As an Educator, it is often quite common for many of us to get into a rut when it comes to our teaching pedagogy. As time passes, we often rely on years of experience to ‘wing’ it, rather than come up with a concrete plan for the year. However off late, I’ve been getting into Content Marketing as an editor for a small Chartered Accountancy business run by my sibling in Boston.
Now, what started off as a weekend gig, has consumed a large part of my life and its effects have started showing up in my teaching career as well. As a Content Marketer, I’ve learned that every bit of content you create has to be segmented into a funnel, there’s the Awareness Stage (when your prospect knows nothing), there’s the Interest Stage (where the prospect shows potential), there’s a Decision Stage (where the prospect knows enough to make a decision) and finally there’s the Action Stage (where the prospect acts on your content).
I wondered if applying this form of ‘Content Marketer thinking’ to my classroom teaching would have a beneficial effect. Well, I did, and the results were stellar and I’m going to tell you exactly what I did.
1. Planned my content with an editorial calendar.
I created an editorial calendar for every week in the classroom. This guided my day to day efforts and helped me avoid deadline madness right before the final exams. I also took the help of this calendar to research topics online to help add to my classroom lectures.
2. Conducted in-depth research online.
I didn’t just rely on what was in my textbook. I evaluated and organized the content that was available online. I created a chapter-wise resource bank of learning material. This included websites that my students could visit, videos that they could watch, audiobooks they could listen to. I utilized the power of the web to power a sense of curiosity amongst my students.
3. I created structured learning modules.
Once I completed my research, I used online tools such as Renyoo to help structure my content. Renyoo is an essential tool for any educator. It allows you to annotate images with hyperlinks, audio, video and text. It essentially allows you to cover an entire chapter in a single page. It also gives students a visual point of reference to process all the information. Using these tools to enhance the visual appeal of my presentations helped boost up student’s retention of topics and classroom engagement.
4. I battled for my student’s attention.
I didn’t just sit back and rely on my textbooks, I used a medley of Audio, Video, and Interactive content to keep my students engaged. I created virtual tours of world locations to teach geography, I recreated a Dinosaur exhibit to teach evolution, I even created an interactive tour of the solar system. With the help of free online tools such as Renyoo, making these audio-visual aids was easy and cost-effective.
5. I measured my progress.
There’s no way to make progress without measuring it. That’s why after adopting my Content Marketing approach, I asked students to grade themselves and their understanding of the topic as well as what they thought of my new approach anonymously. The results were overwhelmingly positive with self-assessments of ‘understanding’ going up by almost 30% in three months time.
6. I made my students feel empowered.
I involved students in my teaching process by opening my classroom teaching aids to them. I asked my students to collaborate on my teaching presentations on Renyoo. I asked them to add and include information that they thought could add value. The kind of insights that they brought to the table and the laundry list of resources we compiled, helped the classroom get access to a powerhouse resource bank for each chapter. Also, students felt more involved and were more vocal about their opinions in the classroom, after they helped me by collaborating on my presentation.
I feel that the goals of content marketing and teaching are very similar, to not just share information but make the reader feel empowered. I think applying the principles of Content Marketing to the classroom helped me redefine my relationship with my students for the better. Now the classroom isn’t just where the consume content, but a place where they participate and are enthusiastic.
Do you have any teaching hacks that have helped you get more classroom engagement? Feel free to share in the comments.