I know, I know. I am sick of Top 10 lists too. So I made this a Top 11 list. And I also included some thoughts about why, out of the hundreds of stories I wrote this year, these ones were so popular.
1. Khan Academy Gets $5 Million to Expand Faculty & Platform & Build a Physical School, November 4
2. The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy, July 19
3. University of Phoenix Enrollment Down by 42%, January 14
4. With 4 New Products, Kno Finally Looks Like a Contender in the E-Textbook Industry, August 10
5. Codecademy and the Future of (Not) Learning to Code, October 28
6. Google to Shut Down Android App Inventor, August 9
7. Android App Inventor Finds a New Home at MIT, August 16
8. 6 Smart Augmented Reality Apps, March 16
9. Amazon's Kindle Fire: Not the Android Tablet Schools Have Been Waiting For, September 28
10. Top 10 Ed-Tech Startups of 2011, December 18
11. Khan Academy and BitTorrent Partner to Distribute Educational Videos, February 11
I've made a promise to myself to not chase page views here at Hack Education. (This will never be a blog about SEO-optimized infographics and the like.) But you can look at what were the most visited pages and learn a lot nonetheless about what drives traffic on the Internet:
1. Khan Academy stories drive traffic. 3 of the top posts I wrote this year were about Khan Academy (4 if you count one that I wrote last year that I excluded from this list). It's a clear indication that -- no matter what you think about the non-profit -- people are incredibly interested in the organization. I hope I've used the interest and attention that Khan Academy has elicited this year to provide a more nuanced look at online video lectures than some of the hyperbolic praise written elsewhere.
2. The Lazy Web loves List posts. Top 10 lists are SEO gold. As such, it's certainly clear why many blogs use that as their template for writing almost every story. I had 2 list posts appear among my most trafficked posts, one of which was an utter throwaway story about augmented reality apps. Ugh. How sad. Even though I put a lot of effort into my year-end trends posts, I swear you will see very few enumerated blog posts from me in 2012. Yuck.
3. Front page of Reddit FTW. My most popular story of the year -- on Khan Academy's latest investment and its plans for the money -- was thanks to Reddit-ers, who voted it up to the front page. The onslaught brought my site to its knees. Fun times. Also, Hacker News drove a lot of traffic, particularly to my cuss-filled Codecademy post.
4. Techmeme and the tech news pile-on. Reddit wasn't the only site that drove a lot of traffic to Hack Education. I hit Techmeme for the first time on Hack Education this year (in the past it's been just for stories on ReadWriteWeb). The first was with my response to the Wired Magazine story on Khan Academy, then subsequently with my stories on Google's plans for the Android App Inventor. In the case of the latter, it was interesting to watch other tech blogs pick up the story and rewrite versions of the same news I'd broken.
5. People search for and click on dumb things. There was a longstanding joke at ReadWriteWeb about my colleague Mike Melanson's epic story "Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login." His post, originally about changes to the Facebook UI, was hijacked by commenters who were certain that they'd stumbled across a really abhorrent Facebook redesign when really they were on ReadWriteWeb. They'd Googled "Facebook login" and had found his story instead. This year, people Googling "University of Phoenix login" found Hack Education. For some reason the blog is on the front page of search results for that query. And what they found was a story about the school's declining enrollment. Written early in the year, the story was a look at some of the new rules dictating for-profit universities recruitment and retention practices. Again, the commenters turned the post into a discussion of the value of a University of Phoenix degree.