TV ads have a new requirement of storytelling in order to be successful on the social web. This means that the longevity of a tv ad has greatly shifted too. The media spend is no longer limited to a campaign but rather offers opportunities for creating a series of related tv ads that are hosted in YouTube for viewing by future audiences. The message is no longer limited to certain placements and airing times. The web allows a 24/7 window of opportunity for marketers willing to extend the traditional paradigm. 

This is a huge leap that some brands can't make because of a fear of losing control over the message. Placing a video online provides the general public with the opportunity to edit the message. The social media marketing industry refers to this as user generated content. If it's done in poor taste then it could become a PR nightmare. I lead Dell's advocacy program called the Dell Rockstars and I have been investigating ways that we can get more brand advocates to create content for support and product feedback.

The following video was brought to my attention when I referenced how successful Dell's TV ad about Annie was on YouTube. I reached out to the teacher on Twitter and asked for an interview to find out what motivated him to translate how the story in Dell's TV ad explained competency based education.

Dell TV Ad Translates a New Teaching Methodology

Ryan Friederich is a second year social studies teacher at Spirit Lake High School in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Ryan provided the following background information, "Last year the freshman team (Geography, Earth Science and English Language Arts) was approached about piloting a new course that was completely competency and project based for the 2012-13 school year. Competency based education abandons the "traditional" approach to assessing students and makes it outcomes based; grading students on their ability to apply and not just memorize content. The reason our class is a pilot class is because the students are proving competency in content areas through a project based and interdisciplinary environment."

Ryan had seen the original Annie commercial on TV one night last summer while he was working on developing competencies for the upcoming course. He said, "I instantly saw the correlation between Annie and the class we were developing. Annie was working on an project that was interesting to her, she was collaborating with her peers and the community, and in the end she had a project that she presented to an authentic audience! This is exactly what we want our students to be practicing this year!"

The video was shown to all the freshman students and their parents during orientation before the school year. Ryan stated that, "The main purpose of the video was to show parents an example of how we were going to get their students to think this year. We don't believe in the value of a 50 minute lecture during class time every period, but instead we want the students to be solving problems and making a difference in something that is important to them."

Ryan said, 'Revising the Dell video was a way to show the parents in our community how we were changing education!"

Ryan's team also made an infographic to assist students and parents in understanding the new course:



Impact of Technology on Education

Computers were first coming into schools in the early 1980's when I was a junior in high school. Now that I've fully dated myself, I will say that I recall being one of the first in the school system to get dial-up at home when I was student teaching in 1995. When I was teaching there was a central lab and a computer on each teacher's desk primarily used for word processing and maintaining grade books. So I asked Ryan how technology is presently being used by his profession and his students.

Ryan said:

"Technology has not only impacted my profession, it has changed my profession! As a teacher technology has taken all the content that used to be covered in a daily lecture and has put in in the hands of my students. My students no longer need me to be the "sage on the stage" but instead I have morphed into the "guide on the side." I constantly remind the students that most of them can reach into their pocket and take out their cell phones which contain 1000X times the information I could ever "teach" them. Our school is a 1:1 school so the students have access to the internet every single day with their laptops.

With the technological resources available to the students my job as a teacher is to connect main ideas and get students genuinely interested in what they are studying. Our school district stresses that we want our students to become 21st century, future focused learners. We want our students to work in jobs that are growing globally, such as Dell. We have connected with rapidly growing local businesses and found out what they look for in employees. Businesses want young men and women who are able to problem solve and be creative, not just ones who can regurgitate facts and dates."

My last question for Ryan was, "What's your advice for a parent that wants to encourage their children to solve problems like Annie did. How can they empower them?"

Ryan provided some excellent advice:

"My advice for parents that want to encourage their children to be problem solvers is to be involved and allow their students to constantly question. Parents also need to allow their children to think for themselves. We need our parents to understand that education is changing and the traditional way of teaching is fading. Most of the parents today went to school with lectures, textbooks and worksheets. If we want our students to get jobs in a competitive world we need to start challenging them to collaborate, create, and be productive/accountable at a younger age.

Empowering students, especially at the high school level, can be tough. It is important that as teachers we can mold our curriculum in a way that aligns with state/national standards but also meets student interests. It is also important that we allow students to create their own projects (like Annie wanting to fly) and work on a self paced schedule. Education isn't one-size-fits-all, and not all students want to learn the same exact way!"

Thank you Ryan for sharing your innovative approach to educating your students and parents on YouTube and also through this interview. At Dell one of our core values is to do more and you've certainly 

We are glad that Annie's story inspired you and provided you with a vehicle to teach your students and parents about your vision. This quote by Michael Dell summarizes our brand promise, "Technology has always been about enabling human potential."