My humble opinion . . .

First of all – does anyone else ever get really suspicious when you see those words? “In my humble opinion” is usually followed by a rant, tirade, or other communicative body delivered in a tone that speaks loudly “I’m right about this!”

So . . . this probably won’t be any different than those, because I’m right about this! Read on . . .

Today’s humble opinion has to do with people who make lists of links. Those people who tweet or blog about the “100 most useful technology tools” or “533 must-have resources for educators” or “a bushel and a peck of technology tools” or whatever. My first question when I see a title like that is “most valuable technology to do what?” followed by “most valuable according to who?”

Aside from the questions about the specific technologies, my post today is actually more about the format of these lists than anything else. Do you really think it is valuable to have a list of 300 links that has only the name of the website followed by a link and maybe a word or two about what it does? Do you really think I actually have the time to look at each of those links?

On top of this, when I do take the time to look at the links in these lists, usually about a third of the links are sites that cost money and provide a service that I can get for free on another site. Those that are free on the website might be valuable, or they might just be another website that does the same thing that 20 other sites on the list do.

In my humble opinion, these lists can be valuable. However, in order for there to be value in them, they need to be lists that have already been sorted and the entries go something like this –

here is the online bulletin board I like best (www.stixy.com), here are two others to try (www.spaaze.com and www.wallwisher.com)

– not a list of 20 different bulletin board sites that I have to sort through. Adding a few sentences about what the writer likes most about the site can be helpful. Adding information about the sites shortcomings are a must.

Please continue making lists, but consider your audience and how much time they have. If they are teachers, they have no time and need for your list to tell them exactly what site is best for what they are needing to do.

I know this will take the author a lot of time before publishing their lists. My suggestion would be to break down the lists. Instead of trying to publish one list with all the valuable sites on them, focus on one topic per list. Decide that you are going to do a list of the best digital storytelling sites, then a list of the best photo editing sites, etc.

If you never get around to listing the entire 533,334 sites, nobody will complain.

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