What do you get when you bring students together for an integrative, engaging workshop centered on the power and responsibility of content creation and social media? Tons of new perspectives, hands-on learning, and opportunities to see beyond the classroom. That’s exactly what happened at this year’s Content Generation Workshop–an immersive annual event that gives students a unique opportunity to learn and build their skills.
Now in its fourth year, the Content Generation Workshop, held on October 18th, welcomed approximately 200 in-person attendees to a unique space adjacent to Memorial Stadium on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s main campus. Hundreds more attended virtually, tuning into the event’s livestream from 18 states to hear speakers and join in the fun of real-time content creation challenges.
New Perspectives, Powerful Insights
The event, hosted by school social media management platform Class Intercom, aims to challenge student thinking and provide perspective and insights on content creation and social media. Aligned with the company’s five pedagogy pillars, it focuses specifically on: storytelling, skill building, student voice, digital citizenship, and community.
Speakers are challenged to explore how today’s content is created, distributed, and utilized by a diverse range of individuals, organizations, and businesses. They discussed topics like personal branding, messaging, reach and impact, engagement, monetizing content, metrics, and storytelling from the standpoint of their unique experiences and industries. This year’s speakers included the likes of Emmy-award winning sports reporter Erin Sorensen, whose session highlighted the importance of media literacy in a time where a single post can go viral in seconds. Executive producer, author, and filmmaker Kristin Sukraw spoke on the power and responsibility of storytelling, providing some insightful direction for interviewing subjects and telling their stories. The event’s keynote speaker was Noah Young, something of an unlikely farmer who has amassed over one million followers on social media, where his content covers the unique (and often quite entertaining) experiences farmers have with animals, crops, weather, and more. His discussion balanced the power of social media influence and branding with the tactics and metrics that make it these platforms especially powerful for brands, organizations, and individuals.
The Content Generation Workshop is uniquely designed to empower student content creators–something that’s at the core of Class Intercom’s technology and its work with schools nationwide. Students spend a full day immersed in content creation, workshopping with professional creators of all types and collaborating in real-time alongside other students to put what they’re learning into practice.
Schools select teams of eight to 10 students to attend the workshop. Some are exploring the possibility of engaging students in creating social media content for their school or district’s channels, but most schools that attend are already putting students in the drivers seat.
“These schools are typically empowering students through a designated extracurricular content team or as part of a class like journalism or English,” explains Courtney Strayer, customer success coordinator at Class Intercom. “They are able to use technology to put systems and processes in place that get students involved in capturing and submitting content for approval without losing control and oversight. The result is a more dynamic and equitable picture of student experiences and the school’s overall culture. These schools are able to tell their stories and convey the work they’re doing to the community,” she adds, noting that students also benefit immensely. “At the same time, students are gaining firsthand exposure to concepts like marketing, branding, communications, copywriting, photography, design, and other key college and career skills.”
The experience provides exposure to social media, digital media, and content creation that goes beyond the students’ day-to-day use of these platforms. “Social media is an important avenue for businesses and organizations of all types and sizes,” explains Class Intercom President Dr. Jill Johnson, who spent 30-plus years as a teacher and administrator before heading up the Lincoln-based EdTech company that has quickly grown to serve schools and districts nationwide.
“One of our key objectives in hosting these students is to provide real, hands-on exposure to those possibilities. At the same time, we want them to see how digital media and social media are evolving–because those evolutions can happen quickly. What’s not changing is the power and responsibility we all have in creating and publishing content,” she adds noting digital citizenship as a crucial piece of the puzzle. “Providing students with first-hand experiences creating meaningful content for a brand, cause, or organization (like their school or a group within their school), gives them invaluable exposure. The Content Generation Workshop is all about empowering them to do it.”
Awards & Opportunities Ahead
After a day of real-time Quick Hit Challenges that gave way to a number of winners, student teams were tasked with a take-home challenge centered on making an impact with an opportunity to win swag and gift cards. The challenge is a bit of a teaser for the Content Generation Awards, which will go live this coming spring–providing students with an opportunity to compete for scholarships and other prizes.
With this year’s Workshop in the books, the Class Intercom team is already eyeing 2024 and will look to announce an official date for next year’s workshop in the spring. To stay informed, be sure to subscribe to receive updates from Class Intercom below.