Monday, January 7, 2008

Personal Learning and Productivity

I did not intentionally list the tools I mentioned as my Top 10 Tools for Learning in any particular order as to how much I like them, how often I use them, or how important I view them as aides to learning. Rather, I just listed them more or less randomly. I used the third place in my list to mention Google tools. Google provides a large set of tools quite useful for helping anyone learn and be productive.

I use Google Calendar as my main scheduling tool but, as with many of the tools I use, I don’t use Google Calendar by itself. I include the weather icon on each date so I can easily access the daily weather from within my calendar. I also use Remember The Milk for task lists and I have the Remember The Milk task list icon on each day. This allows me to very easily access my list of tasks from within my calendar. One of the things I like about Google Calendar is that it allows me to have multiple calendars, color coded and all viewable on one screen. I can have one for each customer I work with and thus easily keep track of tasks assigned to a customer. I also frequently set reminders for my scheduled events. I usually set a pop up reminder; however, if an appointment is very important, I can have a reminder sent to my cell phone. Another thing I like is that I can view my calendar from any computer and can share it with or hide it from anyone I want.

I also frequently use Google Notebook. One of the nice things about it is that I can access my notes online from any computer. Nevertheless, I usually always have my laptop with me and am not far from a wireless connection. I have the Google Notebook plug-in for Firefox. If I don’t see the necessity of tagging a page with, I can quickly and easily pop open my Google Notebook and take notes about any web page I am viewing. Although I often have a tab open to my Notebook, having the notebook icon at the bottom of my screen gives me another option to view a different page while taking notes in my notebook.

Some of the other Google tools I use also help me be productive – Google Scholar, Google Earth, and of course Blogger. I have used Blogger since 2004. However, I have not written very consistently for most of that time. I have determined to write much more regularly starting this year (not really a New Year’s resolution – more of a goal for the year). Because of this I decided to check out a few of the other Blog programs. I looked at both Wordpress (which is a commercial program) and Typepad (which has a free version or a commercial version). They are both very popular among bloggers and both have many popular features. Nevertheless, after checking them out, I didn’t see anything that made me want to switch away from Blogger. I might not stay with Blogger forever, but for now, it will remain my software of choice for blogging.

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