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.