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Some of our most exciting work has been in the field of education, thanks in large part to one of our earliest clients Lisa O’Masta, who was at eInstruction and is now heading up marketing at SchoolNet. Lisa saw the value of social media and video for teachers early on and put her boundless energy into launching what has become the annual eIMakeover contest back in 2007. With over 900 inspiring classroom videos and 80,000 participants, that program has become somewhat of a social media juggernaut in the education space. The new guard at eInstruction is keeping it rolling, taking it to new levels.

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Creative teachers and inspired children can accomplish great things.  Check out this little ditty from Rick Colosi’s 1st grade class back in the 2007 contest (before eInstruction bought Interwrite Learning). My kids still sing this tune 

It’s easy to see why education is a ripe playground for contests. Kids have tremendous appetite for new technology, and love to build and experiment with the Internet and applications that allow them to get creative. Resource-strapped teachers are hard-wired to want to bring the latest learning tools and experiences to their children. A web-based, social contest provides a framework for teachers and students to collaborate with technology in a fun and educational way, with the upside of potentially securing game-changing resources for their classroom.

If the contest is well constructed, teachers would probably participate for relatively small prizes…over the years we’ve gotten more than a few emails that say something to the effect of “Sure we wish we’d won, but this was an incredible way for my students and me to have fun, collaborate, and learn together.”

Fortunately  there is no shortage of quality application, hardware, and services providers who are eager to get their products into teachers’ hands, and marketers can usually come up with a really compelling prize package from a range of co-sponsors (if they don’t want to go it alone).

Finally, we’ve talked before about how causes drive contests. Kids and classrooms provide a built-in cause; when the school stands to benefit, the entire community will rally behind it, including the local press.

So there you have it, all of the contest success markers in one place: a motivated audience, a worthy cause, and a great prize. The onus is still on the marketer to come up with a winning concept…fortunately most marketers are super creative. A contest agency with great software and plenty of experience can help you channel your creative ideas into a formula that will exceed expectations…yours, and your customers’.