Using EdTech tools – where to start?

217 educational technologists and learning professionals from around the world are currently collaboratively to create a list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning in 2008.

This list has been compiled for the past few years by the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, and is a good jumping off point if you have been thinking of trying out some new tools in your teaching practice, or are looking for new tools to boost your own productivity.

Social bookmarking tool Delicious, web browser FireFox and RSS reader Google Reader currently sit 1, 2 and 3 on the list.

Tools that seem to be gaining traction among educator and educational technologists are the microblogging site Twitter, (although at least one high profile EdTech user has recently abandoned the service). Twitter is up from 43rd to 11th place since last year. Social networking site Ning (31 to 16) and collaborative slideshow tool VoiceThread (101 to 23) are also on the rise.

The Centre is accepting entries and votes for the list until October 31.


Using Swurl to aggregate my life

Not surprisingly, I live much of my life online and there are digital artifacts of me floating around all over the place. There is this blog, my other blog, and then my other blog, Facebook,, Twitter, Flickr,, Picasa, Amazon, YouTube – I have accounts with all and I use them all on a (somewhat) regular basis. For someone who may want to follow my life, that’s a lot of content to keep track of. Which is where Swurl comes in.

Swurl is an aggregation service that allows me to pull all the information from the other services I use and display them in a central location. It’s a powerful example of the small pieces, loosely joined philosophy that strongly resonates with me.

Swurl is dead simple to use, thanks to the magic of RSS (which I think should really stand for Radical Societal Shift for it’s massive contribution in reshaping how we interact with information). I created a mini-site pulling in my most recent activity from my blogs, Twitter, del.icious, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube and Amazon in less than 5 minutes. Swurl displays this information chronologically with my most recent activity first.

I agree with Alan that one of the more interesting features of Swurl is the timeline feature. It’s a nice way to handle the archiving of my digital life (although that Twitter post from December 31, 1969 is quite strange. But then again, it’s Twitter.).

I suspect that services like Swurl will become quite common as more people begin to use more web based services. There is going to be demand for a central place to pull all this information together, and Swurl does this very nicely, without being forced into a walled garden like Facebook.