The list of cutely, cleverly and sometimes oddly spelled Web 2.0 apps for learning continues to grow, making it easier but also more confusing to find online tools to help you learn and excel as a student. With so many choices, it can be hard to figure out where to focus and what tools and ideas are really worth your time. To decide what tools you need, you first need to figure out what you need help with as a student and what you can do to become more productive, efficient and successful. Here are a few suggestions both for the bigger picture and for the apps you can use that can help you ensure a school year that’s both academically satisfying and technologically savvy.
Productivity and Organization
You’ll go a lot further as a student if you stay organized and learn new ways to be productive. You’ll also have more time to relax and enjoy your downtime, making it a win-win to pursue some web tools that can help you master your skills. Your first step can be to get a great calendar and options like 30 Boxes and Google Calendar can be a great way to start. You’ll also need to hook up your computer or phone with a to-do list and many students find Remember the Milk and Todoist to be helpful. And why not have access to your term paper wherever you go with an online word processor like Google Docs or Zoho Office? It could save you time and stress.
Few students can avoid having to write several long and sometimes difficult papers throughout their college careers. You can help improve the quality of the papers you write by improving the quality of the research material you use– something Web 2.0 is all about helping you to do. Instead of doing your research on Wikipedia, use Web 2.0 tools like WorldCAT and Google Scholar that give you higher quality, more academic results. Try out EasyBibor OttoBib to help make sure that your citations are clear and correctly written no matter the format you’re using. Firefox users can get all these functions in one with the amazing research plug-in Zotero.
Studying and Learning
Why limit your online education to what you learn in class? There are plenty of tools and resources out there to help you keep learning about new topics or to expand your knowledge of existing ones. Signing up for educational RSS feeds and podcasts can be a great way to supplement class materials. You can also look for study guides and helpful study tools on SparkNotesand College-Cram. Additionally, if you’re looking for ways to organize your thoughts for papers and tests, you’ll find mind mapping tools aplenty, withBubbl.us and Mindomo being good choices.
Even for online students, a big part of education is socializing with other students. Whether you’re looking for feedback, help with homework or friendships, there are a number of Web 2.0 tools that can make keeping in touch with classmates and professors easier than ever. While most students will be familiar with sites like Facebook, others might not have tried more educationally focused sites like where you can share notes and talk about class like NoteCentric. There are also no shortage of social bookmarking sites like delicious and Clipmarks that let you share research and fun links.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the newest and best Web 2.0 apps for learning, it’s a great place to start. Better yet, most of these programs won’t cost you a thing to try out and could help make this school year your best yet.