My Top Ten Applications for e-Learning

My top ten applications which I use to create and support the use of e-learning are…

Keynote – a superb presentation package, not matter how many times I start creating a presentation in PowerPoint, I virtually always end up in Keynote. The latest version (iWork ’08) is a real improvement on the previous version and I will admit I do like the audience going “ooh” when I use the cube transition.

Toast – not only a superb disk burning piece of software, but extremely capable of converting a range of video file formats and doing it well. Another useful video conversion tool I have started using is VisualHub.

EyeTV – though Windows Media Centre (and now Vista) has a much better interface, the versatility, the editing and exporting functionality make EyeTV the only real choice when it comes to recording and editing television. Combined with Toast and VisualHub you suddenly can record, edit and watch that video wherever, whenever and on whatever you want.

Dreamweaver – steep learning curve, but if you need to get your hands dirty with HTML and websites then this package is perfect. Though I do like Dreamweaver, I know with web tools such as WordPress and Drupal tools such as Dreamweaver are becoming less essential than they were in the past.

Fireworks – For manipulating images for the web then I go with Fireworks every time. Can also be used to create simple animated gifs. I do use PhotoShop, but for web image editing I always start Fireworks first.

Firefox (with Safari a close second and Flock in third place) – I can’t work with non-tabbed browsers, so on the PC it’s Firefox all the time, on the Mac I mainly use Safari. Safari with it’s .mac integration allows me to share my bookmarks over multiple computers and over the web. Now Safari (in beta) is available for Window and I like how Safari for Windows looks almost exactly like Safari for the Mac. Flock is for me relatively new and I do like the integration with online tools such as Flickr, del.icio.us and WordPress.

Captivate – If you like Wink, you will love Captivate. I do like Wink, but Captivate is so much better… For creating guides it just works and does half the work for you. I keep meaning to try Snapzprox for the Mac but have not tried it yet.

Comic Life – a really simple and easy drag and drop comic creator package. It’s not just for kids/young people/comic geeks I used it for a JISC online conference…

Comic Life

One of the key things about Comic Life is that it comes free on all new Macs. There is also a Windows beta available now as well.

iLife – really five packages (and if you include iTunes six). Comes free with every Mac. iPhoto is just brillant for organising your digital photographs and showing them and printing them and sharing them. iMovie makes movie making so simple that anyone can create a movie quickly and easily. I can’t remember how I use to organise/listen to music before iTunes! Garageband makes podcasting really simple and you can even publish it to the iTunes Store so people can subscribe and listen to your podcast.

Just outside the top ten…

Flash – I never use the full functionality, but Flash Video Encoder has proved really easy to use in creating simple Flash video clips for use in presentations. See for an example of how I have used Flash Video.

Microsoft PhotoDraw – this was one of my favourite graphics packages for a long time, before some kind of Windows Update killed how it worked on my Windows 2000 PC and my disks for it went missing… As it is no longer available I didn’t want to put it in my top ten.

CorelDRAW – remember version 3 with all the CDs with all that (crappy) clipart. Corel Draw was a great drawing package and Corel Photo-Paint was a very nice graphics package. As this is more legacy than current it’s not in my top ten.

WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS – my first Word Processor and the blue screen still brings a smile to my face, it’s also the reason I prefer using a keyboard over a mouse CTRL F4 anyone? This was when a blue screen meant you were working rather than your computer wasn’t working.

What are your favourite applications for creating and developing the use of e-learning?

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