This week sees the launch of our first workshop for students at London Metropolitan. The theme is Being a Digital Learner, the idea is to help our students gain knowledge of digital technologies to develop and enhance the way they study and learn. In the first workshop, we’re asking a few questions to get you thinking:
- How can you use your devices (mobile phone, tablet, laptop) more productively as a student (and not just for your social life…)
- What are the best tools for managing and organising your information sources (journal articles, references, web resources etc.)?
- What are the best ways organise your notes and ideas? (MindMaple, Annotating PDFs, note-taking tools.
- How can you share ideas and collaborate on group projects more efficiently? (e.g .for presentations/Google Drive, Dropbox)
Over the next few weeks, our Digital Ambassadors will be blogging about some of the tools and online services that they’ve found most useful. Keep an eye out for new posts which will describe some of these apps and tools in more detail and give you great advice on how to use them well. For now though, you’ll find basic descriptions and links to tutorials to help you get started with some of the technologies from the workshop:
A great tool to make the process of recording and using references in your written work much easier. Go to www.refme.com to sign up. Then download the app for your iphone or Android device. If you use Evernote (see below), you can also export your references direct to Evernote from the app.
A fantastic way to organise your notes and ideas in one easy to access location. Go to Evernote and Sign Up to create your account. You can use Evernote online, but also download it to your own device (desktop/laptop/tablet/mobile phone). If you use it on lots of different devices it will sync between them, so you’ll always see your most recent notes and any other stuff you’ve added. Visit the Evernote Guides page and select your device from the dropdown menu at the top of the page for tutorials.
A very useful tool for saving your websites and online content so you can access them from wherever you need to on any device. Here’s an introduction to Diigo to give you an idea of what it can do. (It’s not the most recent video – in fact Diigo’s online help and resources aren’t great…but it is a great tool). I use Diigo on Google Chrome as the Diigo toolbar seems to work well – you can also use it on Firefox. It’s not so brilliant on Safari if you’re on a Mac.
Using this tool eliminates the need for memory sticks or emailing files to yourself! Have a look at this quick introduction, or this one, to find out how Dropbox can help you. Like Evernote, you can use Dropbox online, but for a more powerful experience you can also download it on to multiple devices and it will sync your files between your devices. Once you get used to it, you’ll probably only use the web version when you’re using a PC in the uni. Dropbox tutorials are clear and easy to follow.
Google Drive is a powerful cloud storage option which is also very good for collaborating on group projects. If you are a student at London Metropolitan, you will have a Google account which is accessible via your student gmail account. The Google Drive help pages will help you get started. To access Google Drive, log in to your student email account and look for the symbol below at the top right of your email inbox page:
If you use mind maps to help you organise your notes and ideas, then MindMaple is worth a try. Learn how it can be used in education. This introductory video may also be useful.
Do you reckon you’re a serious scholar? If you do, you might want to have a look at Mendeley. Like a lot of other tools, it can be used online through a web browser, but to access its most powerful features, you can download it on to your desktop or laptop. It’s a very powerful way to organise all your research content and sources and also offers those all important social options for working with classmates or colleagues. There are some very useful video guides and tutorials available.
This is a feature-packed reference manager which can potentially save you a lot of time looking after those academic papers, journal articles and other sources you need for your study. It takes a bit of time to learn how to use it effectively, but once you’ve mastered it, it’s another great tool. The Support Pages will help you get set up and start using its main features. There are also some good Zotero tutorials from Oregon State University. Don’t forget to visit our Clued Up! site for more.