Category Archives: Major Digital Project

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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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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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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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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Major Digital Project – So Many Options!

Since the EC&I 831 course started I have been struggling to choose a topic for my Major Digital Project. I am a notorious procrastinator and having choice in my assignments makes the procrastination even worse, thus I am here the day before this blog post is due trying to determine what I may want to do for my project. I have come up with a few ideas so far but haven’t been able to make a decision yet.

Option A: Undertake a major digital project that involves the integration of social media in teaching practices such as “the design, implementation, and assessment of a project that integrates a social networking tool into the classroom (e.g, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc).”

  • This semester I am teaching Entrepreneurship 30. I am planning for my class to brainstorm, plan, run, and liquidate their own student-run ventures this semester and I would love to incorporate the use of social media in the student businesses. I would have to learn more about current social media platforms that teens are using (Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, VSCO, etc) and how businesses use these tools to market to teens. Social media marketing is invaluable in 2019 and a vital part of Entrepreneurship.  Once I’ve done my research (A Guide to Social Media Marketing for Business in 2019) I would have to consider how I would assign the use of social media in the student-run companies and how I would assess such use. I love the idea of incorporating my Major Digital Project into my current teaching practices in a way that is useful for both my students and myself, but I still have a lot of things to consider before potentially implementing this idea. There are definitely a lot of concerns with social media in the classroom, many of which we covered through our collaborative slides about social media platforms last class, such as confidentiality, privacy, cyber bullying, etc.

 

Option B: “Based on the idea that individuals are now more able to learn and share online, choose something significant that you would like to learn, and share your progress openly in an online space.” I was inspired by Brooke’s idea to poll her Instagram followers for project ideas and decided to try that myself. My followers’ answers weren’t quite as creative as Brooke’s were, but there were a lot of great ideas!

IMG_8624IMG_8625IMG_8626

All of the suggestions revolved around three main themes which I had conveniently been thinking of already:

  • Language – I love to travel! All of my family, friends, and social media followers know this (my Instagram is made up of 90% travel pictures and 10% memes) so it was no surprise that a main suggestion theme was something to do with travel. Learning a new language is something I have really been considering. I will be taking a group of students to Greece this Easter so it would be helpful to learn Greek, I have been to Spain and Portugal a couple of times and would love to go back so Spanish or Portuguese would be beneficial, and of course it is a staple to know French when living in Canada. I have dabbled with using apps such as Duolingo in the past but have never been dedicated enough to stick with it. This learning project would give me the motivation and time commitment to actually follow-through with learning a new language. I would do this through the use of Duolingo, audiobooks, YouTube, and any other resources I could find such as free online courses.
  • Physical Activity – I have never had a great relationship with running. I enjoy playing sports but I have always considered running a form of punishment (probably because running lines IS a punishment) and have never understood how people enjoy running. I could use this project to learn how to run properly and maybe even how to enjoy it – perhaps through a couch to 5k program that I could use an app for or other online resources. Another physical activity that was suggested to me was yoga. I have only done a few casual yoga sessions and would love to try more. Yoga is a great options because there are plenty of formal classes but also lots of online videos, apps, and tools that I could use to learn the basics.
  • Cooking/Baking – I enjoy cooking and baking but I rarely make time for either. I would love to learn more about cooking and/or baking. Although I meal prep every week, I always follow recipes. I would love to dedicate the time to experiment with new techniques and create my own recipes. I also don’t know much about nutrition and the nutritional values that are in or should be in the food I make. This project could be an opportunity for me to learn more about nutrition and incorporate it in my meal planning and cooking routines. I never make time for baking even though I consider it a relaxing activity for myself and I love to give away the baked goods that I make. Another option for this project could be learning cake or cookie decorating, or trying different baking techniques and recipes.

Honestly at this stage in the semester I am not totally sure which direction I want to go with this project yet. I think I would enjoy any of these options and have the resources to be able to choose any. All of these options would require a major commitment on my part and I would be able to assess and document my learning along the way. At the moment I am considering Option A the most, once I can conceptualize how I would create and assess the use of social media with my students. Social media marketing is a major aspect of Entrepreneurship and I believe I would learn just as much or more from my students as they would learn from me through this project.

Any feedback or suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

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