The best of the best online tools for students

by David Spark on February 7, 2009

During my research for this post, I stumbled across an endless list of great posts (see below) that offer great tips on the best Web tools for students. But the advice here isn’t just for students. I’m no longer a student but I do tons of research and writing for work and I found these tools to be very valuable. Here are just a few highlights of my favorites. For further recommendations make sure you explore the links at the end of this post.

Understanding literature quickly – When I was a student it was all about Cliff Notes and Monarch Notes. Today, there’s an endless array of options, the most popular being my namesake, Spark Notes. Other recommended sites include PinkMonkey and Shmoop. You may also want to check out LitSum, GradeSaver, and Bookrags.

I still don’t know how to write a bibliography correctly – I wrote many papers in school and honestly, I don’t know if I ever once wrote a bibliography correctly. Stop worrying about how to do it, and just let BibMe do it for you. Just put the info about your source and BibMe will create the bibliographic entry.

Study with flash cards – Making Spanish vocabulary flash cards can take just as long as just learning them. Jump start the process by downloading and printing out a flash card set from FlashCardExchange. They’ve got sets of flash cards on tons of different subjects. If you can’t find the study aids you want there, try Quizlet or StudyStack.

Collaborate with online documents – The days of forwarding Word documents around to members of your project group are over. Trying to keep tabs on who has the most recent version of a document can be a royal pain in the butt. And if someone works on an old version of the document you’re going to have tons of rework. Collaborate with online documents using either Google Docs or Evernote. You simply create a document and then give access to all the members on the team. Any time anyone checks out the document they’ll always know they’re looking at the latest version.

Must have research bookmarks – Inevitably everyone goes straight for Google every time they want to do research. But I think you’ll get far more valuable and vetted results if you begin your search through the social bookmarking site For dictionary information, make sure to bookmark OneLook, it’s a meta search engine for all dictionaries and thesauruses. Plus, as we all know Wikipedia is a godsend, but don’t ever rely on it as being your only source. Definitely double check your facts on any Wikipedia entry, and if you happen to stumble upon an error, go ahead and make a correction.

Additional information from:

This news item is for the Spark Minute week of 2/9/09 which can be heard daily on Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco, CA.

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