10 Tools for (20)10

for e-learning magazine, November 2009

For the last 3 years I have invited learning professionals from around the world – both in education and workplace learning – to share their Top 10 Tools for Learning to help me build an annual Top 100 Tool for Learning list.

Once again this year, there are a number of tools appearing for the first time on the list, so in this article I am going to highlight briefly 10 of these new tools that I think are useful, innovative, cost effective and certainly worth considering for 2010.

Follow the links to find out more about the tools and the comments learning professionals have made about them.

Prezi
is the highest ranked newcomer on the list. It’s a Flash-based app that lets you build amazing, non-linear presentations where you can zoom in and out of a visual map containing words, links, images, videos, etc.

Cost: free and paid for plans

Evernote
lets you capture things (web pages, screenshots, photos, note, etc), which you can tag, store and find again fast . It works across many different (Windows and Mac OS) computers and phones (iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, Palm Pre) that are used in daily life:

Cost: Free and premium accounts.

Dimdim
is a web conferencing tool that lets you deliver synchronised presentations, whiteboards and web pages while sharing voice and video. It’s already a winner of a number of awards, and offers remarkable value when compared to other commercial web conferencing systems.

Cost: Free for 20 users, Pro accounts start at a low monthly charge.

Etherpad 
is the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time. Unlike other online documentation or wiki tools, Etherpad updates each document every half a second, which means that a number of people can work together and see each other’s updates immediately.

Cost: Free and paid for professional and network plans

UPDATE: Etherpad has been acquired by Google and the service with shut end of March, meanwhile no new accounts can be opened/.

myUdutu
is course authoring software that lets you build a course very quickly and easily online either on your own or collaboratively with others. You can easily import existing content, e.g. PowerPoint presentations.

Cost: The authoring tool is free to use. You can build your courses, pilot and modify them, all for no cost. There is a small per screen charge if you want to host the course on the Udutu site.

Screenr
is an online screencasting tool. A number of these have come onto the market recently, but this tool from the Articulate stable has quickly become a favourite. It lets you record on your Mac or PC, and then play on the Web or on an iPhone.

Cost: Free

Posterous
is a very simple blogging system. If you haven’t yet got into blogging this is by far the simplest way to start. Just post to your Posterous blog using email and attach any type of file – photo, MP3, video, document, etc – if you want to include it. If you already have a blog elsewhere (e.g. Blogger, WordPress or Typepad) you can also auto-post to it, or even auto-post to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.

Cost: Free

Yammer
is a private micro-blogging service. If you like the idea of Twitter but are concerned about the updates being public, then Yammer provides the same functionality as Twitter, but for in-company use. Only individuals with the same email domain can join a given network. In addition to microblogging there are discussion boards and users can form/join groups. There are also Yammer iPhone app and Blackberry clients.

Cost: Free, but companies can get admin rights to their company networks for a small monthly per user fee.

Wordle
is a small, fun and quite versatile little tool. It is a word cloud generator. Input or copy in some text and generate a visual cloud of the most frequently use words. You can then tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts and colour scheme.

Cost: Free

Flip Video
Finally, this one is not software but a tiny little camcorder that lets you easily take videos and upload them (using the inbuilt USB) to the PC as well as YouTube, Facebook and other sites.

Cost: this varies depending on size and record time of the Flip.