[image from Rajesh Setty]

Nice piece on EdWeek’s  “Leader-talk” blog, entitled New relationships with content.  The author begins telling us that students believe, mistakenly, that reading and writing must be about facts to be memorized.

Angela Meiers, always brilliant, labels this “Hear it and Hold it,” and correctly sees it as outmoded learning technique.  She explains this “passive reception” dominated in too many schools, and says:

Knowledge and information then wasn’t something socially constructed. Knowledge was gained by memorization. In your seat. Quietly. Alone. Received passively.  Hear It – Hold It. There wasn’t a lot of hear it and work it out, or hear it andexperiment, or hear it and collaborate, communicate, cultivate.  Hear it and Hold it.  Hope you didn’t miss it. A top-to-bottom, no-student-input, sequence-and-order, hold-your-questions-please method.

But in a new century we must have a new approach to reading and writing, because “outside of the classroom, “content” is positioned in a drastically different way. We are simultaneously filters, producers, and co-creators of content. Successful producers of content must do more than simply churn out meaningless facts and ideas.”

More than content relaying, writing must inspire, must intrigue, must challenge, must engage, must transform.   “Success is determined by how your audience responds.”    Every piece of writing must “consider, honor, and believe in its audience.  I have written here on this blog about the essential role of publishing in 21st century learning; that we should use blogs and other tools to empower students to share their learning with real-world audiences that will be influenced and affected by this writing.

This new approach empowers students to be users and actors in their learning.  As Meiers writes, now instead of hearing and holding, we are having students questioning, answering, and acting.

The posting also redirects people to a fascinating piece by Rajesh Shetty, about how people respond to content– a list that could be, as suggested on EdWeek’s blog, used even as an online content publishing rubric.  From Shetty:

So, here are the nine ways your audience will respond to your online content:

  1. Spam: If your content does not provide a reasonable ROII (return-on-investment for an interaction) for the reader or is self-serving or simply useless, the reader will mark it as spam. Posting something that may be assessed, as “spam” is the fastest way to losing credibility.
  2. Skip: The reader makes an assessment that he or she won’t lose much by reading it. In this case, the reader has not written you off yet but if you consistently create content that is worth “skipping,” the reader might write you off.
  3. Scan: The reader thinks there are only a few parts that are of relevance and wants to get right to the core of the content and skip the rest.
  4. Stop: The reader is touched by the article and stops to think about the article, it’s relevance and what it means to him or her personally and professionally.
  5. Save: The content is so good that the reader might want to re-visit this multiple times.
  6. Shift: The article is transformational. The reader is so deeply affected (in a positive way) by the article that it shifts some of their values and beliefs. In other words, this piece of writing will transform the reader and make him or her grow.
  7. Send: The content is not only useful to the reader but also to one or more people in the reader’s network. The reader simply emails the article or a link to it to people that he or she cares.
  8. Spread: The reader finds the article fascinating enough to spread it to anyone and everyone via a blog, twitter or the social networks that he or she belongs.
  9. Subscribe: This is the ultimate expression of engagement and a vote of confidence that you will continue to provide great content. When the reader wants to continue listening to your thoughts, he or she will subscribe.