Do I need another online tool for work or learning? I use or have used a little over half of the Top 100 Tools for Learning in 2014 compiled by Jane Hart.
I wanted to know: Why am I using these tools? How do they support my learning and work in online environments? Should I consider using a new tool? Take a tool off my list? I began to answer that question by mapping out how I use these tools as part of a PKM routine using Harold Jarche’s Seek-Sense-Share framework.
I’m simplifying here, but ‘Seek’ is an input – how we gather information. ‘Sense’ is an output, or how we reflect and create new meaning. ‘Share’ is also an output, how we share with others in a meaningful way.
Near the edges of my routine Seek-Sense-Share process, I found intermediary processes:
- collect, capture, organize
- group collaboration
These intermediary processes help me move between Seek, Sense, or Share.
Next, I mapped out how I was using online tools to fit with my Seek-Sense-Share process.
Seek Tools – These tools or conversation spaces are the primary places I receive sources of online information. I tame the flow of information by trying to tune in this information by creating useful categories and filtering mechanisms. My ‘Seek’ tools include:
- Twitter (also the top tool for learning in 2014)
- Feedly (manage blog subscriptions)
- Pinterest (search for diversity of ideas)
- Slideshare (an increasingly good source of ideas)
Collect, Capture, Organize Tools
I use tools and methods to collect, capture, and organize information I ‘Seek’ before I ‘Sense’ by making sketchnotes, writing or present information. These include:
- Evernote/Skitch (capturing, tagging, and making personal notes about resources)
- Twitter Favorites (bookmarking tweets to sort and review at a later date)
- Flickr – (storing, and organizing images I take or create)
- Pinterest – (bookmark visual resources onto themed boards).
Group Collaboration Tools
I consider group collaboration both an input (Seek) and an output (Sense). This is why I’ve sketched ‘Group Collaboration’ between and at the edges of ‘Seek’ and ‘Share’. It is certainly an integral process to my sense-making process, especially the conversations that take place around collaborative or brainstorming processes. I have routinely found my favorite and most frequently used group collaboration tools to be:
- Google Apps
- Google Drive – (I especially like the ‘share with anyone with a link’, sticky note-like comments, autosave, and revision history features)
- Conversations via Google Hangout
- Boardthing – (group facilitation tool to brainstorm, understand, or organize ideas)
- Basecamp – (helpful for communication around project needs)
Sense Products – In my sketchnotes, I identified ‘Sense’ outcomes as products, rather than a set of tools. Having three main products seems very simple for how much work these three products create!
Creation Tools – These creation tools feel more like an input to create my ‘Sense’ products, and yet, when creating, I need to think how they will be used as an output ‘Sense’ and ‘Share.’ This is why these are listed separately and on the edge between ‘Sense’ and ‘Share’. My list of creation tools for creating ‘Sense’ products, include:
- Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet & SketchbookX App
- Paper sketches captured to Evernote or Dropbox
- Presenting (includes making graphics, slide decks, or videos):
Share Tools – Sharing is like exhaling. I find a significant part of my what happens in ‘Share’ is actually thought about in ‘Create’ and ‘Sense’, as I have to determine when and where (or with whom) to share to present a valuable product. My ‘Share’ tools, include:
- Twitter, Google+ (most frequent)
- Comment on blogs (I could be much better about this)
- Slideshare/Prezi (when presenting)
- Vimeo (mostly ‘how to’ screen capture videos)
- YouTube (rarely used)
- Web conference (Adobe Connect, Google+)
Do I need another online tool for work or learning in 2014?
I see two areas where I may adopt new tools this year: Create and Group Collaboration. In the next few months, I’ll likely experiment with tools that help me present or communicate more effectively (e.g. Canva, Goanimate) and look for task management tools that may tie group collaborative tasks to personal notes (like Evernote).
The above prediction is limited. I know there are tools I don’t know of yet that may be useful, so more importantly, mapping out my tools, products, and processes in this post, I have a new set of questions to ask when I consider adopting a new tool:
- How will a new tool supports the processes I’ve outlined above?
- How often will I use it (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or as-needed) ?
- Does it fill a niche, does it make it easier for me to find, retrieve, make or share information?
- Will I add it to my toolbox as a complement to something else I’m already using?