Top 100 Tools 2012 – voting open

Update 2013 – we now have the Top 100 Tools 2013,

Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has opened voting for the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012. This list is based on contributions from learning professionals around the world. My own choices are as follows:

Evernote - an outstanding note-taking tool and something I use every day. I have a notebook for each of my classes to which I upload any resources I want for that class. It is also a good way to share for example a list of websites with students - using a shared notebook. (Blog post on Evernote).

Twitter - great for professional development – I have contacts in education all over the globe and have been led to many useful resources by my virtual colleagues! (Blog post on Twitter).

YouTube - there are numerous videos useful for Mathematics teachers – perhaps to show in class or for students to use at home, for example the Math Centre videos or those from Khan Academy. (Videos page with many sources of Maths Videos).

Google Docs – I have used Google docs to collaborate on documents such as presentations with other teachers. Using Google Forms provides an excellent  way to get feedback from a group of people, their responses are all returned to a single spreadsheet. A comprehensive manual can be downloaded here.
For an examples of  forms see this one used to collect student self-assessments of their PLTS skills development in Mathematics and this to collect student feedback on their Mathematics experience at the end of their first year with us.

WordPress – obviously – you are reading a WordPress blog right now! I have several other blogs, GamesStarters and Mathematics Tools for example. I find a blog such as this an excellent way to share information with colleagues and students. For students I have recently created a new blog and something I am very pleased with is a blog I use to give the details of homework for each of my classes. I created ‘What was that homework?’ as a result of a survey of students across several schools where many students said that they would like homework details online. No student can ever say to me that they didn’t know what their homework was! (The very first post on this WordPress blog – which includes some useful WordPress links).

Moodle - I have a Moodle course for each year group in school; each course has links to any websites that we use in class so students can investigate further themselves if they wish. VLEs are sometimes criticised for being no more than ‘filing cabinets’; I would argue what useful filing cabinets they are – containing resources chosen by teachers for their students all in one organised place. For example prior to a recent GCSE Mathematics module the relevant Moodle course received hundreds of hits as everything students needed was available, not only syllabus information and papers but worked examples that we had uploaded. It is also of course possible to use forums and quizzes on a VLE. (Digital Tools blog page on Moodle).

Slideshare - it is very easy to upload presentations to this (free) presentation sharing site. Any PowerPoints for students could be uploaded for example. There are several examples on this site, such as the WolframAlpha slideshows.

Diigo - I have saved many hundreds of bookmarks using this social bookmarking / annotation tool; I can even find them again! There are numerous examples of Diigo lists on this site – see this list on Statistics and Probability for example; note that the green link takes you direct to the site. (Digital Tools blog page on bookmarking).

Wikispaces- I have used wikis with Mathematics classes - for doing exercises together for a change, as journals for example where each student has a page; also for any collaborative projects as it is easy for a student or students to be responsible for a page of a project. (Digital Tools blog page on Wikis).

Screenr - when trying to type Mathematical text is too slow, a quick scribble on some kind of screencasting tool can be the answer (graphics tablet essential). (Blog post on Online Whiteboards - consistently one of the most popular posts here).

The 2011 Top Tools:

Why Twitter?

Why would a teacher want to use Twitter?

Because just a few minutes spent on Twitter can be very productive. Take this tweet from Craig Barton on an excellent resource – perfect for my Year 11 students revising for their GCSE module in the summer.

Being very selective in who you follow allows you to connect with teachers and other educators beyond your own institution.
Look at the resources I discovered through my early investigations of Twitter –  a couple of great links from Maryna Badenhorst:
Maths posters to download and Brainbusters.

I was also interested to see from Teaching News that teachers on Twitter have shared teaching tips and ideas; see the #movemenon book, from Doug Belshaw (the pdf is free to download).

Some further examples:  Mathscareers Website,   Wolfram Fun Facts  and Mathslinks

For a quick way to find Mathematics related tweets do a search on any of these hashtags: #math #maths #mathchat.
You could even join a planned discussion – see the Mathchat wiki for details.

For learning to use Twitter see Russell Stannard’s training videos and some Twitter bookmarksnote the very clear Twitter Lingo guide from Mashable.

So why do I use Twitter (and Diigo and belong to various teaching communities and..)?
For the reasons so well explained by Sacha Chua in her ‘Teacher’s Guide to Web 2.0 at School’.