Friday, 23 December 2011

The Maths Behind 'Why Blog'

I am definitely preaching to the converted in writing 'why blog' since you, as visitors to my blog, almost certainly agree with the concept of blogging as a great educational tool for teachers and students. But a lot of (perhaps even a majority of) teachers are still resistant or at least hesitant with the idea of blogging.

Given my financial maths background, I thought I try my hand at creating a mathematical (and therefore, as objective as possible) - justification for blogging:
Say you are a primary teacher for 15 years (the average career length is no longer 30 and, in Victoria, short-term career teachers now outnumber long-term career teachers). You teach about 20 students per year.  good teachers manages to positively influence, to varying extents, every student in their class every year.

20 x 15 = 300 students influenced over an average teaching career

Sure, you are likely to have had an influence over other students through team-teaching, co-curricular involvement and by generally being a prominent good role-model in your school community. So, let's add in an extra 5 students per year for good measure:

25 (students you influence directly) x 15 (year career)
= 375 students influenced over an average teaching career

That's not an insignificant amount. But consider this:
You start a teacher blog. Even some of the most novice teaching blogs attract about 1,000 visitors per year. Let's assume, extremely pessimistically, you significantly influence - through your lesson ideas and reflections on teaching practice - at least 10 teachers out of your 1,000 visitors per year (1% influence rate). Say, per teacher you significantly influence, your ideas are (very modestly estimated at) influencing 5 of their students per year on about the same scale that you influence your students.
That is now: 25 (students you influence directly) x 15 (year career) = 375
10 (new teachers significantly influenced per year) x 5 (students you influence through those teachers) x 15 (years in that teacher's career) x 15 (years in your teacher blogging career)

= 11,250 students influenced over an average blogger teaching career 
That is 30 times more students influenced over your teaching career!
Remember all these figures are modest/pessimistic estimates.

Now, finally, let's say your blog becomes really popular after 5 years of blogging. For example, Kathleen Morris' teacher blog, which was nominated for the EduBlog 2010 Award, has accumulated 65,000 visitors already. Based on an incredibly pessimistic 1% teacher significant influence rate, that accumulates to:

25 (students you influence directly) x 15 (year career) = 375
650 (teachers significantly influenced so far) x 5 (students thereby indirectly influenced through those teachers) x 10 (more years blogging) x 10 (more years in those teachers' careers) = 325,000

= 325,375 students influenced over the average length teaching career of a popular teacher blogger

That is more than 867 times more students influenced over your teaching career! Resitant teachers, your turn to take the floor...

Are you suprised by these figures? Is blogging EVEN more powerful than you thought it was?

How do you think resistant/hesitant teachers would respond to these figures?


berryart said...

I just love that math. Now, if you are an enrichment teacher at an elementary building, the numbers are even higher. This year I see around 160-170 students ever day. I used to see 500-600 every three days. That's a whole lot of student lives that I have taught over the last 10 years.
-Mrs. Berry

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Hi Mrs. Berry,

I didn't think about enrichment teachers, but that certainly would increase the numbers and make the total quite high even for non-bloggers. Imagine then, what the numbers would be for a blogging enrichment teacher!

Thanks very much for the thought-provoking comment,