Figuring Out What Will Get Attention

Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

Figuring Out What Will Get Attention

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I think a lot of us have trouble knowing what will be interesting to others. I think this is true in the classroom (“What do you mean kids don’t find learning binary interesting? I LOVED IT!”) and it is clearly true in blogging. I’ve been looking over the blog posts from the last month and the statistics around each one. I am surprised by the posts I thought would get a lot of attention and comments but didn’t. Others that I expected to be largely ignored – read and forget – have a bunch of comments. How do you know what is going to resonate and what will not? Honestly I don’t think you can. Not with any real certainty anyway. But I have examples. Anyone what to explain things to me?

I’m going to give you some examples from this month both to show you want I mean and (more selfishly) try to highlight some posts that I think deserve more attention and give you a chance to see what did get attention that maybe you missed.

On the more attention than I expected clearly Teacher Web Sites comes first. This one was one I hoped would be interesting for a few people but turned out differently. Largely this is because one of the companies I mentioned in passing put a link to the post with the suggestion that people “help” me out. I saw an amazing amount of traffic referred from Facebook. More than came from search engines even! That’s rare.

What It Is Like to be A Student? received more traffic than most as well as four comments. Honestly that surprised me because I posted it primarily to link to someone else’s blog! I hope you will read those posts (Lost in syntax part 1, Lost in syntax part 2) as they are more interesting than that post of mine.

I really expected comments on On The Value Of Testing but there are none and not much traffic either. Why is that? Was it too obvious and every says “oh yeah sure” and goes on about their business? No idea.

I really had high hopes for Who’s Afraid of Smart Machines? but perhaps people are just discussing that too much in too many other places. Still I was hoping teachers would weigh in on this as suitable for classroom discussion. And that people  who give opinions as to how they felt about smart machines and what the potential meaning for humanity is. Oh well. I did try.

Two posts inspired by NECC Sponges and Participants and Would You Wear A Ribbon That Labeled You a Trouble Maker? had a lot of readers. Only two comments though. Again I’m not sure why but I’d really hoped for more comments especially on the Sponges and Participants one. I really want to know if other people see conference participants the same way I do or hear some alternative views.

Sometimes I do get it (somewhat) right though. Are We Doing It Right? had five comments. Not a huge number and not quite as many as I would have liked but at least there was conversation and that is what I was aiming for.

SO there you have it – proof that I don’t really know what I am doing or what my audience wants. I’m trying though and I am always open to feedback. So any advice you have for me to make my blog better for you and for computer science teachers/education in general let me know. That’s why there is a comment section. :-)

  • Sometimes its a matter of what will get used in the form that you deliver it and what actually needs comments.  Some of the posts you listed as not getting much attention had links to resources or topics/activities that could just be used.

    Also, when it comes to finding what students thing are interesting, I think we are all working on that and it changes as fast as we devise new things for them to do.

  • Don't be discouraged.  I enjoy reading your posts.

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