Friday, July 24, 2015

Listly for Educators


Listly for Educators
by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com



Why Listly? Creation, Curation and Usability

Recently I’ve begun using Listly more and more. It’s a website and tool for making lists. But it’s much more than that. Listly is a way to gather resources and share them with others. It’s a versatile visual way to create all sorts of lists that curate the resources, or groups of resources, you gather. Listly enables the gathering of resources via a bookmarklet in your browser toolbar. If you find something, you click the bookmarklet and Listly prompts you to add it to the correct list on your own Listly page. Here’s a variety of ways to use Listly created by the Listly blog.

One of the things Listly does here at The Book Chook is make it easy for me to round up articles I’ve written according to a theme. For example, I can make a list of blog posts I’ve written with tips for young writers. Then I simply grab that list’s embed code from Listly, write an introduction and publish both as a new blog post. When I write other articles that fit this theme, I add them via my browser bookmarklet to the original list at Listly and that updates my blog post list with the new content. So Listly is working well for me as a blogger in the education arena to curate my own content. I particularly value this because when you’ve been writing as long as I have, content tends to get buried, and Listly helps me and my readers keep track of it.

I used Listly to make my lists of Book-related Special Days that I hoped would be useful to educators. Because I wanted to have the list in calendar order, I employed the editing feature of Listly that allowed me to drag List items into a different place. I chose to display the List minimally, so it would take up least space, but Listly also offers highly visual displays too, including the newly introduced Slideshow.

Listly offers ways for readers to interact with List content but I have found that isn’t important to me. Readers tend to email me if they have suggestions for additions to my Lists. When I first started with Listly, I had a question for Support and was impressed with how quickly it was answered. @Listly even tweet my content occasionally which I really appreciate.

As educators know, there are lots of online spaces where we can curate resources. Each has its strengths. I find I tend to get less distracted on Listly than I do on Pinterest, so I am using it more “seriously” than I do Pinterest. Now that Pinterest has changed its terms so that people need to join to view content, I value that Listly allows anyone to view Lists unless they are made private. I usually make a list private (Premium feature I think) until I finish the initial build, then change the permission in settings. If you have a school or class blog set up on the WordPress platform, there’s also a useful Listly plugin.

One drawback I find to Listly is that once a List reaches a certain number that you can set, it goes to a new page. Someone browsing your List needs to navigate to that page via an arrow bottom right. New users may not be aware of that, and so think the List is much shorter. You do need to be over 13 to use Listly, but I think it might prove useful to older students as a way of gathering resources they need for an assignment.

To see some of the public Lists I’ve made, check out my page on Listly (pictured above.)  Note that many of my Lists are to help me write blog posts e.g. When I write a new article, I can refer to other articles without adding them manually, just by adding a List e.g. Creating with Children and iPad Apps. Or I can write a short introduction, and add resources in the format of a List. Some of my Lists are a combination of links to other websites and links to my own relevant articles e.g. Image Resources to Help Educators.

Takeaway points:

Listly is quick.

Listly is embeddable.

Listly is at a glance.

Listly is free, apart from certain Premium features. (I now pay for Premium features, mostly because I think it’s worth it, and to support a project that works well for me.)

If you’re an educator, I believe Listly is a worthwhile, versatile and fast curation tool for you to consider.

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