I started writing this blog on the 11th July 2011 with the intention of recording all the thoughts I’ve always had about teaching and learning. In the past I’d amaze myself with how what seemed profound at the beginning of the week would become lost in the hurly burly of planning, marking and teaching. I wanted a place to stop and stare. I wanted a sounding board for all my wild, untamed ideas. And, I confess, I did want a bit of an audience as well.

I wrote recently about the transformative effect Twitter has had on my career, and I’m constantly blown away by the flattering and thoughtful feedback I get on my posts. I’ve started to almost get used to the fact that some people seem to be interested in some of what I’ve got to say. I’m almost painfully aware of how privileged this makes me; as a direct result, I got to spend the day in Brighton working with the city’s English teachers. (Let me take this opportunity to say, Brighton’s English teachers rock! Geddit?)

But to discover this evening that apparently The Learning Spy has made the Top 100 most influential education blogs is staggering. Oliver Quinlan has written about this project and has explored some of his reservations about the process here. He’s also provided a terribly convenient means to subscribe to all the blogs via Google Reader.

I can’t pretend to understand the process that Richard Taylor has used to work out a blog’s influence, but for anyone sufficiently cerebral, this is what he says on the subject:

Based on the number of links that each blog receives, we developed three measures: Influence Index,
Popularity and Over-Influence.

The Onalytica Influence Index is the impact factor of a blog, or how much that blog matters.

Popularity represents how popular or well-known the blog is among other education blogs.

Over–Influence seeks to capture how influential a blog is compared to how popular it is. There is a strong correlation between how popular or well-known a blog is and its influence. However some blogs carry more influence than their popularity leads us to believe; this is what we call over-influence.

Clear? Don’t worry, I’m not entirely sure either.

According to all this I have the following Top Trump values:

Influence: 22.1

Popularity: 15.2

Over influence: 1.4

All I can say is, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for Tweeting and thank you for your feedback. I feel proud, humbled and a bit confused.

My Top 10

All this has prompted me to compile a Top 10 of my own personal most influential education blogs. They are in no particular order and this is just my opinion; it in no way reflects any reality other than the one currently in my head. These are the blogs that at this moment in time are the ones I visit and reference most frequently and look forward to reading most assiduously. The fact that none of them are in Onalytica’s list speaks for itself.

They are:

1. Full-on Learning – Zoë Elder’s repository of simple but very effective and practical ideas for teaching

2. John Tomsett’s blog – An inspirational headteacher in York shares what he’s learning about teaching in the years he’s spent doing the job

3. Scenes from the Battleground – Andrew Old’s sometimes bitter, often caustic, always unmissable blog

4. headguruteacher – Tom Sherrington, another inspirational head, writes about teaching and learning in forensic detail and with admirable frequency

5. Hunting English – Alex Quigley’s blog – this man is a machine!

6. Learning from my Mistakes – Chris Curtis tells it like it is – increasingly excellent source of ideas on English & literacy

7. The Behaviour Guru – Tom Bennett’s antidote to all the fluff and puff that sometimes seeks to disguise itself as worthwhile

8. Pragmatic Education – Joe Kirby’s sensible, straightforward and lovingly researched blog on what matters in education. One to watch.

9. Reflections of a learning Geek – Lisa Ashes’ marvellous source of passionate and creative teaching ideas

10. Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday – Kenny Pieper’s impassioned and heartfelt call to arms

If your blog isn’t in the list, please know that this is in no way way a reflection on its quality – it’s just that it wasn’t foremost in my mind when compiling this divisive and pernicious list. Please feel free to tell me what I’m missing out on.

Thanks, David

Update –  20th June 2013

Onalyptica have reviewed their rankings. I’ve written about it here.