Tuesday, 17 June 2008

25 free eLearning tools + person in the picture: Jane Hart


In my quest to realize a Star Trek-ian society within my lifetime I wish to promote free tools, eLearning tools at that. One of the great recent repositories is Jane Hart’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. Everyone could build a repository with free eLearning tools, but she did it by distilling the top 100 tools that were provided to her by expert eLearning colleagues from all around the world. While surfing to her list, you get a nice bonus: each tool has a small tutorial linked to it. Nice.

The top 10 free tools lists Firefox, delicious, Google reader, Gmail, skype, Google calendar, Google docs, slideshare, flickr and voicethread.

Just take a look at her complete list and see which ones you use or ask a couple of your colleagues if they are using any. For me I use 17 of those tools actively for my own use. I never counted the tools up until now and I am quite surprised that I use that many and a lot of them on a daily basis and I wonder how many tools I use all together.

Jane Hart does more then just deliver lists; she has a blog which serves knowledge in small pieces: Jane’s eLearning pick of the day, a very interesting set of posts that regularly give the reader an AHA feeling.

The list for free tools is great, the need for it is clear. However this got me thinking. Why is it that the most useful things most of the time stare us in the face, yet are not taken for granted to the point they could be? Jane Hart is a great eLearning professional because she pins down what is important and distributes it to anyone who is interested. Anyone could come up with a similar list, but she did it. To be honest I was a bit jealous because I thought I could have come up with such a list, certainly if I would ask around, but then … I did not. So I wonder if really great teachers are characterized by their power to see simple useful things, put them into context and distribute them in an easy understandable way.