My top 10 e-learning tools


On the heels of yesterday’s post about the top 100 e-learning tools list, Jane asked me to submit my own top 10 list. It’s now up here, but I thought I’d reprint it. Take it in lieu of a Friday Random 10!

1. Wikipedia. I use it for everything — finding information about a topic on the fly, finding graphics related to a topic, doing initial research about something I’m interested in, even just a good old fashioned random article search. It represents a powerful paradigm shift in how knowledge is shared and stored, and it’s just plain fun for nerds like me.

2. Keynote. Apple’s presentation software is far more flexible and media-friendly than PowerPoint. I do almost everything in Keynote in my job as a professor.

3. LaTeX-iT. This is a small Mac app that allows you to typeset individual mathematical expressions one at a time, using the powerful LaTeX typesetting language, without having to make and handle an entire LaTeX document. You simply typeset, compile, and then drag the resulting PDF output into your document. Very powerful when combined
with Keynote (see above).

4. Quicksilver. An amazingly powerful app for doing stuff with other stuff. There’s no way to describe it, or how wonderful it is. Just download it and start using it.

5. Google. The best thing about Google is its hidden features, like the ability to use the search field as a calculator.

6. ecto. I love ecto for its simplicity, the intuitive keyboard shortcuts that you can’t use in WordPress, and its media-friendliness.

7. SnapzPro X. This is a professional-quality screenshot application for the Mac that lets the user capture stuff from the screen in a variety of ways. Most importantly, it allows real-time video capturing from the screen so the user can easily make screencasts, which is what I use the software for mostly.

8. OmniOutliner Pro. Brilliantly flexible and useful for a variety of tasks, such as planning lessons and keeping track of projects.

9. OmniGraffle. Like OmniOutliner, only for graphics. Again, its power is in its flexibility. I’ve used OmniGraffle for everything from concept mapping to drawing mathematical diagrams for Keynote lectures to redesigning my daughters’ playroom.

10. OmniFocus. This is an app for personal productivity management based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. It’s still just in alpha, but it’s incredible for, er, getting things done. I’d be lost without it.

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3 Comments

Filed under Education, Educational technology, Software, Technology

3 responses to “My top 10 e-learning tools

  1. jackie

    First thanks for all the great links. Now I have a question which will show my ignorance: for someone who is not publishing to the web, what are the advantages of using LaTeX over MathType? I’ve been using MathType for years in my documents and PowerPoints (soon to be Keynote) and have been happy thus far. Why should I switch?

  2. I don’t really know anything about MathType, so I can’t give a comparison. All I can say is that LaTeX is the industry standard for mathematical/technical typesetting, and just about every scholarly journal in math, computer science, etc. uses LaTeX for its papers. It’s pretty simple to learn but also has a very deep feature set, so that you can pick it up quickly but also do some pretty amazing things with it if you’re willing to learn. It’s fully programmable and works across multiple platforms, and it’s all free.

    By the way, I don’t publish a lot of math to the web, but if I did, I could still use LaTeX. LaTeX-iT has a feature that lets you save a typeset expression as a graphics file, and I’ve used that often for my students via our course management software.

  3. jackie

    Thanks for the information. I’m glad to hear (read?) it is simple to learn. Learning LaTeX has been on my to do list all summer, needless to say I haven’t yet made my way to the bottom of my list.

    If there is anyone who has experience with both, please email me your thoughts– jackie1618 at gmail(dot)com