Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 list

Jane Hart annually releases her "The Top 100 Tools for Learning" list, and the 2012 one has just been posted.
This year’s Top 100 Tools for Learning list (the 6th Annual Survey) has been compiled from the votes of 582 learning professionals worldwide – 55% working in education, 45% working in non-educational organizations.

The top tool for the 4th year running is Twitter, with both YouTube (2nd) and Google Docs (aka Google Drive)  (3rd) retaining their places for the 3rd year in succession.
Next in line in the top 10 are Google Search, WordPress, Dropbox, Skype, PowerPoint, Facebook, and Wikipedia. You can view the list either as this Slideshare (with commentary on each) or as a textual list.

In both formats, she indicates whether its primary use is for personal/professional, educational, or enterprise contexts.

I did participate in the voting, but a couple of my favorites didn't make the list. Some comments:
  • Dropbox (#6) is fine, but I much prefer SugarSync. (Disclaimer: Those links should get both you and me a little extra space. Thanks!) You get 5GB free instead of just 2GB. More helpfully, SugarSync allows you to point to existing folders on your system with which you can sync on another system. Dropbox requires you to create a special folder to drop things in. Personally, I use SugarSync to keep my notes and user-modified files in BibleWorks, Logos, and Lightroom synced. Both programs also have mobile apps so that I can access files from my smartphone. Don't forget Microsoft's SkyDrive (#98 on the list) which offers 7GB free and allows you to edit Microsoft docs online. In addition to syncing, remember that these services also provide backup for your data.
  • If you want a different look than PowerPoint (#8), try Prezi (#14).
  • I still use Skype (#7), but Google+ Hangouts (#17) has some distinct advantages, especially for allowing multiple video feeds.
  • I really like Diigo (#18) as a social bookmarking tool, and I've tried to get my students to collaborate on using it for creating bibliographies for a class or topic, but it apparently requires some discipline to use it regularly.
  • Ok, I'm on Pinterest (#36), but I still don't really get it... I also wonder about LinkedIn (#23). Are most people on it simply because they are afraid they're missing something if they are not on it? I set up an account long ago, but I don't pay it much attention.
  • One tool I'm checking out that isn't on the list is Netvibes. I have loved using my iGoogle homepage, but with it being vaporized in a year, I'm looking for an alternative. Netvibes is one possibility. (Any one using this and having a good experience with it?)
  • The really significant omission on the list is Zotero. I have come to use this nearly daily as a way to organize books, articles, PDFs, and web pages I come across. It's such an outstanding bibliographic tool. I did buy the Scanner for Zotero app for my Droid X, so I'm prepared for Society of Biblical Literature meeting this year. (I had mentioned this after last year's SBL as a better way of making note of the books I saw there.) Zotero also allows for collaboration with the sharing of libraries, so it's one way I share my bibliographies with my students and allow them to add to it. (There are Zotero mobile apps for other platforms too.)
So, check out Jane Hart's C4LPT blog, and if you are looking for some tech tool to accomplish a task, her site is a great place to look. Especially check out her "Best of Breed" categorized list.

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