Jane Hart recently shared a blog post on the tools of a Modern Professional Learner ToolKit and I thought I’d share my own too.
Trusted Web Resources
My trusted web resources are my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter as my first action.
Many times, I know the person I need to speak to and in most cases, they can be found in Twitter (although some people know are spread across all social networks and online communities so I tend to go where they hang out to find them).
I use YouTube a lot more than I use Google now preferring video first to get an idea of who people are (and negating the references that come from companies such as vendors and so-called some self-touted superstar “thought leaders” who I ignore).
For podcasts, I use the ridiculously stupid iOS iTunes (which ever since the iOS update), downloading and listening to podcasts has become quite difficult to navigate. Regardless, iTunes is another web resource that I use on a daily basis.
The third one is Google Scholar and Wikipedia. I usually use these two sites to cross-reference and delve deeper into topics when I need to.
News & Curation Tools
Feedly is a daily tool I use to curate the various blog posts. I have content fed to me and categorised in certain topics of interest. I have one category that is only on the content created by my Professional Learning Network while others are themed around Learning and Development, Future of Work, Personal Learning, Big Ideas, Emerging Trends, Content Marketing, Blogging as well as various online magazine subscriptions.
I have a ton of different ‘Google Alerts’ I have set up for Feedly to pick up articles and posts around those and have them come to me.
Similarly, it can integrate into so many different applications through different IFTT recipes that I find Feedly a superior product and hence why I have minimised my use of other curation tools like Scoop It. (In fact, I have deleted all my boards on this platform and starting from scratch focussing new boards on Lifelong Learning and Personal Learning).
Recently someone showed me a “hack” where he was curating resources around his expertise and had a plugin on his website that basically counted all his scoops as keyword search hits so, in effect, he had worked it to be an SEO optimisation tool for his website. The more he scooped, the more it helped build his website. (Of course, as I have no interest in SEO I’m not doing this because I’m building a following organically but nevertheless, he showed me another use for ScoopIt).
Going back to Feedly, I use it to ‘flag’ and bookmark what I want to read later and then save articles to Boards related to my Activate My Learning Newsletter so that they can be referred and reused at a later date.
I love Feedly so much that I’m strongly considering buying the Premium Version in the new year.
Web Course Platforms
I love doing MOOCs and my most used platform is definitely FutureLearn. I love the choice of courses and also the look and design of the site. It’s so intuitive and have signed up for various courses. So far this year. I’ve done three MOOCs and my next year ones I have scheduled will focus on Digital Privacy & Security; Digital Story Telling and currently exploring MOOCs on Blockchain to do (can’t seem to find a simple one – so any references would be appreciated).
Believe it or not, Snapchat is now first when it comes to what I access every day because there’s a regular community on it where I’m listening to messages (text, voicemail, photos, videos) left overnight. It’s like Twitter but people are sending you messages, not in text format. It’s a lot more personal. Over my breakfast, I catch up with my messages and create new ones speaking to people in ‘real time’ because the time zones seem to match during early hours.
Secondly is Twitter which is still the first place I go to for my PLN.
Third, is Facebook – in particularly, Facebook Messenger which I have not only been using for social networking but also coaching. The video, audio and document sharing functionality is very easy. Facebook is also a platform that the majority of the world is on. I do my online consulting through Messenger as well. (I’m also a member of a couple thriving Facebook Communities such as Work Out Loud and Social Media Professors which are excellent.
LinkedIn is accessed every day and I’m currently working on a collaborative project with peers around the world and we are using LinkedIn as our prime communication channel to send messages to each other. I also use it to check the news thread (which is getting me annoyed with the amount of waffle about entrepreneurs, hustle and the way people are writing posts. I tend to see what is being shared and make an effort to respond to 1 or 2 posts. What has been interesting with LinkedIn is that as I reply to every request to connect, I’ve been having some interesting conversations with people around the world.
I do have a couple of Slack accounts but I tend to avoid them when I can. I find it unproductive and too chatbotty – and somehow the community on them is well, not so “community-like”…. I don’t know – just don’t like it.
Personal Information System/Blogging & Website Tools
For me, my WordPress site is my be all and end all. I love WordPress even though others have told me to switch to SquareSpace. However, I’m too invested in WordPress to consider changing. As I’ve built all my pages and spend hours on the back end of it at times, it’s my “baby” that I don’t want to let go. I know this will be a problem for me….
I use Google Drive suite of apps when I collaborate with others but when I’m working on my own, on my own documents I prefer to use the Microsoft Office suite.
Another one is my YouTube channel which I access daily because I upload all my daily stories of personal learning I create with Snapchat. It’s my online portfolio of work and learning in video format.
iPhone 6 is my main device that I use every single day for ALL my needs. I don’t see myself upgrading anytime soon. If I did 6 years on my iPhone 4, I think I can do the same with iPhone 6…let’s see how that goes.
My Samsung Galaxy 10 tablet lays discarded and unused – a mobile device is quicker and easier to carry around. I find tablets clunky to use.
My Kindles lays discarded and unused having recently decided to go back to physical books because well, I just love physical books.
Productivity Tools & Apps
These are the main productivity tools and apps I use:
- Evernote (HUGE USE of Evernote) and I have a Premium account. I use it to store articles, write articles, screenshots, receipts, EVERYTHING!!!
- Trello (MASSIVE USE of Trello where I have created boards for ‘Weekly’ and ‘Monthly’ Action Plans as well as ‘My Learning Plan’ where I capture what I want to learn. All my client projects are here too.
- Contacts (Apple – which are also aligned with Google Contacts)
- Camera – daily use of the camera on my iPhone – especially video
- Telstra 24/7 – how I check my internet usage and pay my telecom bills
- Google Calendar
- Apple Notes – the main note-taking tool on PC and iPhone
- Google Keep (for collaborative projects where I have to share tasks with other collaborators and because I don’t have the premium version of Trello, I use Keep as the alternative)
- GoodReads (I use this regularly and write reviews for books I have read. I like the challenge that is available where you can submit how many books you’d like to read for the year. I’ve surpassed the books I wanted to read this year (50) and currently on book number 69…what can I say, I love reading and GoodReads is FANTASTIC APP!
- Timeslider for time zones when organising meeting times
- SpeedTest for checking our hopeless Australian internet speeds
- iMovie App which gets consistent and weekly use for movie editing on the go
- Canva for all the designs of my social media post graphics and infographics
- Grammarly for making sure grammar and spelling is correct – I love it. Nifty little application there.
- Buffer (free version – although considering to buy full version) for sending out my blog posts across social networks (I can only do 10 at a time with the free version)
- WeTransfer for sending files
- Snapchat for editing, annotating photos (then saved to camera roll) – love how it links to Emoji so I can use my personal emoji into snaps so it makes it look more ‘fun’ and light hearted.
- Screencastify to create short sceen casts of things people can do on their screen (I get all sorts of different requests via email or Facebook Messenger to show people where things are on screen – rather than explain, I create a screencast and send them the link).
- Google Chrome application of Bitmoji – this little bitmoji is my onscreen representation. I love using it because it creates a bit of fun to the message.
- MindMeister – for mindmapping
- Reflector – I love this app and have it on my PC and laptop and phone. It’s a great way to reflect onscreen what is on your mobile – and then take screen recordings of them with QuickTime (Apple)
I work with MS Office suite (mainly MS Word and MS PowerPoint) on my iMac but Apple (Keynote and Pages) on my laptop. I use Google docs only when I’m collaborating with others. All my files are backed up on a Seagate hard drive as well as the Cloud (Apple), GDrive and Dropbox. Yes, four backups. I have massive anxiety attacks if I cannot access my files anywhere, anytime.
Communication & Collaboration
Lately, the best communication and collaboration tool I’ve been using is Snapchat. The reason is that there are a couple of collaborations through this platform and it’s the best way to have a robust backchannel of audio, voice, text, photo, video messages – but it does have limitations. For people I’m creating with, Snapchat is tool of choice.
Secondly, it’s been Facebook Messenger simply because the majority of people outside my field and in self-employed businesses are on Facebook and it’s become the main way to connect with each other. In effect, it’s like the Snapchat equivalent because of different ways to communicate.
Thirdly for business clients, it’s either Skype or Zoom.
Phew, that’s a lot! Just writing them down make me think of all the tools and how some have come to the fore (like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger) and others which I have stopped using like ScoopIt and Pocket.