Top Ten Learning Tools for 2017

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It’s time for Jane Hart’s survey of Top Tools for Learning.  My list for 2017 are all tools I use for my personal learning (versus at work or at school – the other two categories Jane aggregates).  I’ve listed 6 new tools in my list.  Probably the biggest “a-ha” is that I’ve now truly joined the Twitterverse.  Twitter has always been near the top of Jane’s aggregated list, but it wasn’t until this year that I finally “got it.”

I’ve also added two “little” tools (Office Lens and Grammarly) that have both had a surprising impact on my learning and work this past year.

My Top Ten Tools for 2017 are (in no particular order):

Here’s Why They are My Top Ten

Twitter – in the past year, Twitter has become one of my most powerful tools. Of course, I share my thoughts and retweet posts by others that I find interesting and relevant to my work.  But this year I’ve been leveraging the lists functionality to create news feeds specific to topics core to my work. (thus far only one is public but I’ll make the others public in the next several weeks or so.)  I have also fallen in love with Tweet Chats. These dynamic forums are dynamite learning experiences. (see my blog post about Tweet Chats).

Diigo – This tool has become the centerpiece of my personal knowledge management process.  The Chrome extension, the live highlighting, and Outliner functionality make it a powerful tool for storing and organizing the content I consume on a daily basis.  I use the Outliners to create the content for the pages in my xAPI Resource Center that appears on There’s a nice tool that makes it very simple to post to an up-to-date list of the most recent items I’ve posted to Diigo.  Feel free to take a look at my library.

WordPress – Is my primary place to consolidate my knowledge and share it with others.  To date, it has been primarily my blogs (now, previously, but I’m about to launch a full website via WordPress.  They have recently made it easier to use 3rd party widgets and themes, which is on my to-do list to explore.

MindMeister – I’ve always liked mind maps for organizing my thoughts and projects and MindMeister has been my favorite tool for some time.  I don’t know how I would do my preparations for the CPLP exams without it.

LinkedIn –  Of course, LinkedIn is still the #1 tool for professional networking.  But the changes to its news feed UI has opened it up to become a great center for professional discussions.  The purchase of and its transformation to LinkedIn Learning has been powerful.  The integration of Slideshare is ok, but could use some work.

Google Drive – While I also use Microsoft OneDrive, I give Google Drive the advantage for a number of reasons.  I find it easier to share documents with others, it’s integration with Docs and Sheets is better (and they are better collaborative tools), and it’s easier to access from any computer.

Google Chrome – In my mind Google Chrome has surpassed Firefox as the best browser out there.  The extensions available to integrate an endless list of tools with your browsing experience makes Chrome a focal point of my online experience.

Microsoft OneNote – My OneNote account has become such a repository of content that I really can’t imagine changing away from it.  It searches tools are solid and it’s easy to move pages, tabs, and notebooks around to reconfigure the content to my liking.  Using IFTTT, I even sync everything I put into Diigo into OneNote automatically.

Microsoft Office Lens – A quirky tool to list, but I love it.  This mobile app enables you to take a picture of a presentation from anywhere in the room and then squares off the resulting image.  It has totally changed my experience of learning in presentations.  You can also “scan” documents without worrying about lining them up perfectly – Office Lens will do that for you.  You can directly save to OneNote, OneDrive, or your device storage.

Grammarly – Another quirky choice, but I have to say this in-the-line-of-work tool has improved my writing over the year that I have been using it.  It’s constant monitoring of everything I type, in just about any environment I’m working, helps assure that my writing is accurate. Because it’s not “autocorrect”,  I’ve found that errors that I had consistently made in the past are things of the past as Grammarly’s gentle coaching has changed my writing behavior.  Grammarly also sends you weekly email reports about your writing and the errors you have made.

Last Year’s Top Ten (repeats in 2017 highlighted)

  • Google Docs and Sheets
  • Google Drive
  • Gmail
  • Feedly
  • Blogs (now listed as WordPress)
  • Powerpoint
  • MindMeister
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • YouTube
  • Internet Search

Docs and Sheets have been subsumed under Google Drive this year.  Honestly, Gmail was victim to wanting to include Office Lens and Grammarly in this year’s list.  Feedly has been replaced by Diigo.  I just haven’t used YouTube as much this year.  In my mind, internet search is now covered under my listing of Google Chrome.

What do you think of my 2017 list?  What would you add?  What tool(s) do you question my inclusion?  Feel free to sound off in the comments below!  (And submit your list at before September 22 to be included in Jane’s lists!)

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