An Apple for teacher?

To those of us who remember school as a distinctly low-tech experience, it may come as some surprise that teachers are turning increasingly toward digital content to make education more engaging and effective.

A report on THE Journal highlights a recently-released study showing that more than 75% of K-12 teachers were using digital tools in the classroom last year, up from 69% in 2008. Meanwhile, 72% of teachers reported they stream or download content from the Internet, up from 65% in 2008.

According to the study, “A majority of preK-12 teachers indicated they strongly agree that TV and video content is more effective when it is integrated with other instructional resources in the classroom. A majority of teachers are more likely to use five- to 10-minute video segments rather than entire programs. This is one indication that teachers are becoming more strategic in their selections and targeting use for specific purposes.” Or it could just mean that they are reacting to the fact that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.

This means that companies will need to rely on digital content more and more as the next generation graduates into the workforce.

Reprinted from the Zazoo blog


Google can’t do it all: a call for content curators

Reprinted from the Zazoo blog:

I have been reading quite a bit of late about the concept of content curation, a term coined by marketing strategist and blogger Rohit Bhargava to describe the role of “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online. The most important component of this job is the word ‘continually.’… (It is s)omeone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward.”

He writes that, “In the near future, experts predict that content on the web will double every 72 hours. The detached analysis of an algorithm will no longer be enough to find what we are looking for…. The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume and take on the role of citizen editors, publishing highly valuable compilations of content created by others. In time, these curators will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers – creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.”

Robin Good writes on the Master New Media blog, “I think, that at least for now, curating content is the one thing that Google can’t take your place in doing. When it comes to researching, selecting, picking, editing, juxtaposing, illustrating, complementing, referencing, crediting, commenting and introducing, Google can just pack its stuff and go home.

“….Unless there is a growing number of active newsmasters, content curators and editors/publishers checking, digesting, filtering, grouping and organizing information inside vertical information silos you will be either submerged by information or you will be left behind when it comes to staying on top of the information you need to operate in your field.

“Business-wise, content curators could also offer an interesting marketing opportunity and a new business model that makes a lot of sense to me.”

Meanwhile, Australian digital recruiter David Jackson writes on the Digital Ministry website, “There are already a few people performing this task for companies, and it will only grow in importance. The problem I see with content curating is that most companies find it hard to place much value on the role. Although it requires a skill set that combines the sharp mind of a research analyst with the communications flair of a journalist and the commercial nous of a marketer, curating content, like creating content, often attracts a wage more akin to a junior administrator.”

Links on this topic:

Getting digital wrong

Lee Huang has written an article for the ClickZ Network which does a good job of outlining the barriers to companies going digital. He writes:

“An organization is a living, breathing, dynamic ecosystem comprised of people with different roles, compensation plans, career goals, motivations, work ethics, and tolerance levels for change. It has many levels of business processes, decision-making, and bureaucracy. Although companies won’t admit it, there are always competing and conflicting business goals within the same company between different business units, divisions, and personnel.

“When a company injects ‘digital’ into an established corporate structure, major organizational changes must take place within the company. The companies that do digital well understand and implement changes to their corporate structure so they can fully embrace digital. Planning and implementing these changes are incredibly difficult because they affect every part of an organization’s ecosystem. To succeed and to stay in business, you’ve got to do it.

“Here are the key mistakes that companies make.

  • Don’t have the right people, skills, positions, and compensation plans.
  • Don’t have the right organizational structure in place to effectively leverage digital and to integrate it with existing business units.
  • Have the wrong people making digital/interactive decisions.
  • Haven’t updated existing business processes or created necessary new ones.
  • Don’t have any change management initiatives.
  • Don’t have executive support.

“This results in:

  • Poorly designed, watered-down digital products that have no compelling, differentiating value proposition due to not having the right skills and having the wrong people make decisions.
  • Being late to market due to bureaucracy and inability to move at digital speed.
  • Lost customers.
  • Missed revenue opportunities and revenue loss.
  • Loss of market leadership and/or market share.
  • Confusion and low morale across organization.
  • Frustration and conflicts between colleagues.
  • Staff defections. “

I look forward to reading his next column in this series and see his views on how to get it right.