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Jane Hart - Top 10

Jane Hart hosts an annual survey of people who submit their top ten tools for learning...here are mine for 2022. An * indicates a tool that is Free/libre and Open Source, and + is a tool that is free but not open source. I use all of these tools both personally and professionally.

  1. *GitHub - I use GitHub for both work (online learning, instructional design) and learning (PhD in EdTech). I remain convinced that git is THE killer app for open education. I clone my repos on multiple computers, so I have at least 3 backups of my work at all times.
  2. *VSCode - tightly integrated with git is VSCode from Microsoft. I use it for composing my dissertation, my websites (this post too), as well as course materials and faculty support sites. Everything is in Markdown.
  3. +Canva is my go-to tool for diagrams as I need them for my dissertation. Super easy to use, and now with a desktop app for easier access.
  4. *R - I'm still only scratching the surface of using R, but have learned a significant amount about using R for statistical analyses. I also use it in conjunction with Bookdown to create course sites, documentation sites, and to host conference presentation materials.
  5. *Bookdown - We have started using Bookdown as one of the options for creating course materials because it generates static HTML websites, ePub, PDF, Werd, and many other document formats every time you build your book. This is a win for accessibility and flexibility.
  6. *LogSeq - a "privacy-first, open-source knowledge base". I was using Notion and briefly, Dendron, for note-taking on my readings, but became increasingly nervous that it is online only. Logseq isn't Notion, but the idea of building a networked knowledge-base with unlimited tagging, automatic backlinks, a structured hierarchy, and a local-first, workflow that can be backed up to Github is a big win (just waiting for better syncing with git and support for multiple computers).
  7. *Grav - while I have run into some limitations with using Grav at scale for course materials, I still like and use it for my personal web-hub (this site), and have paid for a premium theme, which I like very much.
  8. Text Expander - This one is a real time-saver and productivity boon. I learned about it through the Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast, which is a regular in my rotation. Text Expander allows you to assign 'snippets' of a few keystrokes to a certain chunk of text, or an image, or an emoji, or markdown syntax...it's tremendously flexible and I pay for a yearly subscription.
  9. *WordPress - is an old standby. I use it to create course sites, help learners create portfolios, and host materials from research studies, among many other things.
  10. Reclaim Hosting - Reclaim hosts all of my personal websites and provides robust hosting for our University's large WordPress Multi-Site. They are affordable, support open in many ways, and have excellent service.