Monday, April 21, 2008

Top Tools for Connecting and Collaborating

The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has released a list of their Top 100 Tools for Learning for Spring 2008. For educators and collaborators looking for good tools, or just wondering if there is something better, cheaper or easier that what they are already using, the list provides brief reviews and links to websites in addition to the rankings.

Tools that can connect students to the community or world outside the classroom walls also pop up on the list. The highest ranking is Skype, which comes in at number 4. Ning and Twitter, a microblogging and social networking tool, come in a three-way tie (with YouTube) at number 17. Voicethread, with its collaborative media albums, comes in at 24 (tied with RSS feeder Bloglines).

Adobe Connect ranks 52, up from 72 last year. Formerly Macromedia Breeze Meeting, Adobe Connect contains modules that allow multiple educational uses. For K-12, Adobe offers a package with 3 modules that support the creation of "eLearning content," such as documents, animation, audio files or other media, and synchronous and asynchronous communication. The package also contains teacher tools like quiz makers and gradebooks. The Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional module adds live conferencing capabilities with recording and playback options. It uses Flash player which should make it easy to use regardless of who you are connecting to or how far away. Unlike Skype, Ning and many of the other tools listed, it is not free. The site offers pricing options for schools and districts.

Other tools for connecting and collaborating that show up in the Top 100 include Elluminate (64), a favorite of the Horizons 2008 Project;; and Yugma. Both Yugma and have been mentioned on this blog in the past. Though there aren't many tools listed for interactive videoconferencing or other synchronous communication between students and remote experts, the list is an excellent find for those looking for tested, reliable and largely free options for building their own Classrooms 2.0.

SOURCE: " Top 100 Tools for Learning Spring 2008" 3/31/08
photo courtesy of iowa spirit walker, used under this Creative Commons license

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