Category Archives: Anthropology

How technology is changing the educational system.

Why the traditional education system doesn’t fit in the new model.

The industrialization era that got started in the 18th century doesn’t adapt anymore to our current world governed by virtual worlds, ever-changing environment and the recognition of human emotions as the foundations of our decision process.  Instead technology is setting up a scene characterized by horizontal structures and collaborative thinking that is re-shaping the way we teach our children.

The adoption of computers and the Internet by the vast majority of population as the common communication system has created a new socio-economic system without precedent. This system is characterised by social interaction, collaborative thinking, multimedia content and a great deal of creativity that is demanded from the individual.  This barely fits in a system based on the individual effort, pyramidal structures and a passive role performed by the student

What challenges is Education facing.

One of the challenges educational systems are required to face is the need of individuals to discover and train the so-called ‘soft skills’.  Socialisation, communication, language, and in short, all those abilities that help individuals work in groups. Technology has generated these needs over the last 15 years.

Creativity is being a highly appreciated skill that doesn’t belong to artists anymore, but instead is recognized in every individual’s ability to think ‘out of the box’ and to provide solutions to any kind of problem. Computers are able to simulate thousands of situations, and to do calculations in much less time than a human being, but what they can’t do until now, is being creative, and so far, they they can’t make decisions either. This is gap currently experimented by traditional systems.

This means that educational systems would likely evolve in a way that teach these new skills to children. They will teach skills as the ability to visualise, and the ability to represent complex concepts into visual diagrams that facilitates memorisation and communication to others.

The role of  new media in the educational process

Technology is not only affecting the content of the education that children receive, but also the quality of it. Traditionally education materials were basically books, notepads and pencils. Today we need to provide children with computers, software, visuals; interactive devices that adapt to the real work kids will face tomorrow.

It’s been proven that we learn better with content that incorporates some kind of emotional content. That’s why any audiovisual material has more possibilities to be memorable.  Creating  educational content that makes children create something out of it would be much more efficient way of learning than memorising through repetition.

One example of this process has been enclosed in an App released by the artist Bjork. The App depicts a galaxy. Each song is a stars’ system that is part of this  ‘mother-galaxy’.

Each song is an app itself and it is interactive. They can contain games, recording and manipulating song features, and even more, one of the songs, is actually a musical instrument.
But what makes this work excel is the fact that the artist is calling the user’s creativity. Her songs no longer belong to her; each user can make a version of them, and of course, can share them with others.
The difference is that the artist is offering not music, but an experience.  And actually the aim of this work was to be an educational tool for children to learn music. This could be a very accurate antecedent of what education might evolve to.

The new model provided by Technology

This example depicts very well a process we are witnessing nowadays. We are no longer passive spectators that swallow information, but we are the creators of the information we receive.
We could make a guess and visualise where the education system would evolve quite soon: into an audiovisual, emotional and creative content, where maybe children will no longer be grouped by ages, but skills, and they will not need to memorised senseless concepts but create ways of understanding knowledge and communicate their own concepts to others.

Collaborative thinking can’t be associated with tests (and don’t cheat) systems, but instead, with a truly utilisation of knowledge, which encloses not only understanding and learning information, but also the ability to engage others to create something new out of that information.

How to identify and analyse engagement in a system.

The principal challenge when designing a system is to create engagement. By engagement is meant,  the user not only spends a reasonable amount of time on your site, but also performs those actions that you want she to perform, for example, buying something, registering, or doing something off-line.

It’s no longer enough that the site attracts visitors, but it has to match a user’s needs, and this entails attracting the right kind of visitors and engaging them.

It could be said that the ideal site we want to create is one, which attracts a lot of users, which is efficient in engaging them and which encourages them to perform whatever we want. What follows is an approach, which can be used to analyse a system in order to assess what can be done to optimise engagement. It’s called the 2×2 engagement matrix.

The approach sets up a model with two variables: visitors and engagement, and the resulting basic  2 by 2 matrix contains four web-page types.

These four page types are characterised by how many visitors are attracted to them and the degree to which the visitors become engaged. They are labelled: bulls, sexy dolls, hooks and zombies.

Engagement matrix (by Rebeca Miranda)Bulls

These pages are completely optimised towards the user. They bring traffic to the site and they also foster engagement and lead to completion of interactive transactions.  They are characterised by the following:

  • High level of visits
  • High click through
  • Longer time spent on them
  • High bounce rate
  • High number o page views.
  • Low percentage of exits.

In general, the aim of an improvement strategy, will be focused on pages that are either sexy dolls or hooks.

Sexy dolls.

These are pages that receive lots of visits, but they are barely engaging.  They represent a good opportunity to improve the level of engagement because an audience is already in place. Basically the problem here lies in the content. Sexy dolls pages will likely show:

  • High levels of visits
  • Low CTR (Click through rate),
  • Lower number of pageviews
  • Higher percentage of exits


Writing relevant content. Perhaps the research and audience are not understood. Good research may be needed, as well as a proper segmentation of the audience.
Displaying other kinds of media such as videos, might also improve the level of engagement, but of course the media need to be designed to be ‘engaging’ for the specific audience.

Relating content with other parts of the website. This involves engaging the user more.  If the user is interested in a certain topic, then more content about it should be displayed.  Other example might be the use of contextual links

Making sure structural elements such as navigation menus are clear, intuitive, and simple.

Creating only a few elements to choose from. Navigation is more effective when there are not too many elements to choose from, and where the elements present are related to what the user is already familiar with.


These are pages for which there are few visitors but on which the user spends a great deal of time.  Users of these pages keep navigating indicating that their interests have been perfectly matched. However they represent a minority of the user base.

These pages are characterised by:

  • Low level of visits
  • High percentage of CTR
  • High number of pageviews
  • Longer times spent on these pages
  • High bounce rate
  • Low percentage of exits.

In addiction, the presence of such pages may indicate that:

A-    The audience has not been segmented correctly,

B-    The audience represents a different subset of the population than was assumed

In either case the starting point is a positive one: you already know that the content is relevant.

So what can one do to move these loyal geeks to became bulls?.


Improve the research and work on the SEO strategy – The content may not be sufficiently engrossing.

Place the calls to action in these pages

Try to understand why these pages are engaging in order to either:

–       Apply it to rest of the site, these pages may have elements that are absent in other pages, like contextual navigation, etc.

–       Promote this content across the site, it may be hidden, which may explain why it doesn’t have as many visitors. (e.g. users on these pages get specific information about certain services, and while trying to decide whether to buy those services, they may spend more time on the pages just to make sure, they’re making the right decision. Another reason may be they might be learning something through these pages and so spend more time on them.)


These pages are attracting neither visits nor loyalty. They are usually useful as a way of indicating errors: from 404 to just pointing out pages that need a review in order to establish:

1. If they are worthy to improve

2. What makes them so bad, in order to get clues to improve the rest of the site.

These can be recognized because they are characterised by:

  • Low level of visits
  • Low rate of click through
  • Short time spent on them
  • Low number of page views
  • High level of exits

Once one has identified which pages are problematic, it becomes easier to create specific remedies for improvement, as well as deriving valuable information about the overall performance of the site. Also by analysing the pages belonging to each of the defined categories across a system, we could obtain a ‘big picture’ of overall site performance, which could lead us to rethink how it should be developed.

5 take aways from LinkedIn group strategies.

Lately we’ve been doing some experimental work within LinkedIn, without getting very much into detail, 5 things have set clear:

1. Plan and design

It is crucial to set up the group deliberately. With a purpose in mind, and based on this build up the contents, approach and selection of the people in-house  who is going to participate in and how they’re going to do it.

2. Setting up a hook. Engagement.

People involved need  to be compromised, this starts in-house and extends to the audience.

For doing that is important to set up what going to be the wins of people. From our experience one of the things that was clear was  that is when the have something of value up there, that as well, they can not get anywhere else, the response is massive. This may be obvious, but actually nobody thinks about it.

3. Training session.

Out of 20 people had effectively go through a group in our case.  100% of them had LinkedIn accounts, but almost nobody had a clear idea of what to do with it. This means, that people need training. This training session doesn’t need to be hard-to-shallow technical session, who nobody is going to remember, but something more interacting and engaging. Through which you can learn how to use the tool.

It doesn’t need to be presentation neither, but I’d recommend to do it off-line, so people put a face and some emotion on the learning process. As well, ideally they would be able to be with their computers on the session so they could be practising it while learning.

4. Give life to it. Network your network

Members need to participate, contribute actively and consistently. As anything else in the web it take time to build a community, it doesn’t happen from today to tomorrow, and needs the support of the WOM, as well as the off-line efforts, so any opportunity to spread it out will be good, as well as linking it in every communication: blogs, emails, web, etc.

5. Make their live easier. Works better the pulling rather than the pushing.

People likely come in and participate when you offer something that is of their interest than when you make them questions, and basically make them work. If you offer something to them that help them to do a better job, or is time saving…you got them!.  That’s why if your platform is a place were they can agilize complaints, or contact directly with the person of their interest, they will even doing a effort to get there.

Why FaceBook is so Sticky

There is a real social life associated to FB. This is what EVERY human been needs. From the moment that we naturally look for recognition and acceptance (what is called love ;-), FaceBook (FB) became the perfect way to obtain it, because it easier to make friends because everybody wants to make friends, because everybody wants to look that has friends, because otherwise… you look like a looser!.

Likely you join FB through a friend. Someone that you already know and you trust. Joining a social network is like joining any other off-line group. We feel good about to be accepted in a group or a community. This community has an advantage that others don´t…you´re already accepted in it before even enter!!

FB make us feel emotionally satisfy. Its interface is plenty of pictures. Pictures of people that you know and also they are mainly smiling, with a open actitude, sexy, artistic, nice backgrounds….

Every time we see a picture of someone we know, or someone smiling the centres of pleasure activates in our brain. In other words, neurotransmitters. Dopamine, adrenaline…. a delicious cocktail is produced, and it gives us a very nice sensantion…. It is pure survival. We are social animals, so Nature make us sensitive to other people signals, and by nature we feel pleasure when others smile to us, and pain when they reject us or worse…ignore us.
Unfortunately you can feel ignored even in FB

For those who are not very social, is an easier and nice way to became more social. Also make them feel “social” and inside the community, in contrast, with the traditional way of feeling like a freak.
For those who are social is a way to socialize even more: on & off-line. Because the truth is that social networks make people meet off-line. Also, allows abroad contacts, which otherwise would be more difficult and less day to day.

Take less time and effort than off-line socialization. Make “social cares” as ask someone what are they doing, or just being concerned about them is faster and easier. Off-line socialization requires time, a good very appreciated nowadays. These cares are more superficial but they work, they make feel good to whoever receives them, because she feels recognized.
But lets be realistic: physical presence is much more efficient.

FB is free!!!!. Yes!!!, you dont need to spend your money in coffes, restaurants, clubs, drinks, flowers, presents, you can be with your friends, or at least feel in touch with them without doing these expenses. For Crisis fans, I think this really can be a good point.

For those who like to being watched, FB is just perfect. Public statments and notes let one express in public, without the pressure of the physical pressence, what makes most of the introverts avoid this kind of situations. You feel watched, observed, recognized!…and forget those annoying faces of rejection, boreness or whatever unexpecting reaction that just can ruin your act of communication!

At the other side, everybody sometime, somehow wants to know about someone. FB allows one to know more about that person that is important for whatever reason. You can know what is her in, with who, and also, people upload pictures, so actually you have a complete repport…even of those in who you are not so interested….

And here is an important note to talk about: actually we fantasize with this, because we dont know accurately who really are listening our messeges, but for sure, we have someone in mind whe we make them.

Another thing about the “picture market” in FB. We not also almost obbligate other people to see our pictures, but also, they upload ours!!!, isn´t it just great!!!. One can be watched/recognized both ways, and this last one also brings an extra feature: another person thought about us and tag us, recongnize us, and collaborate in our proccess of socialization. Fantastic…well, there is gonna be always “that” picture of which apperently you´re the only person in the world that thinks you just look owful.

FB works like a drug for us. We receive pleasure from it. This is emotions, all kind, from excitement, jealousy, saddness, content, they activate our brain emotional machine, and this is very adictive. One can have her little shot of emotion ready 365/24.
Yes… FB is the perfect dealer.

Since an act of communication is sending a message and have a response from the other person. And we really want to communicate succefully, in other words, have feed back, FB allows this operation as easy as we really believe we are communicating with others. First we know they are reading us, second, FB makes other people to answer our threads easier, because these other people want to be listened too, so they response more likely than in other kind of communication act.
Lets face it, FB is the temple of the ego. And what is more sticky for us than our own image?…
…absolutely nothing.

Here is some research, if you´d like to participate ;-)


My name is Rebeca Miranda, this blog begins with the purpose of having a hand on what´s going on the web, related with our behaviour in the web, but also how cultural changes are reflected on internet at the same time, that our essense is drawing our ways to use the web.