Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Concept Behind Succesful Websites

The best way to explain the boom of sites like eHow, Facebook and Twitter is through an analogy. According to a former college professor, In the Soviet Union under Stalin, approximately 70% of the farms were collectivized (run by the state). Thirty percent were private. Guess which sector produced more? The land that was privately owned. This same kind of thinking holds true for rental cars. When was the last time you saw someone Armor All the tires of their rental car?

The principle behind this is that people tend to have pride in things they own, or products that they have contributed to. No doubt this will be true in the classroom too. There is no “ownership” in reading a text book and answering the questions at the end of each chapter. But, if the student knows they can use this information to create something – like a blog or website, or contribute to a class wiki, they might just read the information.

I think the same goes for teaching too. If your principal or department chair were to write out your lesson plans and, therefore, take away your creativity, how many of you would be 100% motivated to carry that out? I believe sites like eHow are doing well because people can both make and see their contributions. It’s interactive. You can see the results almost immediately.