Saturday, December 8, 2012

Top 10 Digital Tools of 2012

In this post I would like to list all the tools that I have used frequently this year. All the tools have been essential for me in teaching and my professional development. I have used some other tools, but a couple of times, so I will give those a miss in this post.

 1. Blogger - the best blogosphere for me. I am sure Wordpress is also good but Blogger feels closer to me and I don't feel like switching to Wordpress. I have used this tool for reflections and school projects.

2. PBworks - a wiki platform for online collaboration which I have used a lot this year providing my students with a chance to practise writing Tasks 1 and 2 in preparation for their IELTS exam outside the classroom in their free time.

3. Moodle - a Course Management System (CMS) which I have used to run online and blended classes. Moodle is relatively easy to use and offers a lot of possibilities for teachers and their students. A great tool that has made my life a lot easier.

4. Prezi - an online presentation tool that I use a lot to introduce exam sections to my students, to teachers and to give presentations. Works fine online and offline. The best presentation tool for me so far.

5. Voxopop - a voice-based e-learning tool which has proven to be very useful for extra speaking practise for my learners, especially those preparing for exams.

6. Screenr - a web-based screen recorder which is very useful in any blended or online course that I run. Very often students enrolled in online/blended courses don't understand how to use the platform or what is what there, so I just record a screencast/tutorial for them and embed it in their learning environment to make it easier for them to use the VLE and it helps. When they understand what everything in the platform is, they seem to get more involved in the course.

7. MentorMob - a great tool which allows creation of web-based playlists. I use this tool to aggregate videos and articles around subjects frequently encountered in IELTS. Before I asked my students to listen to video presentations and read articles about environment, ecology, technology, etc but they wouldn't do it, so MentorMob offered the solution I needed. Now as soon as I see anything related to the topics in IELTS, I add it to a relevant MentorMob playlist. As I have embedded the playlists into the wiki of my IELTS students, all they have to do is to log into their wiki space and watch the videos or read the articles that they can see in the playlist.

8. Podomatic - a free podcasting tool. Sometimes it happens that some of my learners have problems with the listening tasks because they are fast or with unclear pronunciation, so I just record myself reading the script and letting them listen to the podcast first to boost their confidence, and then when they listen to the original recording, they understand it better and feel better about their skills.

9. Google Forms - a tool that helps me a lot in collecting feedback from my learners to improve on online, blended and face-to-face courses I teach. As the feedback is anonymous, they feel more confident about sharing their opinions, which helps me a lot in adding what they feel the course lacks or getting rid of something they feel is unnecessary for them.

10. Dropbox - a free tool that makes sharing easy. If there are tests or some reading tasks that I want my learners to see as soon as they turn their computers on, I add them into the folder in Dropbox. Sometimes it happens that I would like my learners to have a look at something before the class and if I upload the document to their learning environment, there is no guarantee that they will log into it before the lesson, but if it is in dropbox, then as soon as they turn on their computers, the file will upload and indicate that a file has been added to the folder which they can look at without logging into any site. When they have completed the task, I can see that the file has been updated and can check it.

These are the tools that I have been using a lot this year and I am sure will be using next year.


  1. Dear Ann,
    I would like to add MYBRAINSHARK. This is a tool that allows you to upload any kind of file,like ppt, video, word, excel and then allows you to add a recorded podcast or directly record with a recording using a recording tool. I find it super useful.

    Thanks for sharing and I will watch a tutorial on how to deal with mentorbob, which I see could be very useful for video curation.

    Hugs Ann,

    1. Thanks Deb for the tip. Will have a look at mybrainshark, never heard of it to be honest. Do you use it a lot?

  2. Beautifully arranged! Thanks for sharing and for keeping in touch too!

    1. Thanks Ana! Looking forward to hearing about the tools that you use. :) Study with you soon in an EVO class?

  3. Hi Anna! Thks for sharing!! I also use most of the ones you mentioned. One that I'd like to add is skydrive which is kind of like dropbox but I believe has more storage room. In addition, as my husband has just formatted this computer, skydrive allows opening files online (I do not have office installed at the moment so...)

  4. That sounds really good. Definitely worth trying. Dropbox doesn't offer a lot of storage.
    Thanks Silvia!