Generally speaking, the world of education, it’s probably fair to say, has not always been the fastest to embrace technological change over the years. Recently, though, the white heat of the web has made it essential to take technology on board. From hardware to software, and quick, cheap tools to some altogether pricier gadgets and gizmos, here are five ways that students can adopt technology to help them with their studies.
5 Essential Tools for Students
The notion that education and Twitter might in some way go together was initially largely met with scepticism in teaching circles with tweeting being discouraged as little more than a distraction from hitting the books. What could a student actually ‘learn’ from the noisy, ADD micro-blogging platform?
The answer, as it turned out, was plenty. For a start, pretty much every site and publication you care to mention – from major international newspapers to small-time bedroom blogs – is there sharing their content at the moment it’s published, so it’s very much a case of goodbye creaking, disorganised RSS feeds. But Twitter is far from just a passive feed of information. Journalists have been using Twitter to ‘crowdsource’ information for some time now and help them compile their articles, and there’s no reason why students shouldn’t, too.
2. Kno + Tablet
The days of back-ricking satchels stuffed with heavy books are over. How? In a combination of some sort of tablet device and then by downloading etextbooks instead of their bulkier counterparts. Many of the major publishers have moved into the etextbook market, so there’s plenty of learning material out there – whether it’s supplementary to a distance learning course or even a core textbook to the course being taken. What’s more, because of the reduced costs of printing there are some significant savings to be had – which can offset just a little of the cost of that tablet.
3. Social Bookmarking
The web obviously isn’t short of information, and tapping into learning material on almost anything you care to mention has never been as easy. Making sense of all that information, though, can be a challenge in itself. Which is where a good social bookmarking tool comes in – helping to store interesting and useful content when you come across it, and then grouping it together by subject matter using tags can be one of the keys to learning online. There are a few contenders out there, but Delicious is probably still the leading social bookmarking tool for education for its sheer ease of use.
Pinterest is the image sharing/social bookmarking tool that came from nowhere to take the web by storm in the last year or two. How to use it for learning very much depends on what the student is studying. But from vital infographics and how-to instruction guides to plain old bold and beautiful images relating to the subject matter, one thing’s for sure – if, as is generally held to be the case, pictures help us learn, then the image-storing/sharing site Pinterest definitely has something to offer in the modern e-learning environment.
We all, on occasions, have struggled to keep on top of our workload. Which is why a rash of online to-do lists and task management tools such as Evernote and Don’t Forget the Milk sprung up. Taking the concept to the logical next step, iProcastinate is a study/homework management tool for the Mac and iPhone to help structure time students give over to everything from one-off tasks to long-term revision schedules and even squeezing in a bit of time for socialising.