The annual meeting of the Statewide Afterschool Networks in early February 2012 coincided with the first national Digital Learning Day. In order to take advantage of this exciting event and to raise awareness of digital learning opportunities in afterschool and summer learning, Collaborative suggested the development of a ‘Digital Learning Lab’ where participants could learn about policy, practice and research related to digital learning, and connect with experts in the field.
Collaborative designed a highly interactive and fun learning experience where participants could both hear from a series of organizations working to advance digital learning, and then could go deeper through either informal ‘Lab’ conversations or mini-presentations. Collaborative led the development of the Digital Learning Lab by:
Designed an interactive learning ‘Lab’ which consisted of a series of rapid-fire presentations by experts, followed by a deep dive by one organization, and an open, informal networking and learning experience where participants talked directly with the experts and tested their tools or products where applicable.
Invited and managed the group of expert presenters which included representatives from BAYCAT, CFY, Gooru, The After-School Corporation (TASC), Think Together and Wireless Generation.
Facilitated the rapid-fire presentations on key research, practice and policy issues related to digital learning, which provided participants with information on California digital learning programs and tools, current policy initiatives and assessment efforts.
Evaluated the session to gather information from participants on how to continue the conversation and advance the dialogue on digital learning in out-of-school time.
As a result of our efforts, nearly 100 participants learned about leading research, policy and practice in digital learning. Additionally, because of the design of the Lab, presenters were also able to connect with one another, forming new connections and gaining new ideas about their work.
This highly interactive learning experience provided connections to the latest trends in digital learning in afterschool and connected the ongoing conference to a larger national dialogue about digital learning.
In the fall of 2011, The MacArthur Foundation joined its Digital Media and Learning Competition with the Mozilla Foundation’s badges initiative. In addition to seeking visibility for the competition, the partners sought to create a national conversation around the use of badges as alternative forms of assessment.
The MacArthur Foundation wanted to launch the competition in Washington, DC, through a dynamic event that would also provide an explanation of digital badges as an innovative new learning tool that can represent skill mastery. To achieve these goals the MacArthur Foundation and its partners sought support and guidance to provide a messaging around the use of badges coupled with a launch of their competition.
Collaborative worked with the MacArthur Foundation and its partners to:
Co-create messaging to develop and direct a national dialogue around badges as alternative recognition of skills and competencies
Identify key media and social media outlets to spread awareness of the competition and initiative goals
Manage a team of advisors to create launch event goals and agenda
Build relationships with stakeholders and policy makers to develop support for the initiative
Execute professional launch event at the Hirshhorn Museum incorporating high level speakers such as Secretary Arne Duncan and Charles F. Bolden of NASA, competitors and guests
As a result of these efforts, the partners convened stakeholders, policymakers and competitors for a competition lunch in Washington, DC. In addition to addresses by key national leaders, the lunch featured demonstrations of three current badge systems and a panel discussion on the potential of digital badges.
The launch gave the competition and discussion national momentum, creating a new way of thinking about assessments and learning in traditional and non-traditional settings.
The World Wide Workshop, a nonprofit that creates social media and digital technology applications to help youth and educators participate as leaders in the global knowledge economy, was experiencing great success in introducing its groundbreaking video game design curriculum (Globaloria) to schools across the country.
Realizing they were at a significant turning point, the organization wanted support to further tailor their messaging for key stakeholders and expand their coverage in media and social media forums on the impact of their programs on local communities and contributions to STEM education nationwide. Like many small and growing nonprofits, the World Wide Workshop also sought to identify creative ways to maximize the capacity of their current staff to support outreach efforts.
Collaborative worked with the World Wide Workshop to:
Audit and assess its existing messaging and communications materials
Co-create messaging, including targeted approaches for key stakeholder groups
Train key staff members on messaging and provide tools and resources for the entire organization to use in ongoing communications
Develop a comprehensive communications plan, including a customized media and social media strategy, and accompanying outreach lists
Create press releases, blog posts and social media content in support of key outreach efforts
Build relationships with reporters and bloggers in local and national media markets
The World Wide Workshop team has comprehensive messaging materials and ongoing support from Collaborative in identifying and pursuing opportunities to engage stakeholders through media and social media outreach.
In the fall of 2011, School of One founders Joel Rose and Chris Rush were finalizing plans to launch an independent nonprofit organization, New Classrooms Innovation Partners for Learning. In addition to seeking visibility for the new organization’s launch, the co-founders needed to set up a communications structure that would support a growing team of staff members.
Collaborative worked with New Classrooms to:
Develop messaging to introduce New Classrooms to a national audience of stakeholders and the media
Identify key media and social media outlets in New Classrooms’ launch communities
Create a comprehensive communications plan, including an in-depth media and social media strategy
Create, distribute and pitch a press release and accompanying social media content to announce the launch
Set up an e-communications system and train staff in its effective use
New Classrooms’ launch was featured in key education outlets, including Education Week, Getting Smart, Joanne Jacobs and EdSurge. Additionally, staff members are now using the finalized messaging and communications systems to engage current and potential supporters as New Classrooms expands into new communities.