Beyond our typical school challenges – SCN Encourager 9/4/2013

Or maybe none of our challenges are “typical”…

The front page of the Detroit News on Tuesday featured a potpourri of “Back to School” happenings.

The article covered the range of topics we know well: the excitement of kindergartners and first-year teachers, brand new buildings and school mergers, the transformation to project-based learning, campus and bus safety, heightened nutritional standards, school open houses, the school budget squeeze, and the wide-spread distribution of iPads and other devices to students.

Anyone reading this long story would believe the 2013-2014 is off to a great start.

Good. I’ve believed it for some time.

I know how hard you work.

Unfortunately, one of the very next articles to come my way reminded me that there will never be a shortage of plates for us to “keep spinning.”

There will always be another challenge to add to our project list.

The article I wish I hadn’t read was written by Jack Stevens, a 23 year-old marketing manager and the youngest team member of a large media firm in the UK. (Valtech)

He’s a newbie to marketing and communications and admits that he’s consistently surprised when his much older colleagues treat “common sense” like an innovation.

That was a unique insight, so I thought he could’ve wrapped up his article right then.

But nope, this young guy had something more on his mind.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.01.07 PMSince entering the marketing field, Jack has been troubled by the increasing desire for desensitized stunts and publicity from the demographic segment (ages 5-16) which has grown up on touchscreens and is totally immersed in a digital lifestyle.

The sad example he cites to augment his case would trouble us, too.

He points out a teen in a recent YouTube video who gobbled down a jar of Vaseline and is now the proud recipient of 16,000 followers on Twitter and 282,000 followers on Facebook.

Jack foresees a future where our kids will keep pushing out new boundaries of sensationalism in order to build up their own personal brands.

Social media makes it all so easy – it’s not difficult for him to imagine a world without norms and limits.

Of course, I’d say “C’mon, Jack, lighten up. There will always be standardized tests.”

But he has a point.

And to his credit, while he’d like for parents and educators to improve their awareness and play more significant roles in slowing down this trend, he knows we have other challenges.

He doesn’t just blissfully toss this problem our way.

He offers a suggestion for us marketing and communication types:

Don’t give up on developing and using traditional marketing and media.

Find new ways to blend the tried and true with the latest social media tools and channels.

Then share the new ways you’ve found with the “touchscreen” kids.

Jack would say this is only “common sense.”

Sure seems like an innovation to me, though.

Tom Page, SCN
carWed 09:04:13



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