Who are they, what are they?

Who are the biggest influencers in education? Following a white paper by ISC Research, Ashley Kirk looks at the world of  ‘edruptors’ and what they have to say.

Identifying the top 75

The top global education social media influencers of last year created quite a stir on LinkedIn and Twitter this January when they were announced as the Edruptors of 2021!

ISC Research analysed a range of social media data including followers, shares, retweets, frequency of unique content, and the global reach of education influencers on LinkedIn and Twitter to identify the top 75 Edruptors of 2021. The ranking, as well as feedback from the most popular influencers, are included in a free white paper. It also includes a list of the top ten organisations that influenced international education through social media last year.

Top ranked

Leading the Edruptors of 2021 were ‘Cool Cat Teacher’ Vicki Davis from the US who shares free resources for teachers based on her own current experiences in the classroom, Monica Burns who hosts Class Tech Tips to help teachers use and select edtech, Ioannis Ioannou a professor of sustainability leadership and corporate responsibility, host of The Edtech Podcast Sophie Bailey, and education change-maker Karim Abouelnaga.

Several international school educators were in the top 20 including David Willows of the International School of Brussels at number 6, Kai Vacher of the British School Muscat at number 9, and Conrad Hughes of the International School of Geneva at number 12.

Vicki Davis’ popularity amongst teachers around the world increased extensively during COVID. “The world doesn’t need rockstar teachers, they just need ideas from everyday teachers…helpful things in short soundbites,” she told us. “All the global collaboration between teachers on social media was our way to help each other in the pandemic,” she added.

Kai Vacher took a similar approach for school leaders and gained popularity as a result. “Social media is an outlet to express my thoughts about education; about learning, schooling and leadership…and get feedback from colleagues all over the world,” he said.

As well as teaching and learning, and school leadership, the main content themes of the 2021 Edruptors included edtech, DEIJ, wellbeing, sustainability, and student voice.

What will matter most in 2022

When asked what they think will matter most for international educators in 2022, our Edruptors had a range of opinions including wellbeing, innovation, technology, and learning from COVID.

“This year will be a rebuilding of the school community,” said Sophie Bailey. “Students have gone through the wringer in the last two years…Educators are on the frontline of seeing the effects of that. They all know best that student wellbeing and motivation are absolutely the number one to unlocking everything else in learning,” she added. David Willows thinks the priority this year will be rethinking what school and learning looks like. “We need to reflect deeply on the lessons we’ve learned and not assume we’ll ever go back to how school was like in 2019,” he said.

David Harkin of 8BillionIdeas, who ranked 8th in the list of Edruptors, thinks it will be innovation. “We’re probably at the most exciting point in education in over 100 years if we’re prepared to learn,” he told us.

How to be an education influencer

For those hoping to be education influencers, the common message from the top Edruptors was to be yourself. “Honesty and authenticity are really powerful,” explained Sophie Bailey. “Just having that passion to reach out to people, to connect and share,” she added. And David Harkin thinks reputation matters. “You’ve got to go steady in education,” he recommended. “Do good work. This allows you to become someone people might listen to.”

The Edruptors 2021 white paper from ISC Research includes Twitter and LinkedIn connections for all of the top 75 Edruptors. It is free to download here.


Ashley KirkAshley Kirk is Sales Director at ISC Research which supplies data, trends and intelligence on the world’s international schools market.





Feature Image: by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay