With the advent of distracting sites like Twitter and Facebook, we have all lost some portion of our ability to focus online. This can be particularly challenging for college students who spend hours in the glow of their laptops, searching for any excuse to be distracted from studying. However, rather than characterize the web as an environment of endless distraction, we should recognize that there are numerous tools available online that can be extremely useful for students’ productivity and efficiency. These three tools are necessities for any college computer.
Dropbox is one of those apps that everyone is writing about. Acting as an external hard drive in the cloud, Dropbox offers a great option for safely storing files and data. Create a Dropbox account for free and get up to two gigs of storage space. You can upload your documents, music, and other files to this site and then access them from any device with internet access. Making it simple to get your PowerPoint presentation to class, Dropbox can be extremely useful for a student. There is nothing more upsetting than losing your labored-over papers and presentations because your hard drive dies. Use Dropbox as a backup system for all of your important documents. Also, Dropbox has a wonderful app available for smartphones that can come in very handy.
Diigo is a bookmarking tool and researching service that can be extremely useful for collaborative projects and lengthy individual endeavors online. Diigo is a browser add-on that allows you to highlight portions of web pages and leave behind sticky notes on those pages for better researching tactics. Use this tool to take notes while doing research online and save them for later session. Diigo will save these sticky notes in your browser, so that you or someone else can return to them later. This tool allows you to annotate a website to illuminate or discuss specific aspects of it that pertain to your needs and then save those thoughts for a later session. This is very useful tool for group projects where you want to share information with your partners on a website when they are not present with you at that time.
Google Docs allows you to create and share documents directly in your web browser. You can access these documents from any computer or device with internet. This makes collaborative projects and papers significantly less stressful in college because you have one document that everyone can see and contribute to. The Google Doc interface allows you to see the changes that other people are making to the document as they are making them. You can easily move documents from your desktop to the online Google Docs platform. This tool is wonderful for an academic and professional setting.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.