If Santa was a learning technologist, he might well recommend the following digital tools to help you organise your revision over the Christmas holidays.
Fill your mind as well as your stocking with the TEL team’s top five suggestions for Smart revision and study.
We start our recommendations with the Brighton-based company, The Student Room (TSR).
1.The Student Room
Find at http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk
The Student Room is a large digital student community offering study support to students. The company also owns Get Revising which offers additional revision aids.
One of our favourite parts to The Student Room is the ‘create your own’ learning area. Here you can do exactly what it says on the tin; create your own resources to help you learn and study. Options include;
- creating a calendar-based study planner;
- making your own flash cards;
- revision cards;
- uploading revision notes (share detailed notes on a topic);
- an ‘organise your thinking’ area which includes a Time Line, SWOT analysis, compare and contrast and analyse a character. If you are feeling altruistic, you can even share your revision tools with the upload and share option.
2. Study Blue
Find at https://www.studyblue.com
You can sign up manually for Study Blue or sign up by using your Facebook account.
Once registered you can upload all of your study files, create Flash cards – not just visual ones but audio ones too – and quizzes, and then share them with your study friends.
When you first join, you will be asked which university you belong to so that you can be instantly connected to other Sussex students who are already using Study Blue – an ideal opportunity to share your learning aids, and benefit from ones that already exist.
Find at http://vocaroo.com
App? Not yet
Vocaroo is an ‘in-browser’ audio recording tool. Use it to record revision notes and learning points which can be saved as MP3, Ogg, FLAC, or WAV. You can share your audio file via email, Twitter or Facebook.
You can replay the audio files and test yourself wherever you are, be it travelling home, or out walking the family dog.
Vocaroo has to be one of the easiest tools I have ever used for making simple audio recordings. You click one button, record your voice and then choose from a variety of ways of saving the recording including as a downloadable MP3 file. Teachers all around the world have been using this tool and sending me very positive feedback.’ (Russell Stannard)
Vocaroo does not save your audio clips forever, however, so make sure you download and save your audio clip.
You could also use your phone as a revision aid as many have voice recorder facilities.
4. Brain Shark
Do you need to deliver a presentation when you return to university after the holidays? You can use Brain Shark to narrate and record over a presentation or document, you can even make a talking white paper. Russell Stannard suggested sharing a narrated presentation with fellow students. This allows for feedback and the chance to iron out any tricksy bits before the big day.
Even if you don’t have a presentation to prepare for, adding audio to images and documents can really help with revision. You’ll be using all your senses to familiarise yourself with complex concepts that you’ll need to remember. Other uses suggested by the makers include adding voice to pictures or creating a podcast.
5. Self Control for Study
Tame your phone with Self Control for Study. When you are studying, your phone
can bleep at you with all the allure of a digital mermaid beckoning you to the crashing rocks of distraction. Facebook updates, text messages, emails, notifications of online bargains all battle with our ability to concentrate.
It’s free, easy to use and allows you to block specific parts of your phone for set periods. For example, you can still allow your phone to ring, but block the ability of text messages and app usage. The app also totals up the amount of study you have done, giving you a nice warm feeling of accomplishment.
Study Success at Sussex: S3
The above apps and tools can help you to get digital with your revision, but how can you best organise your revision schedule and hone your revision techniques?
See the Sussex S3 revision tools for advice. The Study Success at Sussex website is a rich resource providing you with help in all areas of study. There’s a special section dedicated to revision. There are videos with students so you can get a real sense of how to manage your time from the people who are facing the same student pressures as yourself. At S3 you will find advice on;
- Planning and using revision time effectively
- Revision strategies and memory techniques
- Exam writing techniques
There is even a useful section on managing exam stress. We especially liked the Dealing with distractions advice.
Happy Christmas from all in the TEL team.