Archive for the 'AEP Summit' Category

Building Strong Relationships Between Organizations and Independent Contractors

In the AEP blog series, Ask an Expert, experts offer their advice on the most pressing issues facing the educational resource industry. During the 2009 AEP Summit session, “Publishers, Developers, and School Districts: Change Agents in Transformation,” Randi Brill of Quarasan! and Keith Garton of Garton Media Strategy discussed the key role independent contractors play in educational publishing. Here, Kevin Dwyer of Strategic Learning Designs presents his 12 keys to maintaining a strong relationship between publishers and contractors.

Solving business problems that lie outside an organization’s core competencies with outside help is more common than ever before. The trend towards smaller organizations complemented by temporary, outsourced talent has generated a pool of highly skilled professionals available and ready to work. In fact, many AEP members are independent contractors, some newly so. I thought it might be helpful to tease out some of the elements of a strong business relationship.

Like many members of AEP, I’ve worked on both sides of this relationship. I’ve hired contractors, and I’ve been hired as a contractor. I’ve had mostly great experiences as an independent, working with terrific leaders at all levels of organizations. Based on my experiences, the decision to hire an independent contractor / vendor for a short project or for a long-term assignment is as important as hiring any other key employee. Let me suggest some things to consider in building an effective and healthy relationship between contractors and employers. Continue reading ‘Building Strong Relationships Between Organizations and Independent Contractors’


How Are Stimulus Funds Impacting the Education Market?

Sec. Duncan has recently announced plans to release a second wave of stimulus funds early, but the Wall Street Journal article, “A Hard Lesson for Teachers,” (Aug. 11, 2009) shows that the first round of funding hasn’t made a huge impact in terms of teachers keeping their jobs. In fact, the article cites NEA figures that almost 100,000 teachers won’t have jobs in the upcoming school year. Moreover, teacher colleges are reporting a downturn in applications.

Even with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the deep education cuts shouldn’t be a surprise. As Dr. Richard Sims Chief Economist for the NEA reminded AEP Summit attendees in his session, “Economic Forecast for the Education Market,” education is mostly state and locally funded—specifically by property, sales, and income taxes. And more important, education is fighting for state funds with health care and corrections. Until the local real estate and job markets improve, education will not recover. Continue reading ‘How Are Stimulus Funds Impacting the Education Market?’

Learning Platforms for the 21st Century and Beyond

The 2009 AEP Summit session “Learning Platforms for the 21st Century and Beyond,” presented three different cutting-edge technologies that could be used to deliver content to students. Jeff Keltner from Google, Laura Porco from, and Michael Riordan from the Open Publishing Lab at Rochester Institute of Technology discussed why classroom technology is 10 years behind the consumer world and how their products could be used in the education market.

All speakers agreed that the students are the biggest driving force behind advancing the technology in the classroom. Keltner said that for every generation, technology is what is invented after the students were born. Reflecting the advancements of iPhones, laptops, and social media sites, students expect their education to be mobile, use multimedia, and have the ability to involve the community. Riordan concurred that students are asking their teachers to use educational technology that lets them learn together; they want teachers to abandon podium-style lectures for a dialogue. Continue reading ‘Learning Platforms for the 21st Century and Beyond’

Mining Social Media for Market Intelligence

Janet Eden-Harris, Vice President, Marketing, J.D. Power and Associates, spoke at the 2009 AEP Summit about how publishers should gather information and interact with customers on blogs, chat rooms, and other forms of new media. Here are highlights from her session, “Mining Social Media for Market Intelligence.”

Using social media to gather market intelligence is about listening in on the conversation. Whereas the traditional method for gathering data was doing a survey—asking the customer questions and hoping they would answer back—new media marketing involves finding people who are already discussing your products or areas of interest online. The power has shifted to the consumers, and they want to tell you what they think on their own time and in their own way. Continue reading ‘Mining Social Media for Market Intelligence’

How Fair Use Enables Media Literacy to Thrive

When educational publishers hear the term fair use, they often brace themselves for the argument that teachers should be able to copy, post, and reuse the material without permission as long as it’s for educational use. However, when Renee Hobbs of Temple University’s Media Education Lab and Peter Jaszi of the Washington College of Law, American University, spoke at the 2009 AEP Summit they explained that while the principle of Fair Use is important in education and educational materials, it does not trump a publisher’s copyright. In fact, in their breakout session, “How Fair Use Enables Media Literacy to Thrive,” they presented a compelling case for how Fair Use can actually help publishers enhance their own products and resources.

Over the last 25-30 years copyright has become a dynamic field. Copyright lasts longer, covers more material, and the penalties are much higher. The courts–including the Supreme Court–have said, though, that what keeps copyright from impinging on free speech and the First Amendment is fair use.
Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows for the unlicensed, unauthorized, and uncompensated use of copyrighted material when the social and cultural benefits exceed the costs imposed by private parties. While there are four parts to fair use–nature of use, type of use, amount used, and the economic effect–Jaszi said that the courts really look for two critical standards when applying the concept. Continue reading ‘How Fair Use Enables Media Literacy to Thrive’

Digital Marketing Lessons from the Obama Campaign

Joe Rospars, a founding partner at Blue State Digital and New Media Director for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, spoke at the 2009 AEP Summit about how he and his team integrated digital marketing into the campaign to empower the online voting community. Using three guiding principles and adhering to three main missions, his team mobilized over 13 million supporters through their website and digital marketing strategy.

As the first new media director for a presidential campaign, Joe Rospars said that the key was that his department was integrated laterally into the organizational structure. They were not lumped in with the tech department–they were editors, marketers, designers, and writers focusing on the online community. More important, they worked directly with the offline marketing group, making sure that their efforts supported each other. Continue reading ‘Digital Marketing Lessons from the Obama Campaign’

Economic Forecast for the Education Market

During his presentation at the 2009 AEP Summit, Dr. Richard Sims, Chief Economist for the National Education Association, discussed the relationship between the economy and education, why education is being affected so drastically during this crisis, and what actions publishers should take. Here are highlights from his session.

First, we are not used to thinking of education as a marketplace–it is an ethereal, higher calling. This is especially true because during past economic downturns, education funding was not typically cut. However, as states encounter large shortfalls (California is looking at one of possibly 33.5%), education is competing for the remaining dollars with health care and corrections. Instructional materials are a small part of the education budget–one that politicians think they can cut. Continue reading ‘Economic Forecast for the Education Market’

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