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In my teaching, research, writing and consulting I try to be a bridge-builder across admittedly different disciplines, cultures, and age groups. I enjoy reading the Harvard Business Review as well as Psychological Science. I just had accepted for publication a book review of Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science. I currently am learning much from Andrew Macarthy‘s 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advise, Hints, and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More! I am making more use of Linda.comAnd I follow with admiration the efforts of Jane Hart to expand the ways that learning can take place in the workplace.

In concert with Michelle Pacansky-Brock‘s Best Practices for Teaching with Emergency Technologies, Susan Manning and Kevin E. Johnson’s The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching, Steve Johnson’s Digital Tools for Teaching, and Alec Couros’ Becoming a Networked Learner, these resources have demonstrably changed how I teach, how I learn, and how I “reach out” to others  via social media. Clearly, as Curtis J. Bonk has evangelized,  my world has been opened and expanded.

Over the past decade I been enriched by discovering, testing, curating and using a number of “technology learning tools” identified by Jane Hart. My students and I are soon to release a series of ebooks sharing how we use these tools. The challenge is to find balance between tool use and the tools controlling the user. For a horrific example of such a dystopia I recommend your reading Dave Eggers novel The Circle.

Though I have explored every year each of the 100 learning tools,  I have no “favorite” tool. Which tool I use most is very much a function of the learning/teaching task I am engaged in, the discretionary time I allow myself for being online, the audience I am working with, and the particular computer/operating system I am using. All these factors change very quickly.

This year I am using Twitter much less often than in the past. Because of an increased need for collaborative work with on campus committees, cross-national collaborations, and with my student research group and because across the course of a day I move between a desktop PC, a desk top Mac, a laptop PC, a laptop Mac, and IPads, I am now using to a far greater degree Google Docs/Drive and DropBox. Without Google Docs or a similar sharing capacity I would be plagued by not remembering upon which machine I  stored information needed to be shared. My international colleagues and international friends are more facile with the use of YouTube than I. Google Search (and Google Scholar) is my search engine of choice though I grossly under-use the sophisticated and nuanced search capabilities it provides.

I intentionally under use  PowerPoint  and force an increased use of Airtable.  Evernote, for me, has potential but is nonessential in my day-to-day activity. WordPress, Facebook, and LinkedIn play an  integral role in my teaching, learning, promulgating, bridge-building and networking modus operandi as well as assorted screen casting tools.

Help me out.  Help me learn. Which of these tools have you used? What am I missing in discovering their utility for teaching,learning and bridge-building?  Which would be most useful in advancing my interests in cross-national cross-generational teaching and learning? Which  tools develop skills that all global citizens should be familiar with?


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.