The deadline is approaching for participating in Jane Hart’s 2018 survey of Top Learning Tools. My nominations last year reflected the tools I planned to use in a Research Seminar (PSY492) dealing with “Brain Fitness Training ” software.
- SurveyMonkey. Using SurveyMonkey I sent my 10 students a survey assessing their baseline familiarity with technology learning tools, their past research experience, and their career plans. I also use this tool in my consulting work with Schneider Consulting. Here are some of my earlier thoughts about SurveyMonkey.
- WordPress. I enjoy blogging, and I have found that my students can develop a love or respect for writing by being taught how to use this tool. Here is an example of some WordPress writing by two of my past research assistants.
- Diigo. The research that I do with students very much requires teamwork and sharing of information. I find Diigo a handy resource for sharing bookmarks and I am impressed at how it has improved across the years. I created for last year’s research course a Diigo group “Brain Fitness Training: Exploring the validity of claims about brain fitness software and brain training apps” and added 20 resources.
- SPSS. This is still the major data analysis software I use and teach. Mastery of it has helped my students get jobs and scholarships.
- ScreenFlow. I often have reason to make screencasts to supplement my teaching. My students and I often use this app or others like it (e.g. Camtasia, Capto) to create tutorials for other students.
- Quizlet. In some of my courses I have experimented with students’ developing their own tests to assess material that they need to memorize.
- Google Drive. My students find this very useful for collaboration.
- Createspace. This is my current favorite tool for self-publication of books. Others I have explored include Lulu, Ibooks Author, and Pressbooks.
- Linkedin. Not all my students will (immediately) go on to graduate school. Therefore, I encourage them to become familiar with LinkedIn. I am very impressed at recent LinkedIn improvements.
- Skype. No doubt we shall need to communicate with other researchers throughout the country or the world (e.g. at the University College Groningen). Last year Skype proved invaluable in communicating with other researchers and my students.
Because I shall not be teaching the Research Seminar in the Fall due to lack of sufficient enrollment and because I shall be focusing so much of my time during my last academic year at Carroll on completing writing and publishing projects, my list of top tools will change. I’ll formally announce my list in early September but the five I see my using the most are WordPress, a screencasting tool, a self-publishing tool, LinkedIn, and the intelligence of my student assistants.