Students are always looking for tools that will save them time and help them boost their productivity. While there is a huge variety of tools available on the Web, most of them are either too expensive, too complicated or just not what is needed. Plus, with so many to choose from, it can be hard to choose the right one. No one really wants to test out 10-20 different tools just to find out which one is right for them. So, here are 7 Web tools for students that are sure to be all that you need and more.
Evernote is the only notebook you’ll ever need as a student. It’s the ultimate note-taking tool that lets you save text, audio, images, and screenshots in an organizable online notebook. Once you sync your notes, they can be accessed from the Web, computer desktop and most mobile devices. What makes Evernote most useful its super fast search engine that lets you search through all of your notes, even text within images, in a matter of seconds. With the ability to add tags and create numerous notebooks, it’s very easy to stay organized with Evernote.
As the name suggests, this tool acts as not just a notebook (like Evernote), but an entire binder. This free online school organizer lets you create to-do lists, create and manage goals, manage due dates, keep track of grades, track assignments, post discussions, set reminders, and collaborate with classmates. If you use a calendar in Outlook, iCal or Google Cal you can export your Schoolbinder calendar and keep them in sync. So as you can see, Schoolbinder lets you keep everything for school in a single location and with the online demo you can see just how useful it is for students of all levels.
Every student struggles with these at one time or another: distractions. Well, StudyRails is quite the cure for distractions while studying and working on assignments. What it does it let you schedule study time and then receive alerts when it’s time to study. The best part though is the ability to totally block out the websites and computer apps that are distracting to you. This way, you won’t have to worry about being losing study time due to Facebook or Twitter notifications because you won’t be able to access or receive either.
StudyRails magically plans your study time for you once you specify the time blocks you want to study each day; plus it automatically updates as you send in new assignments via SMS. Unfortunately, StudyRails is not free, but there is a 14-day free trial. After that it’s only $4.95/month.
Most people are familiar with the popular bookmarking tool Delicious. It’s a great way to collect and save resources on the Web as you’re doing research. You can then go back and view the sources when needed. It doesn’t create any kind of citations or anything for you, it’s simply a place to store all of those websites that you want to go back and view at a later time. You can organize your bookmarks by adding tags to them and you can even share your collections with other classmates.
Google Docs is another popular tool that most people are familiar with. It’s an online word processing, spreadsheet and presentations tool that can be used in place of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can then access and work on your documents from anywhere, even mobile devices. You can collaborate with classmates in real-time, which makes Google Docs perfect for working on group projects and research.
Just like Microsoft Suite, you can start documents from scratch or with a template. You can also upload other files and documents and view them from your account. Documents can be organized into collections and you can choose exactly which ones you’d like to share with certain individuals or make public to the world.
With WikiDot you can create group wiki pages which are great for group research and projects. You can publish content, upload documents (including PDF and PowerPoint), collaborate with classmates and practically build an online classroom complete with discussion forums. You can create as many pages as desired and create an entire website if needed. With this much flexibility, you can have a page for each student in your group or create separate pages for things like deadlines, tasks, resources, news, etc. WikiDot sites can be organized via categories, lists and menus. Plus, you can also used modules to add other types of interactivity.
EasyBib is the ultimate tool for creating citations. Once you’ve done all of your research and put have completed your research paper, the biggest pain is getting your citations formatted correctly. This is where EasyBib comes to the rescue because it automatically creates citations in MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian formats. You can actually create a Works Cited list instantly, which is a huge time-saver and stress reliever. You can cite things like websites, books, newspapers, journals, databases and more.
With a subscription you can even get support for footnotes and parenthetical source formatting. There is currently a 3-day trial after which it’s $4.99/month. The notebook feature lets you take and manage research notes; you can also create note cards and outlines. Lastly there is the citation guide that “shows students where they can find the different pieces of info they need for their bibliography, not simply what they need.” For now the guide only covers MLA citations, but they will be adding more formats in the near future.
As you can see, there is a Web tool to fit all of the needs of a student from researching to taking notes to creating citations to scheduling study times and blocking out distractions. Since there is not a single tool that can do all of those things, these 7 come pretty close to meeting all of those needs and more. Not that all students will need to use all of these tools, but it’s nice to know that they are available if needed.
This post was written by Lior Levin, a Tel Aviv University student who works for the the ma in security program, as well as for the MA in political science degree program.