Every year during June, members of the e-learning team get together with a couple of other speakers from within the University to showcase the tools identified by staff as having been the most useful this year. Sixty-Nine nominations were submitted and here are the top ten tools as suggested by Swansea University staff.
Number 10: Google Docs (-4 places from 2010). Google docs is a free, online office suite consisting of word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database applications. The beauty of Google docs is that it can be saved “in the cloud” and allows for collaboration. Google Docs requires a google account.
Number 9: QR codes (new entry) With the advent of mobile technology, QR (Quick Response) Codes are becoming increasingly common in the media, in shops and around the home/workplace.
Number 8: Netvibes (new entry) This replaces iGoogle in the 2011 list. This is largely to do with the fact that several staff are using the “public facing pages” to feature an aggregation of blogs, news and resources that are related to their subject. iGoogle’s shortcoming is that it doesn’t allow for both public and private pages.
Number 7: Dropbox (new entry) It has been around for a few years though has never featured in the top tools list. It allows for remote storage, sharing and syncing of files over several computers (with an internet connection). Users will need to create an account.
Number 6: Youtube There have been several instances of youtube being used in various formats across the university, particularly in Modern Foreign languages. An exciting up and coming development at Swansea University is the creation of our own streaming server, this will be launched formally at the start of the next Academic Year.
Number 5: Blackboard Blackboard is the VLE or Virtual Learning Environment used in Swansea University.
Number 4: Delicious (-3 places from 2010) Delicious is a social bookmarking tool, and allows you to create an acocunt whereby you can save your favourites (or bookmarks), tag them appropriately and share them with others.
Number 1: Twitter. This is a social networking and microblogging service which also comes with desktop/web widgets, so you don’t have to rely on the web pages to keep up to date with your feeds.
If you’d like further information on any of these tools please contact the elearning team based at the Library and Information Centre.