Each year Jane Hart of the UK's Centre for Learning and Perfomance Technologies invites practitioners to submit their "Top 10 Tools for Learning Professionals". Here's mine; be sure to check out the lists others have submitted.
1. iPhone. It completes me. Much more computer than phone, it’s on this list because of the apps (which count as “software”, I should think). It’s a mobile one-stop repository for productivity tools (Google, Evernote); entertainment tools (Pandora radio, Flixster), job aids (the first-aid reference Pocket Aid: even when out of phone range the reference material still works); and fun and games including real-time handheld Scrabble with friends anywhere in the world. Also excellent for settling barroom arguments, not that I’d know.
2. Google reader: Pops up on my IGoogle home page with everything I want to follow, with minimal clutter and fuss.
3. PowerPoint: Still the best, least expensive, and most user-familiar “authoring tool” available. Good e-learning is about design, not software.
4. SnagIt: My single most-used application, ahead even of Word and PowerPoint. Very inexpensive., and version 9 is very robust, with excellent editing capabilities. From Techsmith.
5. Fireworks. I still say this beats Photoshop hands-down for creating graphics for the web and editing photos.
6. Quia: Inexpensive one-stop site for unlimited-use quizzes, Flash games, evaluations. Statistical feedback on quizzes rivals that provided by many much-pricier LMSs.
7. YouTube. The woefully misused “comment feature” is excellent for generating learner response and interaction with video/instructor. See, for instance, what Tonya TKO did.
8. Skype. I have lots of colleagues in the UK and Australia; this lets me talk to them via text or VOIP for free. For about US .17/minute I can also call most landlines worldwide from anywhere in the world without racking up extra charges on my cell plan. Can’t beat that.
9. Twitter. Any hour, day or night, there are dozens of people on Twitter who want to talk about things I didn’t know I wanted to talk about. And all in 140 characters or less. For those who believe it’s just self-centered updates, see some of the social learning experiments going on. “SLQOTD”, for instance, asks one social learning question of the day, to which anyone can respond. As of this writing: Day 80+ and counting.
10. WizIQ: FREE virtual classroom tool with good VOIP, some features to rival the big vendors. Some of the big boys don’t yet offer the object-oriented whiteboard that WizIQ has had from Day 1.