top tools 2016

Jane Hart compiles a list every year of the Top 100 Tools for learning. This is the 10th year! Well done, Jane 🙂

Voting closes on 23 September 2016.

Here are my top tools this year, with the past five years shown below. It’s interesting to note that my preferred tools have not changed much.

Please add yours!

10 (new): 1Password: You could call this a tool for unlearning. This password manager reduces my cognitive load by not having to memorize any passwords as well as create passwords that are much stronger than I could do on my own. It synchronizes across all my devices.

9: Skype: I find I am using Skype more to stay in touch with people through conversations and text messaging.

8: Slack: This social sharing platform, with activity streams, is a great way to stay connected and work in small groups and I am a member of two active Slack ‘communities of practice’: the essential space between work groups and social networks.


7: Apple Preview: is the productivity tool I use the most, so I can focus on learning, not fighting with applications. It lets me annotate pictures, resize images, add signatures, and most importantly ensures I do not have to use Adobe Acrobat to open PDF’s. It is a huge time-saver.

6: Pixabay: A great source for copyright-free photos to use in presentations.

5: Keynote: Apple’s presentation application has enabled me to improve my slide presentations, through its simplicity and lack of clip art.

4: Diigo: Social bookmarks are a quick way for me to save a web page and find it easily. I have thousands I regularly search.

3: Feedly: A feed reader, or aggregator, to keep track of blogs and news sites via RSS.

2: Twitter: Next to my blog, Twitter is my best learning tool and allows me to stay connected to a diverse network.

1: WordPress: Powers my blog, which is the core of my sense-making. It’s easy to use, has a huge community, and there are many plug-ins and additions available. I also use it to deliver my online PKM workshop.


4 Responses to “top tools 2016”

  1. Francois

    My top ten but without a definite order
    Apple keynote, main business tool
    Mindnode, essential to create content directly from the brain chaos that is mine
    Notability with an iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil
    Spamsieve to remove 95% of spam
    Evernote to gather and sort knowledge from my PKM routine
    Skillshare, for great content and learning material
    Call recorder, a Skype plugin that allows me to record insightful interviews with experts in various fields
    The ipadpro, not an app but an amazing learning tool
    And of course the ultimate learning tool : the pencil
    The Apple Pencil
    Or rather THE pencil!

  2. Pascal Wicht

    I would add these 🙂, bookmarking power tool collaborative fractal text editing
    Meta, cloud search tool, online workshops and remote work
    Mind node pro, smart mindmapping tool app (Mac)

  3. Christopher Mackay

    My top tools:

    1. — source of creative inspiration and (mostly positive!) feedback
    2. 1Password — as with Harold, this clears a lot of overhead in my tiny, overworked brain
    3. Drafts — the iOS app where I capture fleeting ideas, tasks, reminders, and generally begin most text messages, email messages, keyword searches, etc.
    4. OmniFocus — my outboard brain; the only way I can keep so many balls in the air
    5. Siri — keeping my absent-minded-professor tendencies at bay by letting me add to lists or create timers & reminders when the need strikes and I don’t have time to type it into Drafts
    6. WATCH — gives me always-on access to Siri, Drafts, my Calendar, notifications, OmniFocus, 1Password… and discreetly notifies me of everything
    7. nvALT — Brett Terpstra’s brilliant open source fork of Notational Velocity, this is my outboard institutional memory (on macOS; the data also syncs to iOS)
    8. iThoughts — even more than a good outliner (nod to the outstanding OmniOutliner), a mind-mapping application is something that clicks for me. Visual/spatial rather than linear/hierarchical.
    9. YouTube — seemingly endless supply of first-rate how-to videos for everything I need (from software to household maintenance to painting)
    10. DayOne — an electronic journal isn’t something I thought would stick, but with nearly 1200 (mostly) daily entries, it’s a habit I keep going with. It’s easy to forget how much you’ve actually gotten done during a hectic day, and this helps keep it all in perspective — even if I never read them again. It verges on therapeutic.


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