A Mathematical Reason Teachers Should Blog


A Mathematical Reason Teachers Should Blog

Added by magiclanternman on 2013-07-19

I blog because I enjoy it. I am paid the creative satisfaction of a post well done. I’ve never considered Adwords on my blog – though if I was getting 1000 hits a day I might. I follow my stats fairly religiously. Readers rarely comment on my blog, but then I don’t comment on other peoples’ as often as I should. Despite living and teaching in the UK, my blog has 50% more readers in the US.

Some Blogging Math

The average page visit time is 2 minutes which means , I hope, most visitors read a whole post. I currently average 150 page hits per day and, allowing for the Russian porn site visitors (they’ll give up one day), this means, at a conservative estimate, 200 minutes reading per day. Still more conservatively, 20 hours per week of the world’s time is spent reading my blog.

I blog mainly for people interested in media education. I have no mission statement, though I do try not to be dull or too wordy. I write about things that I’m learning and sometimes just tell stories that interest me. In general I post once a week. Posts take a couple of hours to create, including the occasional made-for-blogging media, thinking time and research.

So two hours blogwork = 20 hours reading /learning. One hour’s work = 10 hours learning

As a teacher (part-time) I teach face-to-face for about eight hours per week that’s about 160 hours “learning”. I must also include the four hours traveling time (50 miles each way = 4.5 liters of diesel) ten hours planning, preparation, marking, meetings etc.

So 24 hours teach/work = 160 hour’s learning. One hour’s work = 6.66 hours learning.

So, even without the other factors taken into account, blogging is a more time-efficient way of teaching.

The other factors in teaching must include the costs of pay, school building, equipment transporting students etc. My personal expenses includes travel , smart(ish) clothes and stress (quite a lot of that).

Other factors in blogging are that with a bit more effort (submitting posts to Edudemic for instance) I could probably find another 150 visitors: doubling my efficiency at a stroke. My biggest saving is that I am only spending my time doing something that interests me.

Blogging vs Teaching: The Biggest Difference

But perhaps the biggest difference of all is that my readers choose to read my posts in their own time. There are no laws in the UK to ensure everyone reads blogs for a set number of hours each week. People do it because they enjoy it or find it interesting or useful. They are motivated. I sincerely hope many of my students find my lessons enjoyable, interesting and useful. But I’m really not sure how many would turn up if they didn’t have to. If most were given greater choice about which lessons to attend, they would attend fewer. Probably more of them would be choose learning environments like the voluntary after-school session I stood in the other evening and watched students welding, angle grinding, cutting and measuring. They really needed to be there where specialist equipment and guidance was on hand.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Teaching face-to-face is about so much more than imparting knowledge. But online learning can be as well. Anyone who sits, as I have, in a roomful of teenagers messaging other people in the same room knows that for those who are The Future of Education, online is a part of real life. Online learning isn’t about automatons pursuing programmed learning in front of machines as bad 20th. century sci-fi might have led us to imagine. Online learning offers far greater choice.

Face-to-face learning is important. Of course. Human beings need to be in the proximity of other humans, need to learn in the proximity of other humans. Some of the time. How much? Not as much as most do at present, I fear.

Tim Brook blogs on Digital Glue here. His other online activities can be found here.


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