I was listening to James Farmer’s presentation at Education.AU’s “What’s Changed” conference in Sidney this weekend. It was a very good presentation about the value of read/write web technologies for teaching and learning, and included, in his speech, some statistics on EduBlogs’ usage. So I thought I would share just a bit about what’s happening with Class Blogmeister.
There are currently 3,345 educators with registered classroom blogging accounts. I’m receiving about a dozen new requests a day. These educators have established blogging presences for 28,961 students.
Those are the basics. Farmer’s talk lead me to do a little additional work on the data, some ideas that have been swimming around in my head for quite some time. To date, teachers and students have posted 79,414 blog entries, amounting to well over a hundred megabytes of content.
I wrote a couple of programs to take a look at characteristics of this content. This is, by no means, a scientific analysis, and we know too little about the conditions of this data, nor even the goals of the student work. Still, the findings may be interesting to you.
One of the reports was an attempt to determine a Flesch Readability Scale for student writings. The only impossible part of the algorithm was determining the number of syllables per word. Here, I merely counted up the number of vowels per word and divided that by 2 – erring toward fewer syllables.
To create a smoother curve, I calculated the standard deviation of all of the Flesch scores, and then omitted all blog entries that fell outside of the SD, considering these outliers. As you look at the graphs, understand that the shorter the bar, the smaller the Flesch value, the higher the reading/writing level.
You can view the report at this page:
Understand that there is much left unreported in this ad hoc study. We do not know the grade levels/ages of the writers. Also, we do not know the natures of the writing assignments, nor their goals. This is a feature that I may add at some point in the future so that teachers can get a report on their students’ writing levels.
What do you think?