While I do have a pretty good understanding of how the Net works and how sites and search tools interact, there’s been some new learning going on over the last few months.
Most of the new stuff that I’m picking up deals with the concept of Search Engine Optimization (known as SEO). In the business world, SEO basically focuses on ways to connect people with products so that businesses makes money.
In our world, we’ve been talking about SEO as a way to connect with other people as well as appropriate educational content. And while it’s been useful for that, I’m beginning to see some connections between SEO principles and the classroom.
The whole idea is still a bit fuzzy in my mind but it seems as if there’s some overlap between SEO principles and quality instruction.
Quality Site Content
SEO experts talk about providing frequently updated, quality content that people want to read. In the world of the web, it all starts with stuff that people like.
Translated into the education world? Teachers need to be current in their content area and that content needs to be presented in an engaging way.
Lots of people create content, it’s the organizing of the content that becomes key.
Education world? We need to use tools and strategies like Understanding by Design and Differentiated Instruction to ensure that our quality content is delivered in a way that makes sense to kids.
SEO wonks spend tons of time making sure that specific keywords get special attention. But they often forget how those keywords can become meaningless unless they fit into a bigger picture.
Education connection? Teachers can spend too much time on minutiae – dates of battles, middle names of presidents, the largest 250 bodies of water in the US – and lose sight of larger concepts such as people move for specific reasons and democracy is a good thing.
To connect people with their business, SEO folks work to create links between their sites and others. The more links and trackbacks, the better.
Teachers need to be doing the same thing. We need to find ways to link to stuff and people and content and tools that live outside out classrooms. The more links we can make, the better.
Be patient and don’t forget the people
The most important thing that the SEO experts often suggest is that you should never forget that people are the purpose. All of the great content, the links and the useful keywords won’t mean anything if you forget why you’re doing all this work in the first place. The process is important but the end user, the actual person on the other end of the line, is the reason for what we do.
I think it’s also easy to sometimes get too caught up in the process of teaching. We need to remember the end user of everything we do. All of the great curriculum and engaging strategies won’t make a difference unless we actually care about the kids we see everyday. They’ll know when we don’t!
I still need to play around with this a bit more but it’s starting to make sense. Curious to hear what others might be thinking.