In 1996 Bill Gates wrote an essay saying “content is king.” Although Gates was not talking about content in the web 2.0 era, he was on target. In recent years the trend for successful companies on the internet has been to create meaningful content that will lure and retain visitors to their site.
Here is Ice Giant’s take on content for the web:
“They want information. Their ultimate objective might be to buy that solar-powered hairdryer you’re selling, but before they hand over the cash, they need to know what it is, how it works, and why they should buy it from you instead of Amazon. And that’s exactly where content comes in.”
“Content informs your visitor; it builds a rapport with them; it conveys your website’s reputability. And if you’ve written, and structured your content right, it also gives your visitor a load of ideas how he or she can put whatever it is you’re selling to new, interesting, and essential uses. In short, content is crucial for turning a visitor into a customer.”
One of the challenges for education is creating meaningful and engaging assignments. The recent shift to Project Based Learning (PBL) as an educational model gives teachers, along with the 1:1 movement, a platform to create content that engages our students to fashion meaningful content in their assignments. We must look at developing our curriculum so that we can take advantage of 1:1 to focus on creating meaningful content.
For example, imagine you are teaching about the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979. Traditional classrooms would put the teacher at the center of the learning by spewing the data to the students, students taking notes, and then taking a test. In the PBL model, students in the classroom are made aware of American hostages in Iran. What is the responsibility of the American Government to those Americans? What are the government’s options to free the hostages? In this model, students would be at the center of the learning, providing options and solutions to real world problems. There is currently an American hostage in Cuba. Students could develop content that would provide solutions for returning the hostage back to America. The Iran Hostage Crisis gives us a framework in which to begin the conversation.
Bill Gates introduced us to “content is king.” It is time for us to introduce this phrase to our students.
What type of assignment can you create in your classroom that will engage students to create meaningful content?