The modern college campus is evolving. Quickly. Smartphones, tablets, apps, wireless and cloud connectivity are continuing to play larger roles in classrooms and dorms, and in some cases, are powering entirely virtual campuses. As a result, students are receiving, interpreting, sharing and creating information via mediums and methodologies that simply did not exist ten years ago.
Technology is shifting the definition of how we learn, and in doing so, opening up the door to many new and exciting opportunities within the world of education. On a macro level, two great examples of the shift in education are Kahn Academy and edX.
What started in 2004 as a Doodle based online tutoring session in mathematics, Khan Academy blossomed into a YouTube hosted, comprehensive collection of online video tutorials across a range of academic subjects.
“I passionately believe that the Khan Academy is a tool that can empower at least an approximate model of what the future of education should look like—a way of combining the art of teaching with the science of presenting information and analyzing data, of delivering the clearest, most comprehensive, and most relevant curriculum at the lowest possible cost.” – Salman Khan
With a goal of educating 1,000,000,000 people worldwide, MIT, Harvard and UC Berkley have all committed resources to offer up their Ivy-league caliber curriculum for free online. Described as “the single biggest change in education since the printing press,” by Anant Agarwal, President of edX, the program is redefining the college classroom and potentially shepherding in the next phase of higher education.
Ok, it may work in education, but what about for brands?
What models like Khan Academy and edX are underscoring is that technology, and the ever-increasing access that it is providing to consumers, is the ultimate enabler. Advances in streaming video, the ubiquity of social media and the ease of access to video on demand have accelerated the speed at which traditional “offline” experiences are becoming available as virtual experiences. Examine how advances in technology can create or duplicate experiences that were formally an in-person only engagement point for your brand.
Who is doing it well?
State Farm’s sponsorship of Coachella in partnership with YouTube this past April was a shining example of leveraging technology to offer consumers an online experience that was formerly available only ” in-person.” Main stages were broadcast live via streaming concert footage and Statefarm integrated a real-time Instagram stream into their Facebook page to provide a glimpse of what it all looked like from an insider’s perspective.
Another great example is the Obama campaign’s recent use of Google+ to host an online hangout with American voters. The virtual town hall connected the Obama brand directly with his audience and in doing so, generated a lot of publicity coverage – much more than a traditional town hall forum would have gathered.