During a time when most of the US and much of the world is facing funding shortfalls in education, sadly technology budgets are often one of the first to be slashed. Is this a good place to start? While I never thought so, I didn’t until now have any good hard evidence to back that up.
Being a bit numbers obsessed (I was a math teacher in my former days), I enjoy spending my time looking over the site visitor statistics for Edublogs. This morning I found myself taking a look at the number of visitors from each state in the US.
I wanted to know if the number of visitors we get from each state is proportional to the number of students in each state.
I was expecting to find that our visitors would be randomly and equitably distributed around the country.
But I was wrong. There were a few states that seemed to have much higher traffic than what their population would suggest. There were also a handful of states that were severely underrepresented.
There are many factors that could account for this – such as access to computers in the classroom or the existence of local or statewide blogging platforms other than Edublogs. Or perhaps blogging just isn’t that states thing and we haven’t done a good enough job letting them know about it.
However, then I visited this site here for the most recent and comprehensive rankings on state achievement that I could find.
What you see in the table below may shock you. I went through and identified the states that are 8 or more away in “Edublogs Ranking” either direction than you would expect based on their population.
Three out of five of the lowest performing states also are underrepresented in their use of Edublogs. And all of the underrepresented states are in the bottom third on achievement.
Even more interesting (er, exciting) is that three out of the top five performing states visit Edublogs more than you would expect based on their population! And all overrepresented states are in the top half of performance.
I’m not suggesting at all that Edublogs is responsible for the achievement (though that would be nice), but clearly, states that make technology use available to students do appear to have a significant advantage here.
Being the math nerd that I am, I will admit that I haven’t applied any tests of statistical significance to the data here nor do I share this as if I have done formal research on the matter. However, even cursory data such as this shows that technology in the classroom can be powerful!
What do you think?
I used this site here for the state demographic information. The “Edublogs Ranking” was taken from Google Analytics based on several million visitors over the past 30 days.