top tools 2020

Every year, Jane Hart asks, “What are the most popular, useful, valuable, digital tools for learning?” and this year has added, “How has lockdown affected the tools used for learning and development in 2020?” Everyone can add their voice, and voting ends 21 August.

In my case, the tools I use for learning have not changed much since I posted top tools for 2019.

One change I have made is to use Pinboard for my social bookmarks. It is a move I am making toward paying for my online services.

Even though I have been working remotely for most of the past 17 years, I saw an increase in Zoom meetings. I have used Zoom for five years but the past six months have been kind of crazy with meeting requests. I have collected a few social bookmarks on distributed work in the process.

Top Tools for Learning 2020

10. DeepL Translator — With an international clientele and blog audience, I often get references in other languages. I find this tool much better than Google Translate, though it is available for fewer languages.

9. Pinboard — Social bookmarks are a quick way for me to save a web page and find it easily. I have started a new library on Pinboard but my older Diigo account is still online, as well as my Friday’s Finds.

8: Slack: This social sharing platform, with activity streams, is a great way to stay connected and work in small groups. It’s a good platform for small communities of practice as well.

7: Apple Preview: This 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, meaning one fewer vector of malware on my system. It is a huge time-saver.

6. 1Password: I 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 and helps keep my online presence more secure.

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

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

3. Zoom: I have a paid pro account and use this weekly to connect and learn — as millions of others are now — such as with the 90+ members of our Perpetual Beta Coffee Club community of practice.

2: Tweetbot: Next to my blog, Twitter is my best learning tool and allows me to stay connected to a diverse network. I use Tweetbot on Mac and iOS as it has no advertising or tracking and has a cleaner interface. With all of its flaws, Twitter can be a good platform for learning if you actively filter and mute.

1: WordPress: Powers my blog (+3,300 posts), 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.

2 Responses to “top tools 2020”

  1. Christy Tucker

    As another long-time Diigo user, I’d love to hear more about your experience with Pinboard and how it compares. Although I have a large library of links with Diigo, I’m worried that the product doesn’t seem to be getting updates or improvements. Services that stagnate like that are prone to disappearing.

    How well does Pinboard fill that need for you? Did you look at any other options before you decided on Pinboard?


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