Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Free Digital Content
By Barbara Bray    July 15, 2009 -- 12:02 PM

The Internet, social networking, and Web 2.0 tools are changing the way we deal with content. In reading Ron Millerís article on the Free Content Conundrum, I can see that publishers like newspapers and even textbook companies are trying to figure out their new business model.

David Meerman Scott states in his books "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" and "World Wide Rave" that the rules are different on the web. He says that good content does it naturally because when people come to your site, the popularity of this content rises, it raises your search engine ranking. Then, even more people find you, and they see what other things you do while theyíre there. This can drive sales, raise your company profile and position it as an expert on whatever you are writing about.

If this is the case, then teachers and professional developers need to publish more and share their content on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Hereís the issue that I see happening soon:

If everyone is a producer and shares everything with everyone, how can you assure quality? Does the author just write and publish without concerns about the content if it is authentic, been cited, or is even correct?

I saw this coming. Everyone is an expert on something and the Internet is a prime place for anyone anywhere to become a teacher, provide courses, write articles, put up pictures, be a journalist, etc. Unfortunately, the user may not have the skills and knowledge to discern that the author on the blog is not plagiarizing another person. Itís so easy to download an image or article from the Internet and change it to make it your own without giving the original author credit.

Who knows that author of that article is even the original author?

I predict a large increase in people setting up their own storefronts and businesses online without help. They will spend their own time and money thinking they can do this all alone. They will try to market their business without marketing skills.

I predict educators that have been laid off or recently retired will be setting up online courses using Web 2.0 tools thinking that everyone will want to sign up but how do they find the people who might want to take their courses? There are so many questions that they have to think about but may not know what to do or who to ask.
  • How do I create and faclitate an online course?
  • Are people taking courses now?
  • What courses do people want?
  • Do I focus on a specific tool, topic, or theory?
  • How do I show that I am an expert in these focus areas?
I predict many people using their life savings to try to make a living in the new gold rush: the Internet. They are creating new companies with ideas and plans that they think no one else has ever thought of. I hate to break it to you, but there are no new ideas. I was at NECC in DC and listened to bloggers talk about making the new system where you can do everything all in one place. Google is creating enterprise systems. Yahoo has a portal. My eCoach has been doing this since 1998. Itís a matter of putting your heads together and working as a team. Partnering with the right people. Figuring out what tools work and not just use them because they are free. Free is not always free.

If you want to create and publish content, then join a community where you can collaborate and learn from others. Donít reinvent the wheel! Learn how the wheel works and be part of this caravan where everyone on board benefits.

Categories: "Digital Content" "Content" "Marketing" "Online Courses" "Community" "My Ecoach"

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By Teresa Roebuck      July 22, 2009 -- 09:49 PM
Go, Barbara! That is why I will be partnering with My eCoach for the Global Association for Teaching Excellence to provide a professional learning community for the 21st Century... a GATEway for peer coaching, classroom praxis and technology innovation. coming soon!

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