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Top 10 Tools for Learning – 2010

June 17, 2010

Once again, Jane Hart is asking all of us to submit our individual top 10 lists so that she can compile and report on the “Top 100 Tools for Learning”, this time the 2010 edition. So, here’s my list (in no particular order) from my perspective as a designer, developer, manager of online courses. These are the tools that I have turned to most often this year to get the work done, and more importantly, to collaborate with others to get the work done. It’s only June, so this might be worth another look a little closer to the end of the year.  

  1. Google Docs – Using these more and more with faculty SMEs to map out course content and with colleagues to write papers and conference proposals.
  2. Twitter – Just marked my first year on Twitter and I am still enjoying it – the constant flow of information and resources. Getting better at curating my list.
  3. Skype – I work remotely and use the Skype Number service as my office phone number. Works well and is very affordable. Also use the instant messaging and conference calls for quick questions with teammates.
  4. Basecamp –  This online project management system allows team members to post and reply to internal messages, work on asynchronous whiteboards, maintain version control of documents… and they are adding new features and capabilities all the time.
  5. Adobe Connect – The features of a synchronous system are not always required, but can’t be beat for sharing screens and walking through a product or document. Adobe Connect’s not my favorite of these systems, but it’s the one I’ve used the most this year. Adobe Connect Now has been great for small meetings (up to 3 people).
  6. WordPress – Still using WordPress for my blog and looking at moving to the self-hosted version.  After attending a WordCamp event I am even more convinced that this is the tool of choice for blogging and that there is potential for use as an LMS/CMS…
  7. Learning Management Systems – A broad category, yes, and still on my list in 2010. 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. I realize there is a lot of debate out there about the need for a system like this, but there’s something to be said for the ability to add structure and organization.
  8. Slideshare – A nice tool for sharing presentations that are easy to embed in blog posts, course web pages, etc. with active links. Twice this year I’ve used slideshare to share a presentation before and after synchronous conference sessions. Also easy to add to your LinkedIn profile or VisualCV.
  9. Google Search – I’ve experimented a little with Bing, but Google Search is my favorite search engine and the one I use 99.99% of the time.
  10. Aggregators, all kinds – I add this as another broad category to include tools like TweetDeck, Google Reader, The Twitter Time.es, Meebo, Delicious, Acamedes, etc. Information overload is upon us and I am starting to find these tools more useful all the time to help me sort through information, share information, and manage incoming and outgoing communication with my network.

A bonus: Creative Commons licenses. This isn’t a technology, I suppose, but it is a tool that is helpful in my field. There is a lot of debate currently about open educational resources and how they can be and should be used in different contexts. These licenses at the very least offer us all a way to clearly indicate how we intend our materials to be used.

Did you submit your top 10 list for 2010? How does your list differ from mine?

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