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Top Tools That Improve Your Education

Top Tools That Improve Your Education

Today’s students don’t need to buy massive and expensive sets of encyclopedias. Everything they need and want to learn can be found online. The information revolution is coming, that’s why a range of media tools can be found now. The Internet has many great things to offer, but it’s also filled with misinformation and falsity, so you need to be careful which websites you choose as your learning resources.

To help you find the right resources without bumping into wrong websites, we will list some of the most trusted online destinations that will help you gain the knowledge you need.

1. TutorsClass

Online platform TutorsClass is the place where some of the best tutors are situated. You don’t have to schedule individual tutoring sessions that cost a lot of money with little to no progress to show for it. The virtual classroom provided by TutorsClass is a much more convenient learning environment because online tutors use motivating tools and methods that will help you understand the lectures more easily.

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    2. TED

    Every student should know about TED – the place where experts from various industries give lectures or speeches associated to their specialty. Although the website is best known for the featured business lectures, you can find resources of almost all academic specialties. Whether you need materials for essays or you just want to learn more, TED is the first destination you should head to.

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      3. Writinghouse

      The citation generator Writinghouse is the one that can easily help either teacher or student. We all know how difficult it is to remember all the monstrous rules and standards in formatting and writing work cited. But as many media tools have emerged, it’s not a problem anymore. You can just fill in the required spaces and get your bibliography cited in a moment.

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        4. Google Scholar

        If you need to find academic material to use as resource for your project, the usual Google search may only confuse you because it will lead to many websites with unreliable content. That won’t happen if you use Google Scholar, which is a huge online library of academic essays. However, this search engine does take some time and practice to get used to because it’s sometimes difficult to find what you are looking for.

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          5. Open Culture

          Open Culture is a website that features many articles useful for your education, but will also lead you to a library of free university courses. If you are interested in advancing your education, you can use this website to find free audio books, language lessons, textbooks, certificate courses, eBooks, business courses, and much more.

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            6. The Rosetta Project

            This learning center is an archive of resources that help people learn new languages for free. The archive contains over 1000 languages you can choose from and start learning in an inspiring community setting. The Rosetta Project goes beyond that practical learning usage – it has been created to focus the attention on the issue of digital obsolescence by promoting creative archival storage methods as a way to address that problem.

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              7. YouTube

              The value of YouTube goes outside the limits of cat videos, spamming and advertising. This popular website holds an immense educational value because it helps you find materials that are not contained in academic courses. Although YouTube does have a lot of false information to offer as well, you can find a way to use it wisely if you search for the right videos to watch.

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              8. Wibit.net

              Learning how to program isn’t easy, but the two nerds who give lessons on this website will help you get the knowledge you need. The lessons start from the basics of programming and tell you where you can download programming software. The screen capture method is the best way to understand the steps and learn how to do your own magic.

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                9. Discovery

                The Discovery Channel’s website offers huge amounts of free content that is useful for educative purposes. This is not a non-profit organization, so you should bear in mind that some of the offered materials require payment, but you can find great free resources as well.

                10. BBC Learning

                No list of online learning resources can go without BBC Learning, which offers educational resources for everyone’s interest. Children, parents, teachers, and adult learners can all learn with the help of this website. Some of the most popular subjects are science, religious studies, math, languages, history, art and design, business studies, and much more.

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                  11. Project Gutenberg

                  Learning online is great, not only because it provides you with visual content that’s easier to remember, but also because it gives you valuable knowledge for free. Project Gutenberg is an amazing project that can save you a lot of money by enabling you to legally download the books you need without paying anything.

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                    The Internet may have a lot of unnecessary and distracting content, but its educative value shouldn’t be underestimated. Today you have everything you need in the palm of your hand – all you need is the will to learn and devotion to your education. With the existence of the above-mentioned resources, it would be a shame to limit yourself to the boundaries of the conventional classroom.

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                    Melissa Burns

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                    How to Fight Information Overload

                    How to Fight Information Overload

                    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

                    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

                    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

                    What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

                    1. Set your goals.
                    2. Decide whether you really need the information.
                    3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
                    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

                    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

                    The Nature of the Problem

                    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

                    When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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                    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

                    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

                    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

                    Why information overload is bad

                    It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

                    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

                    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

                    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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                    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

                    1. Set your goals

                    If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

                    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

                    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

                    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

                    2. What to do when facing new information

                    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

                    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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                    If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

                    And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

                    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

                    3. Minimal Effective Dose

                    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

                    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

                    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

                    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

                    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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                    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

                    In Closing

                    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

                    Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

                    (Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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