A toolkit for learning

Image by Wesley Fryer  (CC BY 2.0)

I’m in the process of reviewing the various digital tools I use for learning at work. Jane Harts’ Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit framework as used by Harold JarcheBrian Quinn and Mike Taylor looks like a useful starting point.

Browsers & search engines: I mainly use Firefox Quantum and Google although I’m getting used to DuckDuckGo but I’m not familiar enough with it yet. I also use Google Scholar on a regular basis. Chrome gets rolled out for when I’m using G Drive and if I’m using my Chromebook.

Trusted web resources: The Guardian for news, pixabay or Google for images and Wikipedia as a useful starting point for things I know little about. Working in a university gives me access to vast library databases of data, books and articles.  I look to my PLN via trusted bloggers and who I follow on Twitter for a wealth of discovery, advice and inspiration.

Curation tools: well this is a clear weakness. I’ve tried Diigo, Scoopit and Netvibes but nothing has really stuck. I grab things to read later on Evernote and use a IFTT set up so that Favourited tweets go to Evernote to follow up later (although many get junked).

Course platforms: I work pretty much daily in Moodle. I also use Collaborate for synchronous teaching sessions mainly as it’s supported at work and recording sessions is very straightforward but Zoom seems better to me.  I haven’t really consumed much in the way of online courses beyond looking (or lurking) at a few MOOCs on Coursera, Edx and FutureLearn. I have completed a few courses on Lynda.com available through work.

Social networks: I’m pretty much limited to Twitter with Skype for one-to-one calls and holding tutorial sessions. and that’s about it.

Personal information system: Evernote, although its a bit of a mess, that doesn’t seem to matter given the search function. However, I will be rethinking how I structure my use of Evernote so its more effective within my overall workflow. Otherwise, its pen and paper with a lot of doodles.

Blog: WordPress all the way both for this personal blog but also for student course blogs as well.

Preferred office office suite: I don’t have one of those. At work we use MS Office365 with all the bells and whistles and like most people I ignore a huge amount of it. I do spend too much time in PowerPoint and excel. I’m increasingly using G Suite for its simplicity and ease of collaboration. Big writing projects start in Scrivener until the very final stages where I revert to MS Word.

Collaboration: often G Drive for collaboration or dropbox for sharing documents. At work we have an internally hosted

equivalent for data protection purposes.

Smart devices: a Google Pixel phone for capturing ideas when out and about and I read and annotate documents on an old iPad.
So my toolkit doesn’t look unusual yet what this doesn’t address is the flow or processes of managing information, learning, reflection and creation. So next I’ll be assessing how my toolkit ‘works’ in terms of Harold Jache’s model of Personal Knowledge Management and especially in supporting taking informed action: knowledge and knowing is, after all, a practice rather than an object to be passed around.

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