Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Web Apps for the student?

I just stumbled on this post - Must Have Web Apps for the Hi-Tech College Student. I must say I am totally confused. The post begins with a claim that "There are tons of new web apps that have been created with the college student in mind." I suppose it is so, but it is hard to believe that some of the apps mentioned in the post were created for students. For example Netvibes. I don't use it, so I don't know much about it. But when I visited it I didn't notice anything that would suggest that it was created for students. Meebo is another example. While it is useful for communication, it is even better for wasting time. If someone did it especially for students he clearly did them a bad thing.

The other apps mentioned also don't look like especially useful for a student. Google Docs is a nice application, but unless you tend to write your homework in groups (and for some reason prefer to do it while sitting at different computers) , I see no reason to use it instead of OpenOffice.
The online calculators mentioned can be replaced by your own calculator and by Google calculator for unit conversion. If you are using Gnome-do you can even do conversions without visiting Google.

Perhaps I am seeing it this way because I am a math student and the only program that I find useful for me as a student is Latex...
What do you think about it? Are those lists about apps for students just an attempt to get some traffic or do they offer any solid advice?


Jean-Noël said...

I only use one of the applications mentioned on this list and that's del.icio.us. If I come across some useful set of lecture notes online that is relevant to one of the courses I'm taking I'll tag it and then if at some later date I'm looking for a different explanation on some topic covered in one of my courses (for example) then I already have a set of online notes that I considered relevant that I can use, rather than having to search for an answer from scratch.

Some of those note taking programs might have been useful for last year's group project. Though I couldn't be bothered to check whether any of these have LaTeX support. We used a wiki (www.wikidot.com) to share info and stuff. It was mildly useful, but then only half of the group really bothered with it.

Anatoly said...

Hi Jean,
I don't use del.icio.us, but I use Google bookmarks for similar purposes. The question is, do you use the social element of del.icio.us or it is just an online bookmark system for you?

There is currently a project in Hebrew university to make a wiki with course notes for all the courses. The students who participate in the project even get 3 points added to their final score in the course. This project just started so it is hard to say if it will be useful. However, without an university wide organization it is hard to believe that a project like this would achieve anything. I just fail to imagine a wiki being of any use for taking notes to an individual student.

Jean-Noël said...

I only use del.icio.us as an online bookmark system.

We only used the wiki on our group project to share what we were working on, ie. to have one place to upload files with code and/or sections for the write up, rather than sending files back and forth by email. I don't think I'd use a wiki or any of the other online systems to take notes.

Anatoly said...

Well, I guess the case is closed than - All those post are just an attempt to get traffic from social sites. Top ten lists and the like usually do well on such sites.