Thursday, 12 July 2012

My top 10 learning tools for 2012

I've made use of some fantastic learning tools in 2012, and it's only July! Although it's highly likely that a whole range of ridiculously clever tools will be invented before the end of the year here are my top ten learning tools to date:

1. Google Docs - the ease with which Google Docs enables online collaboration continues to amaze me. Collaborative editing of the same document in real-time? Incredible. And so easy to take for granted. The video Google Docs in Plain English provides a great overview.

2. Google Forms - I've only scratched the surface with these but Google Forms are superb. Especially when embedded n a VLE to obtain student feedback.

3. Screenflow - an excellent screencasting application for Mac users. Having just spent the last four days editing videos with it I dread to think what I would do without it. Version 3 has some great new features including annotations which make it even more of a one-stop-shop.

4. Mentormob - I came across this tool during one of Jane Hart's excellent online courses (more info available at her Social Learning Centre). I find the concept of a 'learning playlist' innovative and intriguing, and although my colleagues have some doubts over the appearance of the tool I suspect that it will evolve into something very useful.

5. Yammer - an awesome social networking application for organisations. The potential for Yammer and other social intranet tools to revolutionise communication in large organisations is enormous, and Yammer is such an easy-to-use yet powerful tool that I wonder if it will soon become as ubiquitous as Word and Powerpoint. Bit worried about its recent acquisition by Microsoft though...

6. Wordpress / Buddypress - a killer combination of blogs and social networking, but so flexible that this description doesn't really do it justice. Jane Hart's Social Learning Centre is but one excellent example of the ways in which Wordpress and Buddypress can support learning and collaboration.

7. Campus Pack - blogging and wiki application. Some may find this a surprising inclusion on this list, but the improvements made by the Campus Pack team with version 4 have turned it into a powerful learning tool. Great for setting up group blog/wiki activities, and their incorporation of an activity stream bodes well for the increasing 'socialisation' of this product.

8. Xerte - open source learning object creator from Nottingham University. A powerful learning object creator that is a useful tool for presenting information interactively.

9. Slideshare - great resource for sharing Powerpoint presentations. I must confess that a guilty pleasure is spending my lunchbreak browsing Slideshare - there are so many fantastic presentations! A real cornerstone of the Open Educational Resources movement, you should always check Slideshare before spending hours creating a presentation as someone may well have already done all the work!

10. Vimeo - video sharing made easy. Vimeo is a powerful tool for sharing videos and puts the user (and their rights) first. An excellent site for hosting and sharing video content.


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