Friday, October 23, 2009

Top Ten Tech Tools (Fall 2009)

For the past few years now, Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has been compiling lists of preferred e-learning tools, including my Top Ten Learning Technologies.

In revising my list for Fall 2009, it's happened again, that free web-based tools dominate my list. To shake things up a bit, I've done some thinking about the tools I use most frequently, and I've decided it's time to rank my top 10 in order.

1. Firefox: Recognizing that so many of my favourite tools exist on the World Wide Web, I've got to lead off in referencing my browser of choice. Although other browsers can fill in in a pinch, I currently do much of my professional learning within the tabs of Firefox.

2. G-Mail: Simple, reliable, sortable, with effective filters (including spam filters) and plenty of room for large files and archives. Now that my professional and personal calendars have been ported to Google Calendar, along with my Task lists, Gmail has become the hub of my 'cloud office'.

3. Tweetdeck: While Twitter remains the lead tool I use to connect with educators around the world, I'm still hooked on Tweetdeck as my choice for keeping in touch with my personal learning network. On my iPhone, I continue to use Twitterific.

4. Compfight: I continue to make frequent use of Flickr's Creative Commons, but the elegant, user-friendly tool I use to access images, is Compfight.

5. Garageband: Having produced 200 episodes of my podcast, Teacher 2.0 I'm now working with students to produce engaging audio announcements. Surpassing Audacity and other audio-editing tools, Garageband remains a staple in my e-learning toolbox. I also use Libsyn and iTunes in my podcasting, but I can't yet justify listing these tools in my top ten.

6. Blogger: Although I've been publishing less frequently, this tool is still my favourite choice for hosting my blog: The Clever Sheep.

7. Keynote: Using a Zen approach, most of my presentations are light on text and heavy on graphics. It's the stunning templates, engaging transitions, and exports to clickable movie files, that lead me to favour Keynote as my favourite presentation tool. My completed sliseshows are often posted on Slideshare, another online tool that just missed making my list.

8. Skype: In communicating with educators around the world, it seems almost too easy to engage in rich conversations for free, courtesy of Skype. Although I also use Google Video Chat, Adobe Connect, iChat, and DimDim, the recent addition of screen-sharing to Skype, makes it my number one tool for connecting!

9. ScreenFlow: Optimized for OSX 10.5, I still love to make use of the most polished screen capture utility available. It's the best tool out there for creating engaging software demos and tutorials, but it remains a Mac-only option.

10. WetPaint: With so many of my projects calling for collaborative development of e-learning solutions, I continue to make regular use of WetPaint. With free sites for educators, and unparalleled community tools, WetPaint wikis are the backbone of Twitter for Teachers, and The Golden Fleece Wiki.

Honourable Mention: Posterous has the potential to become one of the top wiki/blog tools I'll be using at school. Working to engage students and teachers in the creation of e-portfolios, it's the most polished and user-friendly tool I've seen.

Photo Credit: Suzie T
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