Last weekend at Startup Weekend London Education, Richard Taylor announced a piece of work he has been doing with Onalytica; an index of the Top 100 education blogs. In the last couple of years it seems a lot of the online educational discourse has moved to ‘short form’ services like Twitter, but I think there is still an important place for longer form writing and the extended, complex discussions in comments that the blogosphere provides.
The web is teeming with ‘top x’ blog posts and I generally ignore such stories, based as they often are on personal taste, echo chambers and empire building. However, this one is in some ways a little different, as they have employed similar methods as are used to rate academic journals for impact in an attempt to define not just the most popular, but the most influential blogs worldwide. There are of course many issues that could be raised by such a process and the methods in the pdf on Richard’s blog lack the full detail for a detailed analysis of validity, but it is interesting to look at a list of blogs worldwide that have been ranked by a complex statistical analysis as to their influence.
As Richard states, there is a strong US theme to many of the top blogs, and it would be interesting to do more analysis of the locations and indeed the particular focus of the blogs listed. Of UK blogs I am familiar with, Ewan McIntosh comes in at number 15, David Didau at 26, and Doug Belshaw at 92. Interestingly, the only class blog to feature on the list is the ‘Year 2 Blog’ from Chorlton Park Primary School in Manchester.
Numbers are numbers, and I am sure many will dispute whether this list truly constitues ‘the best’. For me it means something else. I am keenly aware of echo chambers on the web, and what this list represents to me is a chance to use a different metric to explore the discourse happening online about education. It is for me a way to find new ideas, to attempt to get a handle on where the conversations are going internationally, and a bit of a gold mine of educational thinking to digest and challenge.
The pdf on Richard’s blog contains hyperlinks to explore, but I have also assembled a collection of the RSS feeds of as many of the blogs as I could locate them for. Open the bundles below and add them to your Google Reader. Other services are of course available, and for them you can import the OPML files. Whatever your perspective on stats and ranking, following these bundles will give you a big chunk of material to get you thinking. I’ll be following them all, as whilst there are others that perhaps chime more strongly with my thinking, I want to keep exposing myself to as full a range as possible of what the educational world is debating.