06 May Top 10 Tools for Learning Professionals
I recently found out about this from a recent post on Phil Bradley’s weblog – a list of top tools for learning voted for by learning professionals (also a list of top tools for learners has been added), compiled by Jane Hart.
Phil’s post inspired me to think about what my current top 10 tools are, which I will shortly be sending to Jane who now accepts entries via Twitter.
My tools aren’t in any particular order, it was hard enough to decide on my top ten let alone rank them!
- WordPress – my blogging software of choice which just gets better and better with each update. I love how easy the admin interface is, and how customisable you can make your page with HTML and CSS. The plugins add extra functionality too such as the WPTouch plugin to create a view for iPhone/iPod Touch. I also use WordPress.com for blogging at work which is really easy to set up and administer.
- Netvibes – my homepage on all my browsers (I use Chrome, Firefox and Safari at the moment!). It has my key links (I hardly ever use browser bookmarks anymore), my webmail, RSS feeds, and my to-do list. My dashboard to pretty much everything on the web and available wherever I’m accessing the internet.
- Remember the Milk – I am a listaholic and am obsessed with organising my life with to-do lists. I use RTM for my to-do list at the moment, largely due to the excellent integration with Netvibes and the superb iPhone/iPod Touch app which is free with a premium RTM account. Toodledo is also excellent but I’m favouring RTM at the moment.
- Google Reader – like Phil Bradley, I used to be a fan of Bloglines, but recently changed to Google Reader and am happy with it. Again the big pull is integration with other systems such as Netvibes and my iPod Touch – I have the Feeds app on my iPod Touch which enables me to sync feeds and then read them offline on my commute to work.
- Google Search – this is something I hadn’t really thought about until I looked at items others had mentioned. I use Google search numerous times a day, whether it’s for looking up URLs, checking definitions, or trying to find information. I also use Google Scholar sometimes on the enquiry desk, particularly if I’m presented with an unusual enquiry.
- Twitter – my microblogging tool of choice and one of the main ways of networking with fellow librarians/information professionals. I also use it to keep in touch with some of my family members and friends, and find it an incredibly useful tool for sharing information. I’ve tried a few different tools for updating Twitter and currently use Tweetie on my iPod, Tweetdeck on my home PC, and Twitterfox/Netvibes on my work PC
- Delicious – I’ve been using Delicious to save useful bookmarks for a while now and although I don’t use it to manage my regularly accessed websites, I do use it to store useful sites I may want to refer to again, and use it to gather useful sites for projects/articles. I’ve also started using Delicious to share websites with students (I’ll write more about this in a blog post soon) I’ve recently tried Diigo although I haven’t fully explored that yet, but it looks very promising.
- Slideshare – great site for both sharing your own presentations and viewing other’s presentations. I’ve found this particularly useful as it’s being used more widely, and find myself often visiting Slideshare to see presentations of conferences and events I am unable to attend in person. Slideshare has also recently added the facility to upload other documents which I haven’t explored yet but am sure I’ll be experimenting with in future.
- Google Docs – I’ve only really used this for my own work at the moment (as opposed to collaborative work), but I hope to use it collaboratively in future. I do find it incredibly useful to be able to work on a document from any PC though, as I frequently lose track of which version I have stored on my USB when I’m working at home, work, and on the enquiry desk. The form element in Google Spreadsheets (which I notice Jane has used for the learners vote) is excellent; I recently used this to gather data from different work colleagues in a quick survey format.
- Fireshot – I struggled to choose between Fireshot, the Firefox screencapture tool, and Adobe Captivate, the screen recording software. I chose Fireshot as I use this most often, whether it’s for screenshots in leaflets/guides, on websites, or even to explain things via email. For a free tool it’s great, and combined with Portable Firefox I can use it on any PC.
What are your top ten tools? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, or if you are a learner or learning professional why not vote by following the instructions on the website or sending your top ten by Twitter.