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50 Fab Freebies – Learning

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Dictionaries

Dictionaries are an essential when writing, with the increase in software including a spell checker, their value has diminished. But they still are useful for looking up the meanings of those lesser used words. Wiktionary is an excellent online dictionary, from the same stable as Wikipedia, that is easily searched. A downloadable alternative is TheSage, which is easy to use, plus also acts as a thesaurus.

Thesaurus

In my opinion more valuable than a dictionary. How may time have you repeated a word so many times because you couldn’t think of an alternative? For a quick simple solution try Thesaurus.com. Which has a huge database of alternative words to jazz up any document.

Encyclopedia

Wikipedia, I’m sure I don’t think I need to explain! This is every students friend. It’s accuracy has often been criticised, so don’t use it as your only research tool. Ideally check the references as they can be great sources. If you want something different try MSN Encarta and Reference.com.

Translators

I don’t think a perfect translator exists, but Google Translate is very good if you want to convert some text from one language in to English. Although I wouldn’t recommend using it the other way round as some silly errors tend to always pop in! Also Yahoo Babel Fish offer a similar service for free.

Video/Step by Step Tutorials

Ever want to learn a new skill, or find out how you should go about completing a task? VideoJug has a huge range of videos from how to boil an egg to how to brew your own beer. All are simple and well thought through videos, that offer practical advice. For those who like to make interesting things, have a look at Instructables. Step by step tutorials there range from how to make a chapstick LED flashlight to how to create a LEGO USB stick. Also WonderHowTo is quite good.

Planning

A good calendar application is a great benefit if you are to get those pesky essays in on time with out effecting your hectic social life, several good calendars exist with the function to remind you of key dates (birthdays!) and deadlines. The most popular is Google Calendar although Yahoo Calendar is a popular alternative.

Cooking

There are several great sites to find and download recipes from such as StartCooking.com They offer video demonstrations plus a range of recipes suitable for kitchen shy student and the master chef. Also recipes can be found on Student Recipes and also try Recipe Matcher if you don’t know what to do with the ingredients you already have.

Got your own suggestions? Please leave a comment below.

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