My Top 10 Tools for Learning 2008


I keep going back to Jane’s to see the top 10/100 list of software that she maintains. I have often thought about adding my own list, but was always concerned about “who am I” to add my list in amongst all of those who have submitted. But this morning decided to submit my own top 10 software to her. So I sent out the below email.

“Hi Jane – I am a Special Education Teacher at a small private special purpose school in Hinckley, Maine. I co-teach high school U.S. History and English classes and teach 2 Fundamental English classes. I have used technology for many years (Vic 20), but have only recently really attempted to integrate it into the classroom. My top ten list is as follows:

1. Microsoft One Note 2007 – Simply an amazing program that I have only been using since January and wish that I had been using for the last 5 years. I am reducing my paper use tremendously thanks to this program.

2. Firefox – Simple to use, very customizable and free, but IE7 is improving but not enough to overtake Firefox for me yet.

3. Inspiration – Mind mapping software that I have used to write papers, class plans, plan out a syllabus, weekly lesson plans and notes for students in the history class. So it does a lot and even creates an outline in Word. Great for planning for me as a visual learner.

4. Microsoft Word 2007 – Still the standard and much improved (in my opinion) with the new ribbon interface.

5. Microsoft Outlook 2007 – Improved many of the bugs from 2003 and some form of Outlook is required at work.

6. Zoho Office – Lots of applications and I can access stuff I have there, from anywhere and any computer. Still doesn’t work integrating with Word 2007 using Vista, but I like it.

7. Windows Live Writer – Love how I can put my blog together in a WYSIWYG style, I use it to write all of my blogs. (Including this one)

8. Google Reader – Use it everyday to look at my feeds

9. Igoogle – My Internet start page, and what most of my students use as their start page

10. Adobe Reader – There might be others that leave a smaller footprint or are quicker, but it is still the standard.

Honorable Mention: Google Docs (easy to collaborate), Ning (social networking), Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 (still works for me)

As you can see I am still pretty Microsoft centric, I have tried many of the online versions I.e. Slideshare, Google: Docs, Notebook , Flickr, Open Office, Buzzword, Foxit etc. and have decided to use what works best for me, regardless of who produces it and right now the ones listed consistently meets my needs better than others out there.


I notice that I don’t have a lot of open source applications on my list, it isn’t like I haven’t tried them out, but I keep coming back to the standards: Word, Outlook, Adobe Reader etc., because they are reliable, do more than I will every be able to use them for and I am familiar with them. I have found if something has a long learning curve that I will not use it…I simply don’t have time to go out and “learn” a piece of software or new operating system.

I expect what I use to be intuitive (for me), straight forward, and typically uses the “KISS” principle. I have found that I am more of an “end user” than someone who will get in there muck around for hours.

So there you have it, my top ten list of software (pretty much in order) as of today…I hope that it will change over the course of the next year with some amazing new application(s)that I learn about.

Technorati Tags:Microsoft,OneNote,Word,PowerPoint,LiveWriter,firefox,Zoho,googledocs,adobe,ning,buzzword,shaw,blogs,education,top10

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