Top tools for e-learning

For a while now Jane Hart over at Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day has been collecting the top 10 favourite tools of a range of people involved in e-learning.

These have been compiled into a top 100 from, would you believe it, a directory of over 2,000! Anyway, I'm proud to say that I have now also contributed my own top 10 to the collection. I think this is a great idea so do check out the collection. The collection of 2,000 is also categorized, so if you are looking for something particular, like a tool for blogging, (there are more than 70 of those) or a Virtual World tool (there are 31 in this category alone!) then it's a great place to look. Anyway, if you'd rather not go through all those at the moment, here's a look at the 10 I submitted as my top 10 tools.

Nik's Top 10 Tools as at 20 March 2008

  1. Blogger: This is my basic essential survival tool for writing my blogs. As I look around more I realise it's probably not the best tool in the world for creating blogs, but it's certainly an easy tool to use and one that does the job well and doesn't cost anything.
  2. Second Life: I seem to have gotten drawn into Second Life, despite the fact that it's far from my favourite virtual world, and I now rent my own office space there. I was drawn in by an increasing amount of course design work that I get related to it and a fascination with the interface and the illusion of 3D. Great place to take a meeting too, much prefer it to using Skype.
  3. NVU: This is a new tool that I've started using recently for web management and development. I have been using DreamWeaver for quite some time, but decided to make the switch to a free tool that I could use on both PC and MAC as my copy of DreamWeaver became increasingly out of date and unstable. So far it's worked out pretty well and the learning curve has been quite simple to deal with.
  4. Instapaper: This is another free tool which I use almost every day. It's a sort of cross between a temporary favourites page and an annotation / bibliography tool. It creates a small plug in for my Firefox task bar and whenever I spot something I want to read I click on a read later button which saves the link to my Instapaper page. Then when I have some time I can go back and read through the articles and either delete them, annotate them as a bibliography or just leave them as read.
  5. Stumble upon: This is one of my favourite plug ins for Firefox. It's a great way to find new sites and I use it when ever I have a free moment. You can create your own favourites page and share the sites you find as well as adding new sites and reviewing them. But the best feature is just clicking on the Stumble button and looking at random sites that matches my interest criteria
  6. Google Browser sync for Firefox: This is another great plug in for Firefox and it enables me to sync history, favourites, passwords etc across my Firefox browser on any computer. I frequently have a MAC and PC running at the same time and so this keeps all my browser information synchronised without me having to do anything apart from install the plug in.
  7. Google analytics: This is a great way to track stats for websites and blogs etc and it's free. The information is a lot more accurate and in depth than many paid for tools and gives me loads of information about my site content, where my visitors are coming from and what they are looking at etc. I'm addicted to it!
  8. Hottnotes: Juggling lots of different projects along with family commitments and running my own business can get a bit overwhelming sometimes. Hottnotes really helps me keep on top of things and remember those meetings and phone conferences. I can create post-it type reminders for my desk top or to-do lists and program them to remind me when specific tasks should be done. Essential stuff, just a shame there isn't a MAC version.
  9. BBFlashback: This is the only tool in my top 10 that I have actually paid for. It's a software tool for recording screen cast tutorials and I've used it for all of the tutorials on my blog. It's easy to use, reliable and adding branding, call-outs and audio is all pretty easy. It also exports to a lot of different formats including Flash swf files and avi files. I can also import short avi video files made on my digital camera and edit them and then export them to Flash (I find that useful honest!)
  10. My Yahoo Feed Reader: I'm sure this probably isn't the best feed reader in the world but MyYahoo homepage is what I started with and I've got comfortable and stuck with it. RSS is one of those really big time savers and I can scan all of the new content on my favourite sites and blogs in just a few minutes and pick out the things I'm interested in reading, not to mention my horoscope and world news. It's saved me hours of going from site to site.
Hope you enjoy these.