Top 10 tools for 2008

I’ve been meaning to list my top 10 tools for Jane’s page for quite some time now. Inspired by the effort of my mate Steve Wheeler in listing his top 10, here they are – it was a hard fought contest as we saw so many great new tools emerge in 2008. Oh – and it doesn’t include the iPhone that came into my possession in November – without doubt THE best tool ever!!! And of course my 2007 favourites still remain: delicious, Facebook, flickr & Netvibes.

  1. Plurk: without doubt this is my favourite tool since it launched in about May 2008. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a micrblogging tool. You have 140 characters to tell people what you are doing – not too exciting so far! However, many people have taken microblogging & turned it into a way to share ideas & resources with others.  I’m connected to an amazing group of educators in many countries who freely share their thoughts & ideas & come to the rescue when anyone is looking for a particular resource. What I like about Plurk over Twitter (see next in the list) is that it encourages conversations amongst users. The fact that comments can be made in a drop down box under the original plurk makes it easy to collect thoughts on each particular topic.
  2. Twitter: another microblogging tool that appeared before Plurk. Your 140 character staements appear in a list down the page. I originally saw Twitter as a useless tool and am on the record for saying so. However, I’m also connected to a great group of people on Twitter who freely share their ideas. I’m caroldaunt on Twitter if you want to follow.
  3. PBwiki: I have wikis for everything from the business plan to project planning to my doctorate. This is a fabulous way to work collaboratively and share files with distributed teams. There are various free wiki platforms available but PB is my favourite.
  4. Ning: the app that allows you to build your own social network. I belong to numerous Ning groups where like-minded people exchange ideas and resources. I’ve set up a Ning for our Learning Technologies Group and we always have one to support our Learning Technologies Conference.
  5. Google Docs: I’ve really been using Google docs in a big way in the past year. We’ve used them for shared ‘Word’ documents that we can work on collaboratively and also as ‘Forms’ to gather information from people – which then goes automatically into a spreadsheet.
  6. FriendFeed: a social-network-activity aggregator that acts like a funnel for all the updates from my various networks and brings them into one master stream, relieving me of the responsibility of visiting a dozen or more sites. You can follow my FriendFeed directly if you’re not connected to me in any other way.
  7. Slideshare: I’ve been a member of Slideshare since early 2007, but only started using it in earnest during 2008. It allows me to post my slide shows for others to see, but, more importantly, allows me to find great slideshows from others. There’s some amazing infromation there and all free of charge.
  8. Scribd: where I place my documents so others can read them online or download them. It’s also a great place to find articles and papers written by others.
  9. Animoto: a terrific little app that allows you to create videos from photos and/or text. You upload your photos – choose a piece of music & Animoto does the rest. You can make a 30 second version free of charge or pay $3 for a longer version. You can direct people to your video on the Animoto site, embed it in other websites and download a copy. Click here to see a fun one I made for my Plurk buddies for Christmas.
  10. Live Blogging: we experimented with Cover it Live’s new live blogging tool for the Learning Technologies Conference this year. It worked a treat and allowed those both on and off site to get a running commentary of selected sessions and to interact real-time with our live blogger. Click here for an archived version of the George Siemen’s session.

That’s it for 2008 – if you haven’t tried any of the above, I hope you enjoy experimenting with them.

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4 responses to “Top 10 tools for 2008

  1. I would absolutely agree with you that these are great options. Your posting has motivated me to brainstorm a Top 10 list of tools too.

    I want to express my appreciation for you taking time out of your day to visit with my pre-service students about technology in education and flattening the globe via social networking.

  2. Great Dean – can’t wait to see your favourites. Happy to talk to your students any time 🙂

    Thanks for being a great plurkie & sharing all your great ideas & resources.

  3. Thanks for the great tools.

    Hadn’t heard of Animoto until I read your post.

    Useful tool to know… will be experimenting.

    Once again, thank you…:-)

  4. How did you miss Animoto in Plurk Abi – it’s been the talk of the town for months. Hope you enjoy playing with it. I actually took out an annual subscription it was only about $40 & I can make unlimited full length vids.

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