File-O-FaxAs the new school year opens I thought I would offer my top five picks for useful online tools to help you get organized as well as to find and retain the information you are looking for.  All of these sites are free (although some also have paid versions for additional features). 

Remember The Milk - Free Online Task Manager

Everyone needs a To-Do list and Remember the Milk is one of the most useful.  Not only can a person use it to remember things they need to take care of, but it also integrates with Google Calendar, allowing due dates and other list information to show up on your calendar and to be reminded of these important items before they occur.

JOTT - Free Speech To Text Translation

Throughout the day and night many people have sudden flashes of inspiration that they want to remember.  When this happens in the car or in another place where it is not practical to pull out a paper and write things down the thought may be forgotten and never acted upon.  With JOTT, a user dials a toll free phone number from their cell phone and speaks their idea or message into the phone.  The person tells the system where the message is to go, to "myself" or to a friends email address, and then ends the call.  The message is then converted into text and automatically emailed to the recipient.  The system uses real people to do the dictation, so don't spew out any confidential information, but all in all the service is incredibly handy and very easy to use.

NOZBE-  Free Online Project Management

Several years ago a gentleman named David Allen wrote the book Getting Things Done - the art of stress free productivity.

Business people all over the world swear by it as a way to turn a cluttered, slow moving project into a streamlined, efficient way to accomplish a goal.  Nozbe is a web site that took this philosophy and wove it into a very useful online tool that helps the user track and move projects forward in a timely fashion.  Teachers and others that have to worry about projects with many multiple tasks such as fundraising events, booster club projects, and other things where it is easy to forget one aspect of the plan and then waste time having to go back and take care of it. 

With Nozbe each task is able to be broken down and planned out with reminders and other features that help a person complete many pieces to several projects all at one time. Nozbe offers a free five project account which is plenty for most beginners to the system.

Cuil.com - A New Way To Search The Web

Cuil is a new search engine, founded by former Google technology officers, that recently came online and was heralded as a potential Google killer.  While it is doubtful that Cuil will dethrone the Google gods, Cuil does have a much more eye catching interface and several unique features such as category browsing.  Try it to spice up your next PowerPoint or multimedia presentation for class.  A side benefit of the Cuil system is that they do not maintain logs of searches as Google does.  This means that once a search is complete it is forgotten rather than stored for analysis.  Searches made throughCuil should not be able to be traced back to an individual user

TeacherTube and TED - YouTube Alternatives Focused on Educational Topics

YouTube has a bad connotation to it in most school districts.  The vast majority of schools now block access to YouTube videos to limit bandwidth usage and to prevent non-academic uses.  Even if YouTube is blocked many schools still allow access to two more educationally oriented web sites, TeacherTube and TED.

TeacherTube is similar to YouTube but all videos on the site are moderated and categorized for use by teachers in the educational classroom.  While not nearly as extensive asYouTube, the quality of many of the videos on TeacherTube actually surpass that of similar videos found on YouTube.

TED offers professionally produced videos that are excellent for use in teacher training and professional development.  Topics range from the Arts and Technology to Science and Entertainment.

 

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