Lists of lists of lists

by P

Fiona King sent me an email about launching a list of “100 Resources for Teaching Without Textbooks“. Enabling teachers to teach without textbooks has an ironic twist in South Africa, where many teachers don’t have the choice – and are already teaching without textbooks. Unfortunately, they also lack Internet access, so these resources won’t improve education in townships very much. But that’s not what this is about!

I am torn between wanting more of these lists of resources, because there is always something new and exciting to be found in them, and wanting less of these lists, because it takes a lot of time to look through 100 resources, and what I really want is someone else to tell me which ones are the top 5 (3? 10?) tools and give me a little more information on how to use them. It seems that increasingly the value is in the content that helps me find what i want, rather than the content that i think I want, because often, there are lots of almost equally good alternatives for what I want. At least when it comes to online content – It’s totally different for food, where the cheesecake at Birds remains unrivaled.

In the UNESCO OER Toolkit discussion, I posted a question about collecting resources and making sure they are appropriate, updated regularly, and annotated so that readers have to spend less time reviewing these resources. Unfortunately, it was not a topic that sparked many responses – maybe because reviewing, annotating, and updating links is simply hard work, and does not lend itself as nicely to community-based collaboration models. There is of course, but its ranking mechanism is too crude for the particular purpose of the OER Toolkit.