Now that September has arrived, many return to work after the summer holidays, and many others, also return to class. I must admit that technology greatly facilitated the work I had to do in college and I do not mean access to new sources of information (which increased exponentially), but the tools could be used to coordinate with my colleagues to work group without having to be physically.
I must admit that ten years ago, Messenger from Microsoft was a service that saved more than one allowed us to become physically and coordinate well enough to discuss and review work we had to hand in class, of course, today we have many more we can leverage resources to coordinate with our partners, maintain virtual meetings, or directly write collaboratively. At our disposal we can find tools, both free and paid, but given that we will guide you study those, we will focus on free tools that allow you to study and do group work. Let us begin.
These tools are particularly useful for students attending online universities. Students attending South University Richmond VA can use these resources to coordinate with other students in surrounding cities.
One of the main problems when doing group work is to agree with our partners to find a time interval that fits with everyone’s agenda. Furthermore, if your colleagues, or yourself, you are working the problem is compounded because the time available is much smaller and, ultimately, the only times available are during the night. The truth is that this is further complicated if the time constraints we add geographical spread but there are some tools that can fill these gaps.
- Skype is an IP telephony service that allows making video calls, calls to mobile phones, fixed or other Skype users, and includes a chat. In short, Skype offers a wide variety of possibilities to communicate with our peers. With Skype chat could organize a multiple or multiple calls (video calls to multiple reserve a paid service) with which to argue loudly with our colleagues and share our ideas. On the other hand, when studying, offers a quick way to ask questions of our colleagues or even with our teachers.
- Gtalk since its launch has helped me much to work with my colleagues. Like Skype, allows videoconferencing, chat, and since last year, we can add more people to the talks, so we can organize virtual meetings through this service. Both Gtalk and Skype, if you wish, keep written record of our conversations, which is useful to recall what was said, make a summary or a report or directly distribute tasks among our peers.
- Google+ think that a qualitative leap compared to Skype and Gtalk. While Gtalk is included in Google+, the social network of Google offers a service that can take well to work in groups or simply to study, ask questions of or organize an online tutorial: the left (orhangouts ). With hangouts in Google+ can organize virtual meetings with our colleagues in which we see them, hear them and also the person who takes the word remains in the foreground, so it will be easier to follow the conversation. With Google+ reaches a new level of telepresence (low budget) that can be exploited very well in this new academic year.
When working in coordination with our partners, or simply to have sorted our own documents, it is worth to take advantage of the advantages of the cloud and use it to store our files. For ease of use (and ease when managing permissions and visibility), I think we start with two widely used services:
- Dropbox is a service that in its free mode, it offers 2 GB of storage space and we can save files of all kinds and access them from multiple clients (from the Windows desktop to oursmartphone ). Share with other Dropbox users files is easy, we can store them in a public folder and send the links or directly share a folder with them and leave them in both reading and writing.
- Google Docs really is another storage system in the cloud because, besides being an office tool, allows us to upload images, videos and documents (which may also share with other users by giving them the permissions appropriate).
Using a repository of documents is fundamental to work in concert, thus, we avoid sending multiple emails with different versions of the documents when you tap them together into a final document, there is no way to find out where the latest version or if someone made a modification to an outdated version. Using a service like this, the latest version will always be the one on the network.
On the other hand, using a cloud storage can save us some trouble than another if, for example, we have not internalized the need to make backups of our files.
Write documents locally and then upload to the cloud, can be a perfectly valid option, however, we can further optimize the way we work. There are applications that allow us to write our papers, thanks to the cloud from your browser, and from there, to share with our partners to qumentarlos, give more information or consultation. Studying in groups, sharing impressions, notes and texts, we can contribute a lot and can be a good technique to deal with our tests.
- Google Docs, as we said before, is a suite office in the cloud, ie, we can create (and modify) text documents, spreadsheets and presentations, in addition, we may share with our contacts. Thus, our contacts will have access to these documents and, if we have given write permissions, you can write about them (avoiding the versions of the files and the bombing of e). But one of the things I like most of Google Docs is the role of comments we can keep adding notes and generate a debate on the contents with our partners.
- Docs, which is now in beta, is a Microsoft Office in the cloud but is associated with Facebook, that is, a service supported by Microsoft for Facebook and accessed with a user’s social network. With this service we can perform basically the same things with the desktop version (text documents, presentations and spreadsheets), albeit with the addition that we can share documents with our contacts from Facebook.
- Evernote is, along with Google Docs, one of my favorites. Evernote is a virtual book with which we can capture text from web pages, take notes and view them from your desktop client from the web or from your mobile phone. But it also is a very interesting because it allows us to share your notes with our contacts, whether sent individually or sharing a particular book.
Task management and planning
Good planning is a great ally to study or to meet a class project. If you do not manage our time wisely or do not plan our study day to have time to study before the test (and not the night before) maybe a couple of tools can help us keep up to date and remember what we have pending tasks.
- Google Calender is an application that has a special place among all the ones I use because it directs much of my day. With Google Calendar you can establish a schedule with our key dates (tests, projects, deliverables, etc.) or the planning of what we do (subject to study each day, classes, etc.) with the ability to synchronize information with a variety of devices. Furthermore, with the ability to share calendars, we coordinate with our partners and share with them key dates.
- Remember The Milk is a task manager at which point the tasks that have outstanding work to hand, events that have or the courses that we have to study every day. This simple manager to offer, and a Web client, iOS applications, integration with Gtalk, with Twitter or Google Calendar.
Looking for the perfect combination
And once we have reviewed the main advantages of each tool, by what we decided? Well, that’s more a personal issue than anything else. From my point of view, combined with Gtalk Google+ can be a good tandem to meet the needs of communication and allow students to work collaboratively. On the other hand, Google Docs to edit documents and Dropbox to store documents non-editable, I think that would solve nicely the needs editing and storing documents. Finally, for task management, Google Calendar is a great option.
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