The Best of the Best – 2014

A new year calls for new lists, lots of lists; best of lists, who to follow lists, what to try lists, what to read lists…so many lists!

I’m not sure how I feel about this growing ‘list’ culture.

I’m sure that many people appreciate being given lists of things to do, try or read but I question the authenticity of some of these lists and question the culture of ratings and rankings we find ourselves in. Lately, given the time of year, I am sure, such posts are overflowing in my social media feeds. However, I’m not saying that every list out there is ‘unreadworthy’, I have been known to write a list post or two in the past and have found myself or my blog on many lists. I just hope that as competent educators we don’t take such lists as verbatim.

I think my biggest concern is that many of these lists are often subjective and lack depth and substance. Who are creating the lists? Are they crowd sourced? Is it just one person with a specific agenda? What qualifications do they have? Why should I listen to them? Perhaps I am being too critical, but I would prefer to see more posts written that discuss the pedagogy underlying the reasons behind using such tools as an example, rather than a top 10 list of the ‘best’ edtech tools.

When reading such lists I think it is important to think about context- what works for one, may not work for another. Question the advice, do further research…talk to someone, have a conversation. I am also concerned that more and more of these list-type posts I am seeing are being used for marketing purposes- which frustrates me. Posts like that do not seem to care about teaching and learning or education in general.

It seems I’m not the only one having these thoughts…a quick Google search ‘the problem with lists’ finds many people out there with similar thoughts to me from a variety of industries, far beyond education. My advice? Whether you find yourself on a list, reading a list or creating a list this year, think about the context and if said lists are actually going to help or teach you anything…

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3 Comments

  1. Interesting post Bec. I have long been cautious of ‘lists’. I would like to think that when I do create lists that they are subjective and reflect my own world of connections. I have a real issue with groups like AITSL deciding on a certain group as I mused about recently http://readwriterespond.com/?p=416. I really liked Corinne Campbell’s efforts then to develop a more detailed collaborative list.

    1. Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for your comment…I liked your post, evident that I do not hate lists altogether, whats different about your list was the blurb of reasoning you provided, giving the reader some more insight to make up their own mind. I have also seen that collaborative list going around and do not hate that one either as it is crowd sourced- there is no nasty agenda. What I am more dubious about are lists written that claim to ‘revolutionise’ your classroom or the ‘top 10 best apps you must use’…

  2. Great post Bec. There are so many lists and often I read them and feel inadequate, like there’s a million things I still have to do, since I’ve only ticked off a couple of things off said list. Then on the other side of the fence, I’ve tried writing lists to organise my own thoughts and share a bit of knowledge with people, and I can’t simply write a list… I can’t help myself but go on and on about each part and give as much information as possible. I feel like when you have information to share you should give people a bit of context instead of tidbits of information so they can assess its value and relevance for their own practice. Most lists are short and sharp to appeal to people who just want to quickly skim over it, but in their brevity they can lose some value.

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