Update 2013 – we now have the Top 100 Tools 2013,
Jane Hart, the founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has for the last five years has been generating an annual “Top 100 Tools for Learning” list by asking learning professionals to share their favorite tools for learning.
Looking at the list – as a teacher I use many of these tools; I thought I would outline here those tools in the list I use in my Mathematics teaching. Each link takes you directly to the site or to a post giving further examples of the use of that tool.
1 – 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!
3 – 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. See the Commoncraft video here. 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.
5= WordPress – obviously – you are reading a WordPress blog right now! I have several other blogs, Games, Starters 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!
8 – 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.
9 – 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.
13 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.
19 – PowerPoint – not to be overused but still so useful. Note the links at the end of the post include some templates for games, also a search engine for slides. As mentioned above one can use a site such as Slideshare to upload PowerPoints so they can be viewed online.
23 – 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.
39 – Wordle – a word cloud generator which is very simple to use. Ask students to think of all the vocabulary associated with a particular topic for example – type their contributions into wordle and generate an attractive poster.
40 – Voki– (yes, the voice is me!) whilst this site which allows one to create a speaking avatar is not something I use often, it is fun! Younger students enjoy creating their own vokis – perhaps this could be incorporated into a revision homework.
50 – Geogebra – it is good to see that this excellent interactive geometry software is a new entry in the list this year.
51 – 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).
54 – Wallwisher – an online noticeboard which is very easy to use, follow the link for some Mathematics examples.
Four other tools further down the list I think worthy of a mention are:
62 Storybird – my younger students have written Maths ‘stories’ for revision.
64 Livebinders – provides an attractive and easy way to share links to websites.
82 Kindle – an ebook reader so easy to take anywhere. I have several Maths books on my Kindle. It is also simple to upload any pdfs so it is very simple to take reading material on my travels.