DAILY INSIGHT: No more lists!

What is the fascination with lists? 
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What is the fascination with lists? 

By Trevor Hope, CIO Advisor

It seems as though every time I visit an edtech site, or especially when I attend a conference having to do with technology and education, there are sessions and articles devoted to lists. The top 10 apps for educators, the top 15 chrome extensions for teaching art, 12 websites that will transform your teaching or the one I love most: the top 10 apps of the year in education.

There are so many tools out there, and I applaud people sharing them, but why is your list the top 10 and how do I know that all of those will work for me? The explosion has occurred over the last couple of years with apps from Apple’s app store becoming increasingly popular along with Android apps and even the Google add-ons and Chrome extensions. How does someone know what the top apps or websites were in education the past year? They may be popular, but do they actually work well in everyone’s classroom?

Colleagues, teachers, and administrators are constantly forwarding me links to these lists. What I would prefer is an article and even a lesson on how this person used even one of the tools on their list. I attended a conference last week that had a session called 50 apps in 50 minutes. I walked out after a few minutes because there was no way I would be able to discern between the different apps and what they are used for after 50 minutes. I think 5 apps in 50 minutes might have been more appropriate.

We as educators and technology professionals need to share with each other to keep our heads above water with everything new coming at us. However, my top 10 list may not work for you, you may only like 3 of them, which in my mind would be a win. Teachers and us administrators are busy enough with all the new initiatives today; do we need to keep throwing list after list after list?

Instead of focusing on quantity, let us focus on the quality of our tools and give narratives on how they worked, or sometimes even better—why they did not work for you. So, let's let Letterman keep the Top 10 to himself, and let's make a promise to each other to focus on the content and the details.

Stay tuned for my next blog, “The Top 10 Tech Tools for Tech Administrators.”

Trevor Hope is director of technology at Mount Prospect School District 57 in Illinois. Follow him on Twitter as @trevhope.