Lists. Lists are engaging and easily trick your mind into a feeling of accomplishment. The quick and dirty nature of the Educause 7 things articles appeal to the time-crunch culture propagated by technologist blogs.
7 Things’ approach, a 2 page PDF published throughout the year, allows for analysis of trends as they arise as well as updates to previously covered material. This provides current, easily consumable information. The willingness to update previous overviews is beneficial as emerging technology does not always follow a predictable path. The main benefactors of this approach are people looking for an overview of current trends. With the basics of the article available in an abstract, the viewer is given the chance to reflect on the usefulness of the information before clicking through.
For any education professional making a pitch to a committee or potential employer, these articles provide an excellent base of knowledge. The case study introductions provide theoretical real-world situations to which the article contents pertain. These can be somewhat contrived, however, they serve to ground the full text for someone who is not well versed in the field and may question the relevance or practicality of the featured technology. While great for introducing ideas to more technologically removed individuals, Specialists may find it’s a good place to send people who ask annoying questions but will probably seek out more in-depth sources to further understanding and spark dialogue within their communities.
I would definitely use this as a starting point for research on a particular topic. The article publication date serves as a good indicator on when the technology first came to relevance within the Educause community, providing a timeline for research. Because of the approachable and concise nature of the articles, I feel it is a viable resource for anyone interested in education technology.