LiveBinders a Cool Tool, Plus a Window to Worthy Web Reading

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The web is wild . . . see how some have tamed it

Yes, you can find most anything on the internet, but is it worthy, DIY learners, of your time and energy?

That’s a great question and parenthetically, one I think is best addressed by exploring the world of information literacy, in addition to using librarians’ advice and services whenever possible. But when you’re on the web, out there alone . . . you’ll see that some websites, produced as they are by anyone (or many anyones), are exciting by this same token: perhaps a bit of wild west, but containing some gems and waiting to teach you something worthwhile.

LiveBinders is one such site. A tool that allows anyone to create virtual three-ring binders and share them with others, it’s popular with educators. In fact, I’d heard about it several times at higher-ed conferences, in the context of how nifty it is to prepare LiveBinders specifically for your students. And apparently, many K-12 teachers use it and share their work, too, making the site potentially a fantastic resource for young students, tutors, and homeschooling parents.

Learners of all ages, as well, might take a look and get lost awhile: though the curators of the information within are many, and of course can be anyone at all, such a site is certainly one exciting window into what’s worthy of reading on the web.

What windows to good web reading have you found?

Image via mrg.bz / acrylicartist

Free & Creative Study Tools

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Newfangled study tools for learners of all ages

Web digs keep turning up these nifty e-tools we couldn’t have imagined back in the “Mesozoic” college era of 20 years ago. Below are a few such tools that lend themselves to creative study and brainstorming:

http://tinyvox.com/
Some learn best by hearing the material: try this yourself for study and collaboration purposes.

http://www.toondoo.com/
A cartoon-building tool that could help you to cement people, places, and events into your brain (see related post).

https://bubbl.us/
A good basic tool if you find mind-maps helpful in brainstorming and organizing your thoughts.

http://popplet.com/
Create slick-looking, colorful and collaborative mind-maps. See also this post on Glogster.

http://projeqt.com/
More slickness: create engaging, interactive presentations for your projects.

As with so much of cyberspace, it would be easy to get lost in the fun for fun’s sake; but if you have a specific study goal in mind and a little sense of time management, these can be effective and enjoyable little helpers.

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Related articles

5 Free Organization & Planning Tools for Students

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Is disorganization your downfall? Has an assignment deadline ever slipped your mind due to plannermessy personal files? If so, you probably realize that you’ll save yourself unnecessary time and grief by figuring out how to get those files in order. Fortunately, some nifty free tools on the web can help you become a better-organized student.

Check out these options:

1.       TimeandDate.com: If you like an old-fashioned paper planner, here’s a site that allows you to print calendar pages month by month; you also may create a customized calendar with space for notes, if you wish:
http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/basic.html

2.       Soshiku is a tool designed to help high school and college students keep track of assignments. It allows you to organize assignments by class, and it will send you an email or SMS when deadlines loom:
http://soshiku.com/

3.       Ta-da Lists allows you to create simple to-do lists for yourself or to share. This would be handy for keeping track of your weekly assignments or for working on a group project:
http://tadalist.com/

4.       Toodledo offers an expanded array of options for your to-do list, such as a scheduler tool, alarm reminders, and search and sort features. Again, you can choose to collaborate with others:
http://www.toodledo.com/

5.       Remember the Milk is a robust personal task-managing tool. It’s probably most appropriate if you’re seeking a more comprehensive organizer for your school, work, and personal activities:
http://www.rememberthemilk.com/

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Cool Learning Tool: Turn “Boring” into “Amazing”

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Glogster is an online tool by which you can create your own digital posters. Although the site touts the tool as a way to “amaze your friends,” I think you can take the “amazing” potential here and use it for your own studies.

A perennial problem when it comes to studying is interest. Don’t fall into the trap of imagining it’s the teacher’s job to entertain you: if in your studies, you don’t find a certain subject interesting, you need to find a way to make it so. Using Glogster certainly would give your creative juices a boost and, if you spend some time thinking about it, I’m sure you can find a way to make just about any lesson visually and perhaps musically interesting.

Although the glogs are easily shared via social media, it’s possible to keep your creations private. Finally, Glogster also offers a learning platform just for educators and schools, which of course is indicative of this tool’s potential to help you study.

Cool Study Skills Questionnaires

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laptopAs long as you’re taking fun online questionnaires, why not take a few that may make a real difference in the quality of your academic life? Each quiz below will help you to analyze your current study habits and figure out how you can improve.

Take the Study Environment Analysis to find where you really should be studying:
http://www.ucc.vt.edu/academic_support_students/study_skills_information/study_environment_analysis/index.html  (link updated Sept. 2013)

Use the “Where Does Time Go?” time calculator to figure out how much time you have to study:
http://www.ucc.vt.edu/academic_support_students/study_skills_information/where_does_time_go/index.html  (link updated Sept. 2013)

Take this series of small questionnaires to analyze your own study skills (time management, concentration, note taking, and more):
http://prtl.uhcl.edu/portal/page/portal/COS/Self_Help_and_Handouts/STUDY_SKILLS_QUESTIONNAIRE

(These sites come from Virginia Tech and the University of Houston-Clear Lake.)
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Study Help in a Flash

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As we move into May, spring is springing; it’s final exam season; and studying is in the air.

The best students know how to study effectively – and for reviewing terms and concepts, flash cards are a time-tested favorite.  They’ve gone electronic and social over at the very impressive Quizlet, a popular site that allows students to search for flash card sets in a variety of subject areas or create their own cards to share with study partners.

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