The DeHavilland Blog

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Taking it to the streets

There’s a really interesting video making the rounds – take a look below:

This was produced by Washington Parents and Educators for Mathematically Correct Curriculum, a group dedicated to removing some sub-par math curricula from schools in that state. It’s a groundbreaking development in stakeholder/education relations for a number of reasons:

  • It’s an excellent use of the medium. There have been any number of articles, petitions, white papers and the like written on math instruction – but until this video appeared, nothing produced was able to make the issue so accessible to parents at large. This warm presentation, offering step-by-step walkthroughs of concrete examples, could only have been done via video.
  • It goes around traditional roadblocks. This group is speaking directly to other education consumers rather than trying to work within the public infrastructure of school board meetings and media pitches. They’re not trying to force change with a small group of concerned people: they’re building a movement, and as their numbers swell they’ll be much more formidable once they do hit the traditional channels.
  • It’s viral. As of today, this video has had nearly 40,000 views on YouTube, and I expect they’ll get much more as people spread the word. (I’ve had three different people forward it to me and seen it on several blogs and listservs already.) This exposure has cost the group nothing, and has significantly raised their profile and awareness of their issue.
  • It leads you to action. The video is only a starting point; it’s not intended to answer all you questions, just to make you want to learn more and to get involved. I’d love to know the impact on their site traffic; I expect it’s significant.
  • It’s cost-effective. What would it cost to produce a video like this? It could be done for nothing with the right volunteers (or next to nothing, if you needed a video pro rather than a parent with a good camcorder). Which means that, unlike printing newsletters or buying advertising, there’s no restrictions and no limits (except volunteer time) to creating effective communication tools to reach a desired audience.

A fascinating development for stakeholders who want to build a movement and drive change. Look for a lot more of this kind of communication to come.


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