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CMC2020 Digital Education insights Events Networking Newsletter

Highlights from CMC 2020: Partnerships are key to quality education in Lockdown

In this blog mini-series, Hannie gives her top takeaways from the Children’s Media Conference, including insights from the BBC, Black Lives Matter, Changemakers, Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, and the Moomins.

The Children’s Media Conference is the UK’s largest gathering of children’s media experts and enthusiasts, drawing a crowd from children’s TV and film, radio, gaming, publishing, and tech. This year, Oriel Square’s Hannie Kirkham produced a session for the CMC’s Learning Strand, focusing on the ways in which brands have responded to the Covid-19 lockdown and what that has meant for their educational content and engagement.

The Conference, usually hosted across several venues in Sheffield, has honed the balance of insightful panels, collaboration opportunities and a good dose of fun. Although this year has forced the production team to migrate the conference online and explore a whole new way of working, they have still managed to incorporate all of those elements. This year’s content was also thoroughly relevant to current events and ongoing issues that are so prevalent for young people. 

Partnerships are key to quality education in Lockdown

Lockdown, Learning and Brands

Animal Jam is being used to connect children with their friends, whilst educating them about animals. 

I had the pleasure of producing a session on Lockdown, Learning and Brands, working alongside the Executive Producer, Ahrani Logan, CEO and Co-founder of Peapodicity. Moderated by the edtech and edutainment expert Lucy Gill, the discussion focussed on how organisations have had to react to the lockdown – how their brands have changed in terms of their content and audience engagement – and what they expect over the next few months as the lockdown eases. 

There were recurring themes, like the challenge from the volume of users and how technology can be used as an aid for children’s wellbeing. Clark Stacey, Co-Founder and CEO of Wildworks, spoke about how Animal Jam is being used to connect children with their friends, whilst educating them about animals. 

“What we’re seeing during lockdown is what we typically see on a day with a heavy snowstorm … This has been the longest snow day ever for us and what we’re seeing is kids using Animal Jam to keep in touch with friends.”

Clark Stacey, Co-Founder and CEO of Wildworks

Positive outcomes

Brands have been able to use digital technology to engage their audience in new ways.

Brands have been able to use digital technology to engage their audience in new ways, reaching more learners through initiatives such as Guinness World Records’ record breaking art class. Similarly, BBC Bitesize has created a hugely successful series of live lessons to support curriculum learning. These brands have been working in partnership with educators, education providers and platforms to create content, and this shone out as one of the most positive outcomes from the lockdown.

“Teachers have been the stars of the [Bitesize Daily] show. It’s been wonderful to showcase the wonderful teaching skills we’ve got across this country, and to mix that with big BBC names [such as David Attenborough] has given it a wonderful flavour.” 

Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education

She also highlighted that working with educational companies like Pearson, White Rose Maths and other content creators such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, has helped them create such a “strong education piece”.

Likewise, Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records, spoke about working with new platforms. The success of Museum at Home has in part been due to understanding TikTok as a platform so well, and his advice for anyone looking to work with new platforms or partners is to make sure you fully understand them:

“Get to know the platforms and platform managers very well, so that you’re working with them to provide content they want to promote.”

Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records

If you’re interested in finding out how Oriel Square can deliver or help you plan effective and engaging online conferences, training sessions, events or communities, please get in touch.  You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn @OrielSquare.