Embarrassed by my failure to vote in local Wisconsin elections yesterday, I am pondering my vote for Jane Hart’s annual Top 100 Learning Tools. This semester I have made the time to examine each of the tools listed, committed myself to extensively investigating the usefulness to me of ten of them, and encouraged my student research students to incorporate those they found most useful into their Pioneering a Virtual European Cultural Experience Project. Concomitantly I continue to search for the right balance between life on the net and disconnecting through making time for off-line reading, reflecting, relating (interesting typo: “realating” as opposed to “virtual” relating) , and writing.  I must that confess my writing while NOT using a computer has become a rarity. At the top of my short-list of reading this summer are The Googlization of Everything:And Why We Should Worry), To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

How do I go about defining my “top 10 learning tools”? One answer is to identify which of the tools I use most often. Put another way, which tools have become so part of my academic life that I don’t notice their importance to me unless they are inaccessible? These would clearly be 1) Twitter (which I have finally discovered how to tame and put to use), 2) WordPress (to which I have converted), 3) Skype (about which I have much yet to learn), 4) Facebook (which I may soon abandon), 5) Diigo —through which fellow educators—especially K-12—continue to teach me), 6) Microsoft Word, 7) Ted (which amazes and inspires me—but which also often mesmerizes rather than encourage interaction), 8) my Ipads (and my increasingly expanding  library of apps with unknown half-life), 9) Google Chrome (though I migrate across five or 6 different browsers depending upon the browser default of the computer I am using) , and 10) Survey Monkey.

Which learning tools are most likely soon to join the category of essential (and “invisible) to m ? My guess is that some of them be identified through the experiences of my students and others as I complete three  research projects this semester (answering Jane Hart’s Top 10 challenge, completing my instructional/mentoring role of the Virtual Cultural Immersion Project and completion of my review of all the apps I’ve accumulated on my Mac and IPads).

I’ll address each of  these issues soon in subsequent posts.

Still pondering; always learning. Your comments and feedback are most welcomed.


Posted by Professor David Simpson

Professor of Psychology, Carroll University (USA), Lover of Dogs, Reading, Teaching and Learning. Looking for ways to enhance cross-global communication and to apply technology learning tools. Interested in brain health maintenance, brain fitness training, and truth in advertising.


  1. The top 10 tools from Jane Hart’s list that I think are most effective whether for our course or for individual purpose include 1. Ning 2. Google Search 3. YouTube 4. iPad and Apps 5. Google Docs/Drive 6. Word (Microsoft Office) 7. Twitter 8. Ted Talks (this is used in some of my classes by professors when a talk is similar to a topic we are discussing) 9. GMail 10. Learnist

    1. I appreciate your thoughtful response and the fact that you see your chosen tools as valuable for your own personal learning outside of our research project together. Be sure to use and share them in your graduate school work in the Fall. I was thrilled at the quality of your presentation today with your five fellow students in front of faculty and at how well you weaved the utility of these tools into your presentation.

  2. The top ten tools that I have found the most effective include 1) Ning 2) GoogleDocs 3) the iPad along with the various apps 4) Google Search 5) Youtube 6) Prezi 7) iDoneThis because it helps keep track of what everyone is doing 8) VoiceThread 9) Word and 10) Camtasia, which I think would be beneficial in demonstrating how to use the different software programs

    1. Your feedback is helpful. I must confess that IDoneThis, though annoying, has been a useful nudge for me. I love Camtasia—I so underutilize.

  3. I think that we can find some germane TED Talks.
    I’ll look forward to learning of your experience with FlipBoard.

  4. The top ten tools that I’ve been using for creating the European Immersion course are 1. GoogleDocs 2. Ning 3. Skype/Oovoo 4. iPad and apps 5. Firefox 6. Google search 7. TED talks (not for this course, but in general very interesting) 8. YouTube 9. Facebook 10. flipboard ( which I’m just learning about).

  5. I’ll be interested in your relative preference of Pinterest and Learnist. I favor the latter but have a hypothesis why you might favor the former. Jane Hart in Eric forthcoming Ebook does a nice job comparing them.

  6. Phoumany Phouybanhdyt April 4, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    For me.. my top 10 tools would be: 1.) Google Docs 2.) Google Search 3.) Ning 4.) iPad and Apps 5.) Youtube 6.) Learnist 7.) Pinterest? (which I want to look into.. I saw it on the list and it may function similarly to a Learnist?) 8.) Twitter 9.) Facebook 10.) Word

  7. I appreciate your insights.

  8. The top ten tools I have had to use in creating the European immersion course have been 1) Twitter 2) Ning 3) Youtube 4) Google Search 5) Skype and Oovoo 7) Itranslate and other types of online translators 8) Google Doc 9) Facebook and last but not least 10) ipad/iphone which brings these all together on one compiled device.

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