using a hashtag, sharing a post, or using a particular filter on social media. Unfortunately, more often then not this type of social media behaviour does little more than to potentially increase awareness of a particular cause with ones online social circle, a concept called slacktivism. Sophie Egar does a good job of explaining this concept in her TEDx talk, Slacktivism: Social Media’s Effect on Activism.

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? 
Yes, I do think that online social activism can be meaningful and worthwhile to create awareness and education, but not necessarily in creating actual change. As outlined in the article, Social Media Activism is No Joke, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter often ask users to engage with different causes through liking and sharing posts, commenting, or uploading pictures/videos using particular hashtags. Social media activism has been a powerful tool in giving a voice to people across the world, especially in regards to marginalized groups. There is a significant difference between social media activism and traditional activism – the action.

Social media activism can increase awareness and act as a stepping-stone towards further engagement for a cause… Despite popular belief, there is a certain amount of effort and passion that is required in order for a social media campaign to garner significant attention and inspire change.

-Nicole Langfield

Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? 
After reading Katia Hildebrandt’s post, In Online Spaces Silence Speaks as Loudly as Words, I felt conflicted about whether or not it is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online. I actually agree with Dean Shareski’s comments that people use digital spaces in different ways and that with all of the travesties in the world people may prioritize and advocate for those which they see as most important. We have all seen (or perhaps been a part of?) a comment war. These are not productive and do not overly do much in terms of creating change or educating, if anything I feel that they only make things worse.


The key to having productive conversations is RELATIONSHIPS. Posting social media activism posts online can potentially polarize people, which is not helping the cause. By creating relationships and having face-to-face conversations where tone and body language can be read, real education and change may occur.

What is our responsibility as educators to model active citizenship online?
As Joel Westheimer outlined, we need to teach students to question, expose students to multiple perspectives, and focus on the local. We can model this ourselves in our daily lives as well. As Daniel outlined in his post, an educator should foster discussions and lead students to make strong arguments based on good information. We can do this by promoting good social media practices and teaching strong media literacy skills. As Kyla pointed out in her post, we can provide examples to our students such as Greta Thunberg and Alexa Chukwumah. We must also teach about the negative side of social media activism; that some people’s online behaviours can make you lose faith in humanity with the lack of empathy, respect, and decency towards others. This is something that we as adults are usually aware of when we post something online – perhaps it determines which platform we use (ie only posting to Facebook because only your friends/family will see it as opposed to posting on Twitter where you may be subject to the entire world seeing it) and is something that we must discuss with our students. As much as we often assume that our students are full digital citizens and understand the internet-world, the reality is that anything they post online can stay online forever and they may not yet understand the full consequences of those actions (there were many examples discussed in class – such as Alec’s example of his daughter’s assignment to post a video on YouTube). As Loreli pointed out, we have a huge responsibility and fantastic opportunity to model online citizenship to our students.  We must conduct ourselves in a way that we would encourage our students to conduct themselves – appropriately, responsibly, and respectfully.

I would love to know your thoughts, do you think social media activism works? What do you think the responsibility of educators is when it comes to social media activism and modeling active citizenship online?

 

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Finally Making Progress!

We are finally making progress! My Major Digital Project involves incorporating social media into my Entrepreneurship 30 class. I am still not confident that I will have the project assessed before the end of EC&I 831 but I am very happy to report that we have finally begun implementation!

The project officially kicked off with a Zoom session with Nancy Smith about social media marketing. I have received permission to share the video here on my blog. Enjoy the 20 minute lessons and conversations:

We then took a look at What Happens in a 2019 Internet Minute:

Internet Minute 2019

And a Social Media Cheat Sheet for Bloggers and Small Businesses

socialmediacheatsheet

My students have now completed their business plans, outlining who their target market is, the team, the product/service, the marketing plan, finances, human resources, health and safety, and sales projections. Two companies began pre-sales during parent-teacher-student interviews and experienced some early success.  This week the companies will conduct their Initial Board Meetings with entrepreneurs from local businesses such as Crossfit Villains, Bella Chic, and The Ultimate Deck Shop. Once they have completed their board meetings the companies are officially in business and will have 6 weeks to run their businesses. All 4 companies have outlined a heavy reliance on social media to help promote their businesses as they do not have much start up capital to pay for marketing and it is the best way to attract their target demographics.

Once the board meetings are complete and the social media profiles are up and running I will post them here. Have you had any experiences interacting with businesses through social media? Do you have any tips/tricks/suggestions for my students?

 

 

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Calling for Reinforcements

We are making progress! My Entrepreneurship 30 class has split into four companies; Lip Stuff (natural lipbalm), Snow Busters (snow shoveling service), All Boxed Up (spa and Christmas themed gift baskets), and The Food Dudes (Pizza & Candy Bags). They are diligently working away on their business plans which require them to identify company norms, missions, values, target markets, marketing strategies, finances, human resources, sales, and create a corporate structure.

Before the class got too far into the creation of their business, I wanted them to learn more about social media marketing so that they could begin to promote their companies in time for an initial business launch this week. It was time to call in reinforcements! Luckily for me, my classmate Nancy Smith works in the field of social media marketing (what are the chances!?) and was willing to collaborate with me to provide some starting points for my students. Nancy was nice enough to arrange her schedule to be able to have a Zoom session with my class!

I have only ever used Zoom as a participant in my university classes but I have never used it myself as a room host. This was a learning curve for me, trying to navigate how to set up my own room, invite Nancy to the session, and record it. It took some trial and error with creating rooms, overcoming issues with audio (always seems that there are tech difficulties when you need it the most, hey?), and trying to figure out where the audio recording would save, but I managed to get everything set up in time for our session.

Zoom Session with Nancy Smith

Entrepreneurship 30 Class Zoom Session with Nancy Smith

Nancy gave invaluable information, feedback, and suggestions to my students and to each company specifically. She talked about the psychology and psycho-graphics of why someone would want to buy your product/service as well as the importance of knowing who your target audience is and understanding which social media platforms they use.

Each group determined who their target market is and which platforms they will use to reach that market. Nancy stressed the importance of using 1-2 social media channels really well as opposed to trying to post on all of them. Each platform needs to be used differently based on how the audience interacts with it. For example, Instagram is the most visual so you must be able to capture great visual content, Facebook has a lot of daily users and you can use a Facebook Business Page as a store, whereas Twitter is often more-so used for news and less for marketing. It is important to know your audience, select the appropriate social media channels for that audience, and produce the right kind of content.

Nancy informed the class that there are three main forms of content: Education and Information, Inspiration, and Entertainment. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with 18 posts a day so it is necessary to create a content calendar where you plan the next week worth of content and the types of posts you will be utilizing.

It was a jam-packed informative 25 minute session and my students LOVED IT! I can not thank Nancy enough for her willingness to help and providing such valuable information and feedback for my students. Both my students and I learned a ton!

I did record the session but I am waiting to receive permission from a few parents as to whether or not I can share the video. I can not thank Nancy enough for her helpfulness and willingness to support my students.

I am now filled with ideas and am feeling inspired for this project! The next steps are:
1. Each company will create the appropriate social media accounts based on their target market
2. Each company will create a content calendar outlining what type of content (education & information, Inspiration, or Entertainment) they will post on which days
3. Build up their engagement and interact with customers through their platforms

I will link the social media platforms once they are created so you can all follow along with the progress. We are almost ready for business launches and will be having initial board meetings soon, it’s an exciting time!

Thanks for following along on our learning journey.

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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a few days… but better late than never? Last week in EC&I 831 we were lucky enough to hear from Dr. Verena Roberts about Open Education. Dr. Roberts has done extensive research in the area of Open Educational Practices and Open Educational Resources. On the first slide of her presentation, Dr. Roberts quotes a student:

…real learning isn’t done behind walls or with boundaries, I believe that real learning begins when we are left to figure something out, to problem solve, to collaborate and discuss with people of experience. It’s about the “doing” and what can be learned from the experience.

-High School Student

This quote really resonated with me. Students need a safe learning space, somewhere that they can focus on self, immediate community, outer community, and overall network. I have found that learning is more authentic when I provide my students with these opportunities (which luckily for me happen fairly organically in Entrepreneurship and Personal Finance classes).

What are Open Educational Resources? According to UNESCO, OERs are educational materials that are public domain or provided with an open license, meaning that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt, and re-share them (textbooks, curriculum, syllabus, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, animations, etc). Here’s a quick video introducing Open Educational Resources:

I also found this video which provides an overview and review of the effectiveness and perceptions of OERS. The video focuses on University-level resources and does not mention K-12 at all.

I have found a lot of OERs are aimed at higher learning, which I think is fantastic! OERs provide such a valuable option not only for post-secondary students/professors but also for those who are interested in learning for the sake of learning. I love learning and I think that it happens in many ways. I am obviously pursuing formal education through my Masters program but I also learn from my travels and adventures, and daily teaching provides new lessons on a daily basis. Too often as adults we can go a long time without consciously learning, so I think Open Educational Resources such as Coursera , Open Learn, edX, as just a few examples are fantastic resources. Unfortunately, despite the initial appearance of OERs in higher education in 2002, there has not been a significant shift in movement to OERs over formal post-secondary education since then. This article in EduCause Review explains the hurdles such as discoverability, quality control, bridging the last mile, and acquisition.

In addition to the numerous OERs aimed at higher-level learning, there are tons of resources for K-12 education as well. For this week’s post, the first OER that I looked at was ck12. This resources focuses primarily on K-12 math and science concepts. You need to create an account to access most of the materials which I chose not to do. It appears as though a teacher can set up an account, create a class, have students join the class, and use the ck12 materials such as assignments, videos, and texts. The site is very user-friendly and has a ton of options. Here is a screenshot of all of the subject options:

Capture

Since this OER isn’t overly relevant to me as a high school business education teacher, I chose to find a new resource to review. One OERs that I recently learned about is Next Gen Personal Finance. I learned about this resource from the Business Educators Facebook Group that I had joined last school year. This OER will be an invaluable resource in the Personal Finance class I teach next semester. Here’s a quick video introduction to the NGPF resource:

To gain full access to all of the resources you must be verified as a teacher, you can do this by providing your school email address and website that lists you as a teacher. Once verified, you gain full access to the site including unit plans, lesson plans, videos, assignments, case studies, answer keys, and much more. It is an American resource so some things need to be adapted for Canadian curriculum, but most of the resources are created in GoogleDocs so you can edit and alter them to fit your needs.

The NGPF mission is:

By 2030, ALL students will take a one semester personal finance course before graduating from high school.

We have our work cut out for us. In 2019, just 16.9% of U.S. public high school students (1 in 6) took at least a semester-long personal finance course that was required for graduation (the “Gold Standard”)

I cannot fangirl about this site enough.. this is the most useful Financial Literacy Education site I have ever found.

Despite the american-focused content, it is all-inclusive and 100% free. The “extras” include an arcade with 7 games and accompanying teacher resources (I may be addicted to the Credit Clash game…), blog, podcasts, and newsletters. There is a Teacher Toolkit which helps teachers to implement NGPF in their classroom, brush up on content knowledge, and ways to incorporate different pedagogical strategies into practice. There are units, semester-long courses, 9 week courses, middle school level, and more. The resources include activities, projects, case studies, question of the day, FinCap Friday, a video library, and more. Topics include checking, saving, types of credit, managing credit, paying for college, budgeting, investing, and financial pitfalls. Capture1 

Would this be something useful to other educators? What is the overall quality of materials? And is this something that can be easily adopted into others’ educational practice?
Yes! Saskatchewan has created new Financial Literacy 20 & 30 curriculum which will be ready for province-wide delivery by February. NGPF is a nearly all-inclusive OER for financial literacy. It definitely needs some tweaking for the Saskatchewan curriculum, but in a world of almost endless financial information and advice, this is a great place to start. It is a user-friendly site for teachers, materials are student-friendly, and is completely free. The materials are very professionally done, handouts are created in a Google Doc format so you can adapt it as needed or upload in Google Classroom, and there are answer keys for everything which have a new unique link every 6 months to ensure that they are updated and accurate.

In business education, there are often free materials that are provided because they are sponsored by industry, such as financial institutions. This is something that I always discuss with my students – who is providing this content and how do they benefit from providing it? I tried to find how NGPF is sponsored or who creates the materials but I can’t seem to find any connection other than it being an American Non-Profit Organization. As with every resource that teachers use, we must always be critical but overall I am happy with this resource as a basis for my lessons.

OERs have become common-place in public education – I can’t imagine teaching without them! What are your favourite OERs? How often do you incorporate OERs into your teaching practices?

 

 

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Setbacks and Slow Progress

I entered the week full of hope that I would make significant progress on my Major Digital Project. Last week my classmate Nancy had responded to my tweet about social media branding. She is a social media marketer and is willing to help me with some ideas for my class to consider for their project, and we may even be able to organize a zoom session. Things were looking up this week, I already had a solid starting point for what to work on next and only had my project to focus on (for this class… my final paper for my other class was also due). Unfortunately the week did not go as planned…

I am experiencing a pretty major setback on my major digital project. My Entrepreneurship class was on track to form their companies and begin writing their business plans last week. I had hoped that we would be ready to start running our businesses and I would implement my social media project by the end of next week (parent-teacher-student interviews are on Nov 19th and are a great opportunity to launch an in-school business). This would give me lots of time to implement and assess the project before the end of the EC&I831 semester.

On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to take my class on a field trip to a very well run Entrepreneurship 101 Career Spotlight event put on by RDIEC. There was a fireside chat with four local entrepreneurs – Justine Marie Studios, The Bearded Prairie Chef, Dandy’s Artisan Ice Cream, and Strategy Lab Marketing. All four entrepreneurs strongly emphasized the importance of social media in their businesses – as a way to connect with customers, showcase their businesses and projects, and to promote their business at minimal to no cost. 

entrepreneurship101

Entrepreneurship 101 Career Spotlight: Fireside chat with local entrepreneurs moderated by Audacity YQR – Justine Marie Studios, The Bearded Prairie Chef, Dandy’s Artisan Ice Cream, and Strategy Lab Marketing

My students were so inspired by the event that they wanted to spend more time solidifying their business ideas and decided that they would have a better learning experience if they were in smaller groups to run their companies (there were 15 students in each company). As a teacher you are always excited when students take ownership of their learning, so with some guiding questions I allowed the students more time to brainstorm and problem-solve on Thursday and was hopeful decisions would be made before the weekend. Unfortunately for my class, the Law 30 and ELA 30 classes had their own wonderful educational opportunity to attend a field trip on Friday, taking 120 senior students (90% of my class) away from the building for the day. This is one of the difficult things about teaching in a medium-sized high school – our planned schedules do not always mesh well with other classes or school events; students are taking 5 classes from 5 different teachers with different events and due dates and the school has it’s own events and deadlines such as assemblies, pep-rallies, school surveys, etc. 

To add to the delay in our business creation, I had already pre-arranged for the founder of UnderstandUs to come talk to my students about his business and what it’s like to run a non-profit organization. I am a firm believer that guest presenters and fieldtrips can teach my students things that I can’t in a regular class setting, so I will never regret providing these opportunities for my students. It was an invaluable learning experience for both my students and I (and probably Jim… he had never presented to a class about how he started his business) and I think it inspired my students. However it definitely added to my stress levels when I looked at my calendar and realized that I am running out of time to complete this Major Digital Project.

Today I drew a calendar for the month of November on the board and we discussed as a class what we need to accomplish by certain days in order to allow for the best learning opportunity – confirm company groups, assign roles, create team norms, write a business plan, create the products, begin marketing and sales, conduct sales, etc. Not to mention we have three 4-day weeks in a row, so unfortunately the implementation AND assessment of my major digital project is not a top priority for my class in the next three weeks. Although my class may (still hoping!) or may not be ready to fully implement, complete, and be assessed on the project that I am creating before my end of November deadline, I am still going to implement it when they are ready (the high school semester goes until the end of January).

As some of my classmates have noted in their blogs (Nancy, Riley ) many of us are perfectionists and struggle when our work isn’t perfect. I am also a bit of a perfectionist and struggle when things aren’t perfect or perhaps it’s more of a difficulty accepting things that are beyond my control. Are you a perfectionist? Have you had any setbacks in this course? How do you overcome your setbacks or deal with imperfections?

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Social Media Branding; Where to Start?

Now that I have chosen my topic for my Major Digital Project, it is time to dive in head first. My Entrepreneurship students have been researching potential business ideas for our class to run and I decided to use this opportunity to do an informal pre-assessment. Students were encouraged to use their own social media accounts to conduct some initial market research to determine if their network would be interested in purchasing their proposed product and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Out of the 15 groups only 4 chose to use their social media to conduct market research. These groups used polls on their Instagram accounts where their followers answered Yes/No questions or they posed a question for their followers to answer using a sliding scale.

One such example was how much potential customers would be willing to pay for homemade lip balm:

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 8.43.43 PM

I was honestly surprised that more groups did not utilize their own network to determine if there is interest in a product and how much potential consumers would be willing to pay. Upon further discussion with my students most did not want to utilize their own networks for an idea they were pitching as they didn’t want to deal with the follow-up if their idea was not chosen as our class project. This is something I can relate to as I had asked my Instagram followers what I should learn for my Major Digital Project and I didn’t end up using any of their ideas. I have had to explain to a number of my followers that I decided to go a different direction for my project and I can understand why my students wouldn’t want to have to go through with that same kind of conversation with their followers.

Now that the business pitch project is almost over, I have began doing my own research on Social Media Marketing so that I can better teach my students how to utilize social media in their businesses. Aleh Barysevich from Marketing Land wrote a very informative article of 16 social media updates for marketers in 2019. In summary, the major updates to be aware of include:

  • Google+ is officially gone
  • TikTok has more than 500 million users and this year began advertising. TikTok now has interest-based targeting, custom audience and pixel tracking, and age, gender, location, network, and operating system targeting.
  • Facebook has made custom ads more transparent, letting users know why they are being targeted by a specific ad through the “Why am I seeing this?” feature
  • Facebook has restricted targeting for certain ads, for example housing, employment and credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, race or gender
  • Facebook now has automated ads which allow you to create a marketing plan for your business by answering a few questions about your business and goals and the tool will create up to six different versions of your ad, provide audience suggestions, recommend a budget, and send you notifications about your ad.
  • Facebook has added an appointments management feature that lets costumers book business services through Facebook and Instagram. This feature also allows businesses to send appointment reminders to customers, display availability, and manage appointments from the business page.
  • Instagram now allows businesses to turn a sponsored post of an influencer into an ad with a notation saying, “Paid in partnership with XX.” so brands can target ads for the posts of their influences
  • Twitter has a new desktop design and has reduced the limit of accounts a user can follow from 1,000/day to 400/day
  • LinkedIn now combines a business’ image of a customer persona with data from LinkedIn to help find a target audience
  • LinkedIn also introduced interest targeting this year based on a profile’s professional interests on LinkedIn and more
  • LinkedIn now provides audience templates, post reactions, and an algorithm update
  • Pinterest has created a new customer experience features such as shop a brand feature, personalized shopping recommendations, and brands have an option to upload their full catalog

This article allowed me sigh a bit of relief as I have either used or am aware of each of these social media platforms, as well as Snapchat. I am glad that I am not too far out of touch with the current social media platforms being used so I can help my students to understand how social media marketing works on the platforms that they currently use and how to utilize these platforms for promoting their future businesses.

Students will hopefully decide on our class businesses this week and will begin creating business plans and a social media presence. Do you know of any businesses that are a good example of using social media marketing? Or have a strong social media presence? What makes them so effective?

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Open Education and Copyright in 2019

This week in EC&I 831 we began learning about the concept of Open Education. This is a topic that I have heard of before but have never really explored much. I am glad that we will be talking about Open Education more in EC&I 831 over the next few weeks as I hope to gain more understanding about the concept to better determine how I feel about it. 

Open education removes barriers to learning so there are no pre-requisites, no prior qualifications, no discrimination, affordable for all, and more. Essentially, open education is to be accessable by anyone and no one should be denied. Dr. Tony Bates’ blog What Do We Mean By ‘Open’ in Education? explains that open education as a concept can take a number of forms:

  • education for all: free or very low cost school, college or university education available to everyone within a particular jurisdiction, usually funded primarily through the state;
  • open access to programs that lead to full, recognized qualifications. These are offered by national open universities or more recently by the OERu;
  • open access to courses or programs that are not for formal credit, although it may be possible to acquire badges or certificates for successful completion. MOOCs are a good example;
  • open educational resources that instructors or learners can use for free. MIT’s OpenCourseware, which provides free online downloads of MIT’s video recorded lectures and support material, is one example;
  • open textbooks, online textbooks that are free for students to use;
  • open research, whereby research papers are made available online for free downloading;
  • open data, that is, data open to anyone to use, reuse, and redistribute, subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share.

There is a misconception that open education is free education. I have always associated open education with being free but upon further investigation, open education does not always equate to free education. As Bates explains, “there are real costs in creating and distributing open education, and supporting learners, which has to be covered in some way” (Bates, 2015).

According to BCcampus, Open Educaitonal Resources are “teaching, learning, and research resources that, through permissions granted by their creator, allow others to use, distribute, keep, or make changes to them.” Educators are no stranger to free educational resources, I strongly relied upon such resources when I began teaching and still use a significant amount of free materials in my classroom today. A quote that is often used amongst my colleagues and I is “sharing is caring” in the concept that sharing resources with each other is just a common thing that we regularly do. However in recent years I have become more conscious of the amount of time, effort, and resources that are going into those projects, assignments, and lesson plans that I have been so freely sharing while others are posting similar content on Teachers Pay Teachers and getting paid for their work. I am now conflicted on whether or not resources in education should be open and free or whether they should require some form of acknowledgement, copyright, or payment. 

 

In my undergrad ECMP 355 class, Dr. Alec Couros showed us the RiP! A Remix Manifesto documentary. I remember this film really challenging my views on copyright and ownership of material for the first time in my life. I showed this video to the Communications Media 20 class that I taught during my internship and we had a lengthy class discussion about it and the majority of my students were in favour of creative commons and being able to use any material for their creations however they did not like the idea of others being able to use their work without giving recognition or compensation.

I have noticed in recent years that companies are shifting to using consumer photos and videos as opposed to paying for their own content creation. One of my classmates in EC&I 831, Nancy has shared her experience working for a tourism campaign that used others’ photos that they had tagged with a particular hashtag. I have personally experienced my photos being used for a company’s marketing campaign just like this. A few years ago the RCMP Heritage Centre sold special edition rubber ducks with the iconic red coat uniform of the RCMP. I was ecstatic to learn of this rubber duck and knew that it would make the perfect travel companion.

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I purchased my very own Corporal Funduck and it was the first thing I packed as I jet set off to Europe for a summer trip. I quickly began snapping photos of Cpl. Funduck in Slovenia, London, and Spain and shared my photos on Twitter where I tagged @RCMPHC

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While I was away on my trip I received a message from a marketing company who was hired by the RCMP. As it turns out, the RCMP loved seeing the photos of Cpl FunDuck exploring the world and wanted to encourage others to share their photos of their ducks as well. I was so excited that someone liked what I had done that I immediately agreed to let them use my photos of my new travel companion. I did not receive any mentions, credit, or compensation for my photos as I had given permission for them to be used. I don’t regret this decision but I must admit that I had not fully thought it through before I agreed to it. I wonder if others feel this way in terms of Open Education or sharing of resources and materials for free? Would you agree to allowing others to use your photos for their own marketing materials?

In case you were wondering, I have since created an Instagram account for my Cpl FunDuck which documents all of our travels together and I continue to tag @RCMPHC in all of my photos.

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Major Digital Project – Decision Made

After much thought, deliberation, and some consultation, I have decided what I will do for my Major Digital Project for EC&I 831. In a previous blog post I had considered many possible project ideas and had narrowed it down to 4 topics:

  • Option 1: Design, implement, and assess a project that integrates a social networking tool into the classroom
  • Option 2: Learn a new language through the use of YouTube, Duolingo, and other free online sources to assist me in my future travels.
  • Option 3: Learning to run and more about physical activity through apps, websites, and videos. This would likely incorporate nutrition as well as running.
  • Option 4: Learning more advanced cooking and baking skills to create more complex recipes through online resources.

The first official step of my digital learning project was deciding that I will proceed with Option 1; designing, implementing, and assessing a project that integrates a social networking tool into my Entrepreneurship 30 class. The use of social media can be incorporated into multiple modules of the Entrepreneurship 30 curriculum. I am planning for the project to revolve around the topic of social media marketing in business and entrepreneurship.

Upon consultation with my professor, Alec Couros, he agreed that this was a suitable topic choice for my Digital Learning Project and recommended I check out Bushwick Analytica’s project of having students learn about and create targeted ads. In the article Tega Brain, the project developer, is quoted as saying:

“Kids today are growing up in a post-broadcast era,” says Brain. “And because of this, it’s absolutely essential to find ways to teach an understanding of algorithms, recommendation engines, and targeting. Why does the internet look different to everyone, and what does that mean?”

This week my students are going to research and pitch a potential business ideas that we will run in the class throughout the rest of the semester. Through the pitch assignment students will be given their first pre-assessment of their use of social media in the form of using social media to conduct initial market research. Students have been encouraged to use social media to find out if their target market (students at our school) would purchase the product that they are pitching to run in our business, as well as how much they would be willing to pay for it.

I am looking forward to learning more about how Entrepreneurs use social media in their businesses and can’t wait to incorporate this social media project with my class. Do you have any social media marketing resources? Or know anyone who has used social media in their business? I would love any tips, tricks, dos/don’ts, or resources that others are willing to share.

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