Listly In The Classroom – What, How and Why?

For the 2013 Edublog Awards, we were excited to discover Listly to help with the voting process.

Listly is a free web tool that makes it easy to create, curate, collaborate, and share lists on the web. And even embed them in your blog!

We thought that our community might be interested in hearing some more information about this handy list creation tool, so we asked Nick Kellet, Co-Founder of Listly, if he could provide us with some details about the Listly service. We hope you enjoy reading through!

From Nick Kellet, CoFounder of Listly

Less Tools, More Applications: Why use Lists to Create, Curate & Collect.

People love lists of this fact there is no doubt.

We use lists to organize our lives.

We also love to read information in the form of lists. Publishers know we love to skim and share numbered lists (10 Ways to … etc).

List posts account for 30% of content on the web. In fact, lists attract more views and more shares than any other form of content.

Why Lists?

Well lists prove we are smart (we expect to 90% know what’s on the lists we read) and lists make us smarter (the 10% of the lists that surprises us educates us).

We only explore lists that map to our passions and hobbies.

Lists are an extension of our preference graph.

Lists have been part of the inception of the Web and HTML. Oddly lists have become forgotten by the technology that serves them to adoring readers. HTML lists are fiddly and hard to edit and make look consistently great. Worse still people don’t correctly tag their text and image  because it’s dull and repetitive.

Listly fixes that by making lists social and collaborate. Listly’s goal is elevates “lists” on a par with YouTube and Slideshare by making them embeddable and reusable by anyone.

Lists are one of the most useful metaphors on the web.

One Simple Tool, Three Great Applications: Create, Curate & Collect

Listly purposely blends three distinct concepts (or applications) into a single tool.

The rationale is simple. It’s easier to use one tool to create original content, curate existing content (yours and others) and to collect feedback from your audience and community.

Let me expand on those three definitions and then provide some practical examples.


Everything in the world of content begins with the creation of original content. There is no chicken and egg question. Creation comes first. Creation is how we communicate original ideas. Once ideas are created and shared a discussion can begin and curation can play a role. As content volume rise so does the need for curation.

If you want to say something truly original you need to create.


Curation has become very popular in the age of social (or the age of content explosion). The word and meaning of curation comes from the role of a museum curator. It’s not just about gathering resources to put in a museum, it’s about filtering / organizing to create an experience / story / memory for the visitor.

Curation is an art. Curation is a career. Curation is storytelling.

Many people forget the serious, challenging nature of curation.  Many think it’s gathering links. At one end of the spectrum I guess curation has come to mean nothing more than a form of sharing. That may be true, but don’t give up on the idea that curation is art.

The greatest curators create what seems like creation. That is the art.

Creation is often about standing on the shoulders of giants. It’s like building with lego blocks.

More people feel capable of curating, while creating and filling a blank page can be daunting.


Collecting feedback from people (your audience/community/team)  whilst technically easy, the reality of getting people to participate today is much harder.

It’s all about psychology.

There are essentially two dimensions to collecting feedback:

  1. Gathering new ideas (this is similar in part to curation, except that it’s crowd-based and collaborative)
  2. Ranking ideas (new and old)

When we gather feedback, we tend to do it for a purpose. We have an aim in mind. We want to tap into our community to gather a combination of their ideas and suggestions and their view on prioritization.

Collecting feedback is never fixed or rigid. You should always leave room for people to contribute.

People contribute and participate when they see others doing the same. You need to entice the lurkers to join in. You need to make to look and feel like fun.

The How and the What of using Social Lists to Create, Curate & Collect.

Previously I talked about why lists can be used as a solution to three distinct applications.

Now I’m going to drill into each of these topics.

Perhaps you’d like to join in. I’m going to list 5 ways to put Listly to work to create original work, curate existing content and to collect feedback from your students and your peers.

Here’s some examples

Create: Original Ideas & Forms of Self-Expression

Curate: Gather and Organize Existing Content

Collect: Feedback & Collaborate

What’s missing?

Which ideas to you like?

Vote up the best ideas and suggest omissions.

How else would you plan to use Listly in your classroom?

3 thoughts on “Listly In The Classroom – What, How and Why?

  1. Hi Tracy

    I don’t see any broken links. I don’t think I linked the items on the list to any specific content. Items on the list can link, but don’t have to.

    I just updated the lists on Listly to display in Magazine layout so you can see the images.


  2. Hi Elliott,

    I identify with the parallel you draw between curating information and curating art: “Many people forget the serious, challenging nature of curation. Many think it’s gathering links. At one end of the spectrum I guess curation has come to mean nothing more than a form of sharing. That may be true, but don’t give up on the idea that curation is art.” — When I worked in the Hackett-Freedman Art Gallery in San Francisco (1994), we’d spend much time curating our exhibits, like one big canvas, arranging our walls to provide an experience through our displays. Then there was a math formula that we followed as well, for proper positioning on the wall…. The beauty of this parallel, in my opinion, is the reward of collecting and sharing through creative expression — the labors of an artist is a joy viewed through the display. Thanks, Elliott, for making the point that there’s more to curating than just collecting and sharing.

    As to your question of which one I like best, I must confess, I am having difficulty opening the links to view them. Do you have any suggestions for me on how to do that? I would like to see the scope of what you are conveying here.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

    1. HI Tracy, Thanks for the feedback.

      Sadly I can’t take credit for the bulk of the article as it was contributed by Nick Kellet from Listly, but I definitely agree with your comments, curating is far more than link-fishing, which appears to be what many sites have been reduced to these days.

      Now the article has gone live, I must agree that the links appear to be glitchy, so I’ll get the team to take a look. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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