Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Merging Multimedia with Magnet School Marketing

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Merging Multimedia with Magnet School Marketing

Article excerpt

We've all heard of the 3 Rs in education. This article will discuss the 3 Ms--multimedia, marketing and magnet schools. How do they work together to increase enrollment in schools that promote voluntary racial integration?

The magnet program of San Diego City Schools uses multimedia in "TV commercials" and video production to market our schools. We advertise through public service announcements currently running on TV in San Diego county and through recruitment videos used at individual school sites.

What are the benefits of using multimedia in magnet school marketing? First, multimedia is eye-catching and attention-grabbing. It looks modern, and it looks classy. Multimedia is, quite simply, a great marketing tool.

Second, because of our funding source, we cannot hire outside production people; we have to create all media ourselves--and when we started, we were certainly not professional video people! In an attempt to solve the media needs of our magnet schools, we bought a self-contained desktop multimedia system, which include animation and video editing capabilities. This system enables a single person to produce all of our multimedia marketing materials. In times of shrinking shcool personnel, we have created, in effect, a one-person multimedia production studio.

Third, multimedia for school marketing has proved to be extremely cost-effective. This outcome surprised us. Our district has positioned itself to get nearly $10 of advertising capability for every one dollar it spends, because the only major fixed cost of our multimedia marketing campaign is my salary. We'll discuss more about cost savings to the district later.

The 3 Ms

Magnet Schools. San Diego City Schools, covering the major part of metropolitan San Diego, Calif., is the eighth largest urban school district in the U.S. The district has a student population of over 123,000. Of the 155 schools in the district, 46 are magnet schools.

The goals of the magnet program are to reduce racial isolation and to improve academic achievement. Besides its regular academic program, each magnet school has a special focus that "attracts" students from other neighborhoods. Students spanning gender, race, economic level and divergent neighborhoods go to school together to work in an area of commonly shared interests.

Magnet schools receive extra funding that provides students with special teachers, special facilities and special equipment. Still, some magnets have trouble attracting sufficient numbers of students from other neighborhoods. What does a school do when it needs to recruit non-resident students--and is not succeeding at it?

Marketing. Magnet schools use a basketful of methods to recruit students. School personnel run ads, pass out brochures at community events, speak at target schools, mail out flyers and brochures, participate in telemarketing campaigns, invite students and their parents to visit, generate press releases, and, in general, get as much favorable publicity as possible.

Two recruitment tools are video and TV commercials. But producing commercials and professional-looking videos is well beyond the ability--in terms of experience, time and equipment--of most schools. Our central office got into media production in direct response to the schools' needs for commercials and videos.

Multimedia. Why put together a system that combines video, narration, music, ambient sound, graphics, text and animation? We wanted a marketing tool that allows us to tell our story our way. We wanted our commercials and videos to be exciting and motivating and to appear contemporary and state-of-the-art.

In short, we wanted to combine the best features of multimedia production. After all, we are asking parents to remove their child from the neigborhood school, put that child on a bus, and send him or her to a school across town to get a special benefit from that school's magnet program. …

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