Friday, August 10

Top 100 Tools For Learning

This TOP 100 list has been compiled from the TOP 10 FAVOURITE TOOLS lists of many (target +100) learning professionals (consultants, analysts, developers, practitioners, academics, etc) who responded to Jan Knight's open invitation. This list (together with the collection of Top 10 Tools list) is proving to be a popular resource to find out about the wide range of tools that can be used in a learning context - whether it be for personal learning or for creating learning for others - and demonstrates that e-learning is much much more than online courses.
Jane Knight (Learning Guru) and her team (I assume) has started a wonderful initiative (Simply Yummy), which can open our mind to what kind of tools that we can use to facilitate learning and why the learning experts chose them. Although, the top 100 list is certainly interesting (to basically know what tools are available and their ranking), I personally find it more stimulating and interesting to explore what the individual learning experts such as Stephen Downes, Jay Cross, and Clive Shepherd have chosen as their top 10 learning tools and importantly their straight-to-the-point justifications and reasons (Why?) for their selections. Also, you are recommended to check out the Learning Toolbox, which offers recommendations and suggestions for tools to use for different learning activities (It could save you from a lot of time-wasting on trial-and-error).
Thanks to Jane's brilliant initiative (and idea I assume) we can acquire some constructive feedback from learning experts on learning tools without requiring to invest any mega bucks. Now, that itself is simply a Yummy Idea (at least for us)! Not only that, if we want to participate with our top 10 learning tools list, we can by simply clicking here :)
Here is my top 15 learning tools list (including short Why's):
  1. Internet Explorer (IE)
    Yes, Firefox is ranked number one on the Top 100 list. I have tried using Firefox for a few months early 2007, but I suppose I have gotten too used to IE and its "Favorites" management. I simply find it difficult quitting IE. I suppose after all these years using IE as my main browser to the knowledge galaxy it is difficult to let go. Though, I have both of them running on my PC, so I suppose sooner or later I will join the Firefox bandwagon (when it conquers IE in my mind).
  2. Google Search
    Videos (including YouTube), Glossary, Scholar, Blogs, Groups, Anything underneath the sun (especially for general stuff), etc. Googling is part of our life today. I wish I had more time to visit the traditional library.
  3. Moodle
    An Awesome course management system! The more you use it, the more you love it. Who said that open source is of no quality? It is simply an excellent tool to facilitate online learning (wikis, blogs, forums, chat, Instant Messaging, quizzes, polls, journals, database, e-books, basic content management, WYSIWYG editor, Item analysis, etc).
  4. PowerPoint
    Although, some instructional designers might hate it, it is still the most widely used tool by educators to prepare their lecture/tutorial presentations (and also use as e-learning content). Why? It enables you to do amazing stuff without much effort or skills. Also, with plug-ins like Adobe Breeze and Articulate you are empowered to construct dynamic multimedia audio-based Flash-light presentations. The only sucker with this tool is that it is not free. Also, Apple dudes would probably argue that Apple's presentation software is better (Since I have not tried it, I cannot comment).
  5. Word
    Although, we have online processors like Buzzword and GoogleDocs, I still prefer to do most of my writing using Microsoft Word. However, you never know in the future, as these online processors continue to evolve and the Internet becomes easier to access.
  6. Google Reader
    Manages my RSS collection online. Since I discovered this tool I have given up on PC-based RSS tools. Now I can access my RSS collection on any computer device. Yummy!
  7. Gmail
    Easy-to-use, storage galore, no folders, search, and NO annoying video-based advertisements, entertainment and news like Yahoo and MSN mail. We are there to read/write our e-mails, not view news and entertainment (Be more creative in creating revenue), which we can get elsewhere (Think speed and ease-of-use when it comes to e-mail). Sometimes, all-in-one frustrates! The only reason why Gmail is not ranked higher, is because I still use my office mail a lot.
  8. Wikipedia
    Simply a massive wonderful disruptively fast growing learning resource (encyclopaedia), which you can find articles on basically everything. I suppose is also worth mentioning, but without Wikipedia it would hardly be any answers in it.
    Excellent social bookmarking site. Saves me time to find juicy stuff.
  10. Blogger
    I suppose there are better blogging tools around, but I am kind of new to using blogs, so I will have to go with this one until I get a bit wiser.
  11. Slideshare
    Can store my PowerPoint slides (and other formats) online easily. Also, it is a super site to visit to learn the art of crafting a presentation. When I first visited this resource, I realized I have a long way to go to create great presentation slides (with learning outcomes). In short, it is a wonderful place to explore and be inspired by amazing works of art that strike a point (impact and learning outcomes).
  12. Google Notebook
    This is really an excellent research tool enabling you to browse, clip, and organize information from across the web in a single online location that's accessible from any computer.
  13. Google News
    It enables you to search and browse more than 4,500 news sources updated continuously according to different countries and categories like Sports, Sci/Tech, World, etc. Besides checking the regular news sites, I use this tool regularly to keep myself updated with the latest developments around the world. The Global/Local (Glocal) News RSS!
  14. Vivisimo Search
    Automated clustering (into folders) of search results (sometimes it clusters unexpected folders, helping me explore other dimensions of the original search).
  15. FreeMind
    A free and simple-to-use mind mapping software. I suppose the commercial ones are better, but to me it provides sufficient features to create a simply mind map of whatever you want to mind map.

In short, learning tools that enable you to easily create, share, communicate, collaborate, discuss, analyze, evaluate, aggregate, synergize, and find stuff are juicy tools of today and the future :)

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