“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Google Image Search is now worth 1 trillion, 187 billion, 63 million words. Yes, that’s right, math majors; we’ve updated our image index, and now offer users precisely 1.18763 billion newly updated images….


In my previous blogpost “Who’s Counting” I put forward the case that beyond a certain threshold numbers are pretty useless in describing value. I would like to add a caveat: except when it comes to marketing when bigger = better.

It seems that internet marketing and ROI is all based around seriously massive figures that are so high as to become abstract. That’s a natural consequence of operating on a global scale but our relationship with any website is by definition always 1-to-1, so to me it all seems a bit hard to comprehend. After all, imagining millions of unique visitors is not the same as actually seeing them all from space.

Kumbh Mela gathering

Kumbh Mela gathering (Photo: spaceimaging.com)

So, just for fun, I racked my brain to think of a way to get to a ludicrous number for ode. And then it hit me – everyone mentions time saving as a potentially massive benefit. So how much time could ode save every UK teacher?

Our teacher users, so far, reckon they spend on average 3 hours per week sourcing digital content across the internet from Google, Blogs, Flickr, resource banks, home brew websites, online subscriptions and so on. Sometimes this is at home, but mostly at work. And they all resent it to some degree as, frankly, it’s a drag.

3 hours per week per teacher (some spend up to 10 hours per week!). That’s 12 hours per month spent looking for content. Or 144 hours per year. On average, give or take.

There are roughly 500,000 teachers employed in the UK, across Primary, Secondary and College/FE sectors.

144 x 500,000 = 72,000,000 hours in total spent by teachers every year trawling a variety of sources for digital content to plug into their lessons. And time = money as we all know.

If the average teacher salary for a classroom teacher who’s been in post for 3 years is £25,000 per annum (very rough estimate) then this works out at about £14.29 per hour.

So therefore…72,000,000 hrs x £14.29 = £1,028,880,000 of teacher’s time on this common task.

If ode, as a one stop shop for all your educational digital content needs halves that time (and we think we can do even better than that) and then we reduce that figure even more to say that 50% of that time is unpaid working from home time and shouldn’t be included so we halve it again we’re left with £257,220,000. Deduct that from the original total annual cost and ode could save the government £771,660,000 per year.

How’s that for a stupid meaningless figure?