A “Revisited” blog post indicates that I reread the original and used AI-assisted tools (e.g., Grammarly) to improve grammar and word choice.
Between semesters, I have time to catch up on reading and return to unfinished tasks. Since one of my readers, TJ indicated that she’d like to see more of my observations on technology tools for facilitating learning, I thought I’d share my experiences with the agencies identified in Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Learning. I have mixed feelings about such lists, where a device may get a high ranking merely because it is well-known to the users rather than for its merits relative to similar tools. However, I have the highest admiration for Jane Hart (who dumbfounded me with the rapidity and graciousness of her responses to my emails).
Her Top 25 Tools informed what and how I taught a freshman seminar 2008. Her work has introduced me to a diverse range of learning professionals. But I am chary of embracing a tool just because others endorse it since that endorsement may be irrelevant to my personal learning and teaching needs. Still, I want to be an “agile teacher-learner” where such agility increases my effectiveness.
Then, my initial thoughts and experiences after two years of experimenting with the tools endorsed by Jane’s list of learning professionals.
- Twitter (Why I don’t give a Twit). My present students have found little value in using Twitter (they fail to see differences between it and the update function of Facebook). I read two books about it, consulted with three Carroll alums who DO use it (Thanks Chris G., Lori S., and Fred K.), and thought about others’ Twittering experiences described in publications I read and value. Since I have no particular interest in having “followers,” and I have been annoyed too often by come-ons from pornographic purveyors in the guise of potential followers, I presently see no value for Twitter in serving my teaching and learning needs.
Del.icio.us (Much more to my taste.) Though many similar social bookmarking tools are available, my students (including my 2009 Red Hot Researchers Group).I found this particular helpful tool. My latency in using it more and better has probably been my not being used to SHARING bibliographies and my concerns about quality control of shared information.
- YouTube (Is it time for Curious David to Go Video?). This tool has undoubtedly played a significant role during the past two years in enhancing my lectures with both timely, classic, and merely entertaining ancillary materials. I have found less value in the sections “dedicated” to education than in other areas. I can easily see myself using this tool to enhance my courses’ international components and “publish” some of my material currently under development.
- GoogleReader (“Kindling” my interests in many—too many— directions.) There is so much to read, so little time. At least an aggregator such as this imposes some structure filter/order on electronic information flow—a tool I need to use better and plan to use.
- Google Docs (What’s up, Docs?). Motivated by problems using Microsoft Word since installing Windows 7 and Microsoft’s recent lawsuit loss, I’ll probably expedite my move to this resource and teach its features to my students.
- WordPress (Making the Writer’s Choice). I still prefer Typepad, and knowing I have at least a readership of 3, I’ll renew my account in January!
- Slideshare (PowerPoint on Steroids?) I still fail to find value in producing things with this tool, which reflects my animadversion to PP.
- Google Search (But is Google making us Smarter, More Agile, or More Stupid?). I use this tool repeatedly but could use it far more wisely by mastering its intricacies.
- Audacity (a Sound Choice), but I am experimenting with others —stay tuned for CuriousDavidTunes–and Firefox. (Extending the Utility of Browsers—But look out, here comes Google Chrome)