Top of the List?

The sources reviewed here are mostly chosen because of overall outstanding quality and usefulness for homeschooling. Today's choice leans mostly on the usefulness. Honestly, this YouTube channel would not be here except that it does what it does.

Really, Top List Videos is a nice idea. The channel walks through top 10 lists of primarily countries and cities that fit into many different categories while showing them in Google Earth. The 1 to 2-1/2 minute videos help viewers to visualize global statistics and relationships that we probably aren't cognizant of every day. Looking at things like top locations for tourism and cities with the most billionaires, kids (and adults) can be fascinated with what is coming next and attempting to guess what the top picks are going to be for a given list.

Additionally, repeated rotation between locations on the globe helps to make world geography familiar. Not only does this give context to city and country names and locations, but it also aids with a natural instinct for the character of land-masses.

Unfortunately, beyond the boundaries of usefulness and potential, this channel has a wide girth in the areas for improvement category. To begin with, it seems to have been abandoned in 2015, so the material is quite out of date. Someone obviously put work into it because there are a lot of videos here, but TLV was produced in a rather perfunctory manner, as if the map animations were just dropped into a template. Videos basically have the same background music slapped in repeatedly. Editing consists mostly of titles labeling the related locations, and countries named are difficult to recognize because their borders are typically extremely light. Simply hi-lighting the countries' borders could make a great improvement. This is all on top of the fact that there is no solid suggestion as to where any of the research data for the videos may have come from (TLV's web site does say it comes from their network and surveys, but there isn't much hint as to who they are).

As much as I would like to give this resource a positive review, we'll have to stick with saying Top List Videos can be useful. A fairly reasonable search has not revealed any similar alternatives and the channel has the appearances of being the only place you can find this type of video done in this way, so I use it for learning activities. If you know of something, it would be great to hear about over at the LearningWilds Facebook page. Otherwise, maybe updating and improving on it would make an interesting world geography project for a motivated learner out there.

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