My Top 10 Tools of 2010-11

Sculpture at the Business School, University of Hull.
Two heads are better than one.

Helen Davies, one of our Learning Support Team, has put out a call for the annual top 10 tools at Swansea University. A now annual survey that was inspired by Jane Hart’s long-running survey.

As I’ve just come out of a busy teaching term, my list reflects the tools that have dominated my course preparation, delivery and assessment.

  1. My browser (Firefox or Chome used about equally!)
  2. Blackboard – I practically live there in term time!
  3. Camtasia Studio for Mac — the easiest way to do lecture capture screencasts live!
  4. Learning Objects Podcast Tool — the easiest way (in Blackboard) to get your screencasts and lectures on-line.
  5. iPhone – + iTunes for podcasts and screencasts, vital for my own personal learning.
  6. — my own hosted domain!
  7. WordPress — I’ve moved my blog over from Blogger this year.
  8. DokuWiki — quite a lot of my course materials live here
  9. Perltrees — great for sharing and presenting web sites 10.Diigo — superset of Delicious.

Order is roughly in the order of amount of time spent in each one.

Just outside the top 10 I’d put my Echo smart pen (still has lot of potential I think) and my new Kindle which I’ve used extensively for my own education this year! I also spend an awful lot of time in email and MS Office but not I suspect because it makes me more productive. I’ve just switched from Entourage on the Mac to ThunderBird.

Reflecting on the academic year as a whole I’d say that some of my previous top 10 have dropped out of the charts mostly because of lack of time. However, slideshare, twitter (tweetdeck), facebook, google reader, and google docs still have an important role in my work.

During the PLENK course twitter, facebook, flickr and Moodle made a big contribution to my PLE, but I’ve found myself using social networks less and less as the pressures of teaching and to a lesser extent admin have taken over in 2010-11.

One to watch: Wolfram Alpha and the associated iPhone/iPad apps.