Popular Trends in Education

A Behind-the-scenes look at what educators like

Your clicks tell a story.  Your interests. Your problems. What you think is funny. I looked at your clickthroughs on my tweets for the last 12 months. With over 100,000 followers, your clicks tell a fascinating story with a few surprises.

[callout]Click the tweet buttons and share helpful things on your Twitter feed. (It will ask your permission before it tweets.) I will give you the spreadsheet at the end. I will also explain how to calculate these statistics on your Twitter feed. These reflections and social media tips will help bloggers covering ISTE.[/callout]

1. The Top-Clicked Twitter Link of 2014-2015 (1988 clicks)

[tweetthis]How to enable collaboration on Thing Link Interactive Images j.mp/12hYfnI[/tweetthis]

Link: j.mp/12hYfnI

Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers, wrote the top clicked post. A teacher asked him how to make a collaborative multimedia collage. He suggested Thinglink a tool adored by special needs teachers.


This tweet teaches:

This was the most clicked-through tweet of this past school year. Nothing on this tweet can show you just how many people clicked on it.

This was the most clicked-through tweet of this past school year. Nothing on this tweet can show you just how many people clicked on it. Focus on what HELPS. If you focus on retweets, you might accidentally be focusing on the echo chamber. No wonder teachers get frustrated! They want useful stuff, not just pretty pictures.

  • You can't look at tweets and KNOW what interests teachers. That tweet has only 6 retweets and 8 favorites. It had almost 2,000 clicks!
  • Teachers are helping students collaborate online.
  • Bloggers who answer teacher questions are helpful.
  • Good questions asked to the right person can help thousands. [/callout]

2. Sketchnoting (1745 clicks)

These were three different tweets. Don't cry foul! They were all about sketchnoting. I added the word “Awesome!” and tweeted the first tweet again.

[tweetthis]Awesome! How To Get Started With Sketchnotes http://j.mp/1EW9tyW via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/1EW9tyW

I found this resource by Smashing Magazine when learning how to sketchnote. It helped me. I tweeted it.

[tweetthis]Sketchnoting Fans: Paper 53 Built a Sketchnote Community http://j.mp/1PGHXHZ via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/1PGHXHZ

Popular sketchnoting app, Paper by 53, created a community for sketchnoters. I wrote a blog post  with resources.

[callout]These tweets teach:

3. We Want to Be Memorable(1734 clicks)

[tweetthis]What Students Remember Most About Teachers http://j.mp/1sRTOGB via @coolcatteacher [/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/1sRTOGB

Lori Gard shared this letter to a new teacher on an Edutopia discussion forum. She wrote this post in January 2014 on her own blog. It went viral. She reposted it on Edutopia in December 2014.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Teachers want to be remembered.
  • I tweeted this three times: Dec 2014, Jan 2015, May 2015. Some people think that when they tweet something once, that is enough. Only a small number of people see each tweet. If something is helpful, share it again.
  • Lori was savvy. She cross posted. She took this from her blog and shared it on Huffington Post. Then, she shared at Edutopia.
  • I found this post looking at the most shared box on the right-hand side of Edutopia. Take time to look at popular posts on your favorite websites. Read them for inspiration. Share them to be helpful.[/callout]

4. Motivational Posters (1033 clicks)

[tweetthis]15 Motivational Posters to Kickstart Your Creativity http://j.mp/122C3hi via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/122C3hi

This poster was shared as part of the original tweet. Twitter and Facebook users seem to gravitate towards posts with photos.

This poster was shared as part of the original tweet. Twitter and Facebook users seem to share posts with photos.

These quote posters were made by Be Happy and shared by My Modern Met.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Educators like quotes.
  • I found this post through the suggested posts on Buffer.
  • My Modern Met shared popular quotes from another site. Look at other sites for helpful ideas. Typically, the link to Be Happy should be at the first mention of their name. Modern Met didn't do that. I did bother me a bit, but if BeHappy is happy, who am I to say. ;-)
  • Posts with graphics get shared more. If you want your tweets to be noticed, include graphics.[/callout]

5. Contests for Schools (734 clicks)

AWESOME CONTESTS: Calling Teachers and Students: 10 Ways to Win for You and Your School http://j.mp/1CvfP70 via @discoveryed

This tweet is a collection of contests curated by Discovery Education. They posted this on February 4. I tweeted it the same day. [callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Teachers are eager to do what they can to earn free things for their classrooms.
  • Discovery Ed is one of the organizations on my secret VIP list in Twitter. I do this for 2 reasons: I'm a Discovery STAR Educator and sharing is what we do. Secondly, I trust Discovery's content. If I didn't, I wouldn't have shared it so quickly.
  • Make sure tweets are up-to-date. You'll notice that I didn't put the list above in a tweet box. I don't want you to tweet it. It isn't current. Every contest date has passed. Never ask people who trust you to tweet old stuff.
  • Notice the all caps. I still gave credit to Discovery at the end. While retweeting is fine, if it is really awesome, tell people why.[/callout]

6. Everything You Need to Know About Sugar (591 clicks)

[tweetthis]Everything You Need to Know About Sugar: http://j.mp/16KMjwv via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/16KMjwv

Many of us are obese.We're looking for answers. The problem is that scientists don't even agree. This post on the Atlantic examines sugar.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Educators care about good health.
  • This is another item I found via the Buffer App's suggested topics.
  • Note that the title of the post “Being Happy with Sugar” is different from the text in the tweet. Try different versions of the title on Twitter.
  • Educators have diverse interests. We want to live better lives.[/callout]

7. Productivity (525 clicks)

[tweetthis]6 Things The Most Productive People Do Every Day: http://j.mp/1pSCN2J via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/1pSCN2J

The Institute of the Future Think Tank says it well:

“We each have only one pair of eyes and ears, and more importantly, one mind to deal with the data.”

This blog post interviews Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek on the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog. This blog uses science to help readers live a more awesome life.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Many of us consider ourselves unproductive. The post cites research that “people work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider 17 of those hours to be unproductive.” Time is precious. We want to use time better.
  • Numbered lists get reshared.
  • Another bufferapp suggested post find. (See a pattern?)
  • The layout of the post is easy to read.[/callout]

8. iPad Creativity (515 clicks)

[tweetthis]10 Creative Ways to Use Your iPad in the Classroom @Edudemic http://j.mp/1vS5zCK #ipadchat[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/1vS5zCK

Leah Levy's post on Edudemic is a nice summary. Certainly, it is an excellent example of best-practice for curators of content.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • iPads are popular(You didn't need me to tell you that.)
  • Educators like lists(Again.)
  • RSS is useful. I found this in my Feedly reader. It has a handy icon that shows you how popular articles are. This makes it easy to find content if you're in a rush.
  • Know “fan” hashtags to be helpful to them. (But don't spam. That is not cool.)[/callout]

9. Inside the Movement to Throw Out Grades (483 clicks)

[tweetthis]Inside the Movement to Throw Out Grades: Can It Be Done? http://cctea.ch/ecm-125 via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://cctea.ch/ecm-125http://cctea.ch/ecm-125

This is a link to an Every Classroom Matters show. Or, at least it was. The site was upgraded and the link broke. I fixed the link with a new one above.  This show conversation with Starr Sackstein and Mark Barnes discusses how “throwing out grades” works in the classroom.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Controversial topics spark curiosity. Vet carefully. I hosted this show, so I felt confident in what I was sharing.
  • Check your links every time, even if you have used it before. Web sites change. Check your links.
  • You'll notice a link starting in “cctea.ch“. I bought that domain name. Why, you ask? I bought the shortest name I could ti use for link shortening. (Domainr helped.) I used bit.ly's Branded Short Domain service. For someone who likes statistics (like me) there are some geeky stats I can use now. (Remember, how I said in #1 that what educators click on is more important to me than retweets? I want to know what is HELPFUL. Retweets can increase clicks. But many times retweets are sound bytes, not something useful to make me a better teacher. No soundbyte ever made me a better teacher. Best practices do.)
  • Looking at the show statistics on the BAM Radio website, you can't see how popular this show was. Look at stats but make up your own mind whether something is worth sharing.[/callout]

10. How to Use Handwriting in Google Docs (474 clicks)

[tweetthis]How to Use Handwriting in Google Documents http://j.mp/1HHJF9l via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]

Link: http://j.mp/1HHJF9l

Richard Byrne is my go-to edtech geek. He shares how to use handwritten responses in Google forms.

[callout]This tweet teaches:

  • Google Docs is a popular tool.
  • Read the post to see what a generous blogger looks like. Richard Byrne gives credit. Notice how he cites John Stevens and the developer of the g(Math) add on for Google Docs, John McGowan. Great bloggers are generous. The people who steal stuff are scum. (There are some popular bloggers out there who are stealing other people's content. I may not out them, but I sure won't tweet them if I know they are doing it.)[/callout]

Other Popular ClickThroughs from the Last 12 Months

Tweet Clicks This Tweet Teaches:
[tweetthis]Epic list: Here Is Who @larryferlazzo Recommends You Follow On Twitter In 2015 http://j.mp/1K2FGq8 [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1K2FGq8 393 Curating lists of people is helpful to overwhelmed, busy educators. I trust Larry, so I followed everyone he recommended.
[tweetthis]A Crash Course In Teaching With Apps That Align to Bloom's Taxonomy http://cctea.ch/ecm-109 [/tweetthis]Link: http://cctea.ch/ecm-109 386 Another popular Every Classroom Matters show
[tweetthis]GOOGLE FORM USERS: 12 Tricks for Making Your Online Forms Simpler and Quicker for Users http://j.mp/1DxWjqA #gafe [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1DxWjqA 384 Google is hot, but this post was from a designer, not an education source. I tweeted it to #gafe – Google apps for Education.
[tweetthis]15 Best Google Drive Add-Ons for Education http://cctea.ch/1czGRiw via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]Link: http://cctea.ch/1czGRiw 377 One of the most popular posts I've written in the past year.
[tweetthis]The Guidebook for Writing in the Digital Age: Reinventing Writing http://j.mp/1qmVhqe [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1qmVhqe 374 My new book Reinventing Writing is popular. I've made videos and resources that I'm giving away for free on this topic.
[tweetthis]Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart http://j.mp/1FbPj3a [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1FbPj3a 359 Helpful graphics from independent sources are helpful. Another great one from Richard Byrne.
[tweetthis]Who Said It First Tracks Down the First Tweet on Any Topic http://j.mp/1xQXytB [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1xQXytB 343 A cool tool. There are people who copy tweets from others without giving credit. If you have time for that, this tool helps.
[tweetthis]5 Infographics to Teach You How to Easily Create Infographics in PowerPoint http://j.mp/1GtrNyq [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1GtrNyq 342 Educators look for new ways to use older tools.
[tweetthis]FASCINATING SEARCH ENGINE FOR EDUCATION APPS: AppoLearning http://j.mp/19CC9Qg #ipadchat[/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/19CC9Qg 335 Educators want help finding apps. This was also promoted by the cool folks at AppoLearning. You can search by grade level. Very cool.
[tweetthis]The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers In 2014 http://j.mp/1sklE3C via @larryferlazzo[/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1sklE3C 331 Another mega-list by Larry Ferlazzo.
[tweetthis]5 Blog Platforms for Teachers Compared In One Chart http://j.mp/1QCP0Sx via @rmbyrne [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1QCP0Sx 327 Another cool comparison graphic shared by Richard Byrne
[tweetthis]3 Efficient Ways to Keep Parents Informed About Your Class and Their Children   http://j.mp/1APqPbS via @rmbyrne [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1APqPbS 325 Educators struggle to communicate with parents.
[tweetthis]What is Hotlinking? – Why You and Your Students Should Avoid It http://j.mp/1bEk0SF via @rmbyrne [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1bEk0SF 321 Copyright and problems like hotlinking are often clicked. People want trusted sources of digital citizenship info and Richard Byrne wrote a mega-simple post.
[tweetthis]Chromebooks 101: A Guide to Chromebook Success http://j.mp/1C1cEza via @coolcatteacher[/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1C1cEza 310 The two pieces I wrote for Intel on Chromebooks remain wildly popular even 1 year later.
[tweetthis]The Best Places To Get The SameText Written For Different Levels http://j.mp/1G2RRfY via @larryferlazzo [/tweetthis]Link: http://j.mp/1G2RRfY 302 Rewordify is a popular tool. Now that Google is no longer supporting reading levels, we need these tools. Larry Ferlazzo wrote this helpful list.

How did I get these numbers?

I use the Bufferapp to schedule tweets. This way, I can write tweets for the next few days in one sitting. So, when I'm teaching, I'm focusing on my students. I DO NOT tweet during the day unless traveling or on break. Buffer tweets for me when I'm doing other things.

Buffer gives me fantastic analytics. If I put on my business hat, popularity is like a mini focus group.

There's only one problem. Sometimes I'll use Hootsuite or Commun.it. When I tweet other places, I can go to bit.ly to get stats on overall clicks but they may not be from just tweets. So, I try to tweet from buffer as much as possible.

If you want to go back more than 90 days, you have to pay. (I'm on the $50 awesome plan. That is how much I depend on Buffer.) This is one of those few tools I pay for. If you're not going to pay, you can still get analytics for the last 90 days. But if you're just tweeting casually, the free plan and 90 days is enough.

Here's the spreadsheet I downloaded to create this post: Buffer Stats for @coolcatteacher Click Through

[callout]I hope this transparency helps you understand educators. I hope it helps you as you share resources. I'm creating a mailing list for people who want social media sharing tips. I plan to send 1-2 updates a month for those of you interested in social media tips.[/callout]

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere