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Top 10 Tools for Learning 2009

October 20, 2009


I was inspired by Jane Hart to create my own list of “Top 10 Tools for Learning 2009”. Of course, when I started to write them out there were more than ten… so, for brevity’s sake, this list is from the perspective of the designer, developer, manager of online learning. These are the tools that I have turned to throughout the year to get the work done, and more importantly, to collaborate with others to get the work done. These tools also provide me with learning opportunities making me better at what I do.

  1. Google Apps – Particularly the Calendar and Documents, Spreadsheets to track dates and involve multiple people in the creation and review of content.
  2. Twitter/TweetDeck – I was reluctant to join in, but have been amazed at the amount of information, access to leaders in the field, and potential for professional development.
  3. Skype – Key for conference calls and instant messaging within workgroups. Highly recommend the Skype Number service .
  4. Firefox – You need a gateway to the Internet for all of this work and my personal preference is Firefox.
  5. Basecamp – Allows team members to post and reply to internal messages, work on asynchronous whiteboards, maintain version control of documents…
  6. Dimdim – The features of a synchronous system are not always required, but can’t be beat for walking someone through a product online. Elluminate and Adobe Connect also offer free accounts, but Dimdim works well and can ‘seat’ up to 20 in the free version.
  7. SurveyMonkey – Getting feedback from multiple parties, in an asynchronous manner, that provides easy to assess responses – an online survey tool can be very helpful. SurveyMonkey offers a free account that will serve the purpose of most development teams, but Google Forms is another nice option here.
  8. VoiceThread – This can be a great tool for students to present their projects, etc. in an online class, but I have also used it to demo course projects to other development team members when we are all in different locations.
  9. WordPress – I have found writing my own blog to be a learning process and that has led me to read others’ blogs as well. WordPress offers a super simple way to start a blog that looks great, with the potential to tweak and customize for those with more skills.
  10. Learning Management Systems – Maybe my 2010 list won’t include this, but it’s still a factor in my current course development efforts. I’ve used Sakai, Blackboard, e-College, and dabbled in WebCT and Moodle. The features are similar and provide a framework for delivering a formal course. WordPress has a lot of similar features as well.
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