Most Popular Posts of 2012
1. Codecademy and the Future of (Not) Learning to Code, October 28, 2011
2. The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy, July 19, 2011
3. The Real Reason I Dropped Out of a PhD Program, August 29, 2012
4. The Failure of OLPC, April 9, 2012
6. Apple and the Textbook Counter-Revolution, January 19, 2012
8. Top Ten Ed-Tech Startups of 2011, December 18, 2011
9. “The Audrey Test”: What Every Techie Should Know about Education, March 17, 2012
10. Android App Inventor Open Sourced, Code Released, January 20, 2012
A Few Thoughts on “Popular”
Often I feel like Hack Education operates at a strange intersection of “popular” and “unpopular” in the (ed-)tech blogosphere.
I refuse to chase pageviews. Creating link-baity headlines and SEO-optimized list posts might be good for a publication’s traffic (and by extension, its ad revenues), but it does little to serve readers. It does even less to further critical inquiry or dialogue. We need more of that when it comes to teaching, learning, and technology — not less.
So I try to write without thinking too much about pageviews, even though I have to admit that it does matter to me that my work is read. I mean, of course it does. I think I have something to say; that’s why I write. And even though I still view Hack Education as my personal site to rant and rave about what I see happening at the intersection of technology and education, I do need to make a living. I do need to cultivate an audience. I probably should pay attention to what folks want to read, click on, and share.
Lately I’ve been focusing less on "news" and more on "analysis" here, and looking at my Google Analytics at the year’s end could help me weigh whether that’s a smart decision or not. And note: there isn't much from "lately" on this list (although several of my Top Ed-Tech Trends posts would make the list if I extended it to 20). 3 of my most popular posts were breaking news stories (and I think several of these hit Techmeme, which gave me a spike in traffic), but most were analysis — or rather, rants.
But at the end of the day, I’m not going to scrap my weekly roundup of news here on this site (those posts don’t get a lot of pageviews) and instead only write about Khan Academy (great for pageviews) or Codecademy (also great for pageviews, but damn, the comments are brutal). And I know I can’t compete with the sites that Techmeme tends to highlight, with those that have a large staff of writers rapidly churning out blog posts, or with those that reprint any infographic that hits their email inbox. Hell, I don’t want to. Nor do I want to pen the ed-tech-as-revolution stories where — with apologies to Garrison Keeler — all the entrepreneurs and investors are virtuous, all the engineers and educators are geniuses, and thanks to adaptive learning, all the children’s test scores are above average. You can find plenty of that elsewhere. I bet it's "popular" too...
Image credits: Jeff Eaton