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Friday, August 27, 2010

7 Organization Tools for Students

The beginning of the school year is when many students (and some teachers) make the resolution to improve their organization skills. The web is full for tools that can help people organize and keep track of the important things that they need to get done. Here are seven tools that might help your students in their quests to keep track of the things they need to get done this year. The first two services in the list have mobile apps that students can use too.

Soshiku is a free personal planner designed for high school and college students. Soshiku lets students organize their assignments by course, add assignments, and receive text message and or email reminders before each assignment is due. Students can add assignments to their calendars directly on the Soshiku website or via text message. Registering and getting started with Soshiku is quick and the user interface is very intuitive and easy to learn.

Remember the Milk is a free personal organization tool that works online and with mobile phones. Many high school students are carrying cell phones with them so capitalize on that and talk to parents and students about using a cell phone to get organized. Remember the Milk allows students to add assignment due dates to their to-do lists via text, email, or directly on their account homepage. A word of caution, while this services is free, students could incur a lot of charges from text and data communication on their mobile phones so be sure to discuss these options with parents before having students use the text/ data tools.

Track Class offers all of the features that we have come to expect in online student organizers. Through Track Class students can keep a schedule of courses, track assignment dates, write and save notes, and maintain a calendar of events. Inside Track Class students can also save files such as essays they've written and slideshow presentations they've created.

43 Things is an interesting way to track goals and achievements. 43 Things is not a personal organizer, it's a goal tracker. The service is simple, users enter a list of things that they want to accomplish and other users can "cheer" them on until the goal is reached.

Ta-da List is a simple to-do list creation tool built by 37 Signals. Ta-da List allows to you to create a to-do list in 30 seconds. Just sign-up and start building lists. Your lists will be hosted at a unique url assigned just to you. Direct your browser to that url to check-off items on your lists or to create a new list.

Squareleaf is a simple system for creating and managing online sticky notes. To use Squareleaf just register for an account and begin creating notes. Your notes are displayed on an online "whiteboard." On your Squareleaf whiteboard you can arrange your sticky notes in any pattern that you like. The size and color of the sticky notes can also be adjusted.

Snag Learning is Snag Films for Schools

Snag Films, a provider of high quality documentaries for online viewing, has now launched Snag Learning. Snag Learning offers access to most of the same films available on Snag Films. Snag Learning categorizes documentaries by grade level and content area. Additionally, Snag Learning offers a series of guiding questions for each film. You can embed previews of each video into your blog, but you have to watch the full-length versions on Snag Learning.

Applications for Education
If you can live with the pre-roll advertisement on the films, Snag Learning could be a good resource for teachers who want to use documentaries in their classrooms, but don't have the funds for purchasing DVDs. Snag Learning is planning to add lesson plans to accompany the guiding questions attached to the films they host.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Safe Share TV - Safe YouTube Viewing
30+ Alternatives to YouTube
FedFlix - Movies from the US Government Archives

Teaching With Infographics - Many Good Resources

Earlier this week I learned from Larry Ferlazzo that The New York Times Learning Network was doing a series of posts about teaching with infographics. The last installment of the series went live today with a post by Diana Laufenberg. Diana's post includes ten steps for designing lessons in which students create infographics. Her post also includes links to some valuable information concerning the actual infographic design process.

The entire Teaching With Infographics series contains a lot of very useful information for teachers who are considering using infographics in their classrooms. Infographics for Language Arts and Fine Arts can be found here, infographics for Science and Health can be found here, History and Economics infographics can be found here, and "getting started" resources can be found here.

Applications for Education
I've found in my classroom that infographics can be very useful for helping students gain a better comprehension of data sets. Viewing infographics can be helpful, but designing an infographic is a better way for students to increase their understanding of data sets. The Teaching With Infographics series could help you design lessons for using infographics with your students.

11 Operas in 10 Minutes

Operas don't appeal to the typical high school student. Nonetheless, teachers of music theory and music appreciation classes do try to expose their students to the opera. The video below covers the story lines of eleven classic operas.

A similar, though not quite as well-produced video covers ten other operas below.

Thanks to Open Culture for the first video.

Applications for Education
Although certainly not an in-depth analysis or summary of any opera, the videos below could be useful as review or introduction resources for a music appreciation course.

On a related note, you might want to check out Shmoop's list of study materials related to Shakespeare.

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