Jane Hart, of ELearn Magazine, recently published her top 100 technology tools for learning, after an extensive collection of data from 109 learning professionals. She asked these professionals to list their top 10 tools they used for personal learning/working and came up with a list of over 400 different tools, with 100 tools receiving three or more mentions. Those 100 tools became the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2007.
It’s interesting what Hart discovered from these data and her observations (from http://elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=articles&article=56-1):
- eLearning includes “information-sharing, communication, and collaboration.” It should not only be considered taking an online course.
- The tools submitted are being used for personal use as well as professional use.
- “Learning, working, and living are actually becoming one and the same thing.”
- Over 75 percent of the tools on the list are free, which is becoming a “significant factor.”
So here are the Top 10 Tools for 2007 and MY COMMENTS:
- Firefox: I have written a lot about Firefox and have encouraged you to download this web browser (getfirefox.com). I really like its interface, but especially its add-ons. You can find and search for Firefox add-ons at this URL: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/
- del.icio.us, a social bookmarking tool, is a great way to keep track of Internet sites (bookmarking). You can access your bookmarks from ANY computer, since they are stored online. Plus, your bookmarks are accessible by others, which can be a great way to collaborate and share information/research. Definitely a tool that should be used for collaborative student online research.
- Skype is a simply and easy way to talk and view others online using VOiP technology. I use it a lot at Boise State and am now just finding out about its powerful addons, such as conferencing. Some teachers here at BSU are using Skype to talk to distance students around the world. Definitely a great tool.
- Google Search: Google is also a verb “google it,” and just a great overall search engine. It allows you to search for images and also has topic specific search engines, such as Google Scholar (search for scholarly articles) and Google Blog (you can search for just blogs.)
- PowerPoint was 5th on the list, and I am beginning to now just understand its tremendous value besides being a presentation vehicle. It can also be used for graphic design, since many of its features are easier to use than Adobe Illustrator, for example. However, I would like to see PowerPoint being used to its greatest potential, using proven multimedia learning principles to make it more effective and useful for learners. (See 5 Ways to Reduce PowerPoint Overload.) We need to have workshops on this at BSU.
- WordPress: YEAH! That is the blogging service I am using for this blog. I LOVE IT.
- Gmail: Tied for 7th place with Google Reader. And now Gmail also uses iMAP procotol to integrate seamlessly with email clients, such as Thunderbird. What this means is that whatever you do with your gmail in Thunderbird (an email client that resides on your computer) is synchronized with your online gmail account. If you create a folder on your Thunderbird email client, it is also created on your web-based gmail account. Yeah . . . really cool.
- Google Reader, my favorite tool for subscribing to and reading RSS feeds. Has a search feature now and is very easy to use. (RSS feeds and how to use them is another workshop I’d like to see offered through BSU).
- Blogger, another blogging tool and great for posting podcasts (go to Freevlog to see how to create a video podcast and set it up on blogger.com. It’s really very easy and efficient.)
- Word was in 10th place, but Google Docs was close (no.14). Word and PowerPoint were the only two commercial tools in the Top 10 list. I can see why Word made it in this list, as it is probably the most-used software tool by educational professionals. I also must admit that now that I am used to Word 2007, I am quite impressed with its new capabilities. It is still my number one choice when I’m writing a scholarly paper.
There are other tools I’ll write about next week, and interestingly, just about all of them I’ve either written about in this blog or have used. There is one tool, however, that I am surprised did NOT get on the list: Zotero, a bibliographic management tool that instantly recognizes journal articles and other bibliographic content and formats it with just one click. Sound too good to be true? Try it out and you’ll be a believer. (By the way, it’s a Firefox add-on, so you’ll need to getfirefox to install it. Just another reason to start using the Firefox browser . . .)
Have a great weekend.