Educational Technology and Public Relations

And another…

One noticeable area of weakness is the lack of a public relations plan.
… It’s extremely important that efforts be made to sell the plan to the public, which is one reason why the need for a PR person on the planning committee is important.

I think you’ve made an important point here. I have found something very like “public relations” to be critical to every educational technology position that I have held. Clear lines of communication to administration, teachers, and IT are critical, and it often came in handy to be able to articulate my position to parent groups (such as a school site council)… and to students on a daily basis. I have always spent a good deal of time on “publications” (electronic if I can help it) that explain why I am doing what I am doing, and these often have a tone very like marketing or political material.

However, a perspective I heard during one of my organizational leadership classes, which has stuck with me, is that we should never try to “sell” something to stakeholders… that this is a somewhat underhanded thing to do. We should instead be sure that they feel a truly participatory sense of ownership. This is a good deal more difficult to achieve, quite a bit more chaotic, but eventually much more powerful.

As in marketing, it is also very important to solicit input and feedback from stakeholders. I use surveys and focus groups often. Incidentally, a powerful and simple tool any educator (or researcher) can use to collect survey information is Survey Monkey, which can be used for free for up to 10 questions per survey and 100 responses per month… and the full account is only $20 per month and allows unlimited questions and up to 1000 responses before incurring an additional charge. Funny, I guess this is no longer worth sharing with Walden students… even the school is using it now… I just got one for the upcoming residency… asking which sessions we expect to attend, so that they can prepare the room reservations accordingly. :)