Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Being Heard Above the Noise

This is pretty much shameless self-promotion, but I will put a teacher spin on it.  When I introduce lessons, especially at the grade 6 - 12 level, I often talk about how technology makes things easier.  However, the problem is that we don't get jobs doing easy things.  So the question becomes, as technology makes many things easier, what's still difficult?  I believe in general it is...
  • Finding new ideas.
  • Making new things.
  • Attracting attention.
And that's how I sum up the 21st Century Learning Skills -- Finding, processing and presenting information.  

This post is about the third item on the list.  How does one attract attention in a world saturated with information?  This makes a great challenge to bring up as the class plans the next project based learning unit.  How can we reach a bigger audience than we did last time?

Well, when it comes to a message or a product, there's no substitute for quality.  But we all know my good idea might not find its way to light before your very similar and equally good idea does.  So there's a lot to presentation and getting the word out there.  I have learned a lot about this from regularly reading Michael Hyatt's blog.  

Finding connections within a niche market and getting support from leaders within it is key.  A couple months back I did some promotions for a game I made and this week it was reviewed by someone with more pull than I have.  He posted a review for my game King for a Day here.  (There's my shameless self-promotion.)  I'm glad it received some praise at that site and the author was kind enough to post the review on several other outlets.

Of course, that's good for his own site as well.  To return the favor, I do strongly suggest you check out the Father Geek site.    Even if a lot of the reviews are for things that don't interest you, I bet you have some students who would love to play with or at least find out about the products.  It's worth skimming over from time to time.

So I remind students to create quality work as judged by their target audience and their own design goals.  Also, get it in the hands of people who will spread the word.  Finally, return the favor as best you can.  None of this guarantees a product will hit it big, but it is the way of our information rich, socially connected world.  Even if you don't come up with the next big thing in your niche market you will certainly make some good friends (though you may never see them face to face) and you'll enjoy the journey.

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