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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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7 The right tool for you

Week 6 was an opportunity to explore some of the online tools (‘apps’) that can make life run more smoothly and aid collaboration with others. You thought about your ‘taskscape’ and how using apps to help you manage routine tasks can save you time. This applies to all areas of life, whether everyday life, work or study, and some apps provide a way of linking different parts of your life more seamlessly.

You were introduced to some examples of apps that enable you to communicate and connect, create content, collaborate and keep up to date. You had the opportunity to think about the questions to keep in mind when choosing an app. As with evaluating other online sources, it’s a case of being clear about how you want to use the app and knowing the right questions to ask.

It is worthwhile establishing what apps can help you with study. This could include:

  • blogging apps to help you share your thoughts and ideas with others (e.g. Blogger)
  • file management apps that enable you to capture, store and synchronise text, image and video files across multiple computing devices (e.g. Evernote)
  • tools for storing files and sharing them with others (e.g. Dropbox)
  • sites that help you to collect together useful information and images, and discover other people’s collections (e.g. Pinterest)
  • apps for sharing presentations (e.g. Slideshare)
  • apps that help you to manage your references (e.g. Mendeley).

You may find apps developed by universities, such as OU News (up-to-date information from around the University) or OU Alive (the OU Undergraduate Prospectus brought to life with videos of real students talking about their experience of studying with the OU).

In Week 7, you found out how Manuela, Michael and John are using online tools and apps. In some cases they have become more adventurous, and in others, more discerning. All three are now able to think more critically about how these kind of online tools can best help them manage their life, whether that is booking a restaurant or collaborating on a work project.

There are still areas of life where they would like to be better organised and more efficient. Maybe you feel the same. The following activity gives you an opportunity to reflect on your own use of online apps.

Activity 5 Using apps

Timing: 15 minutes

At the end of Week 6 you chose three apps to help you in areas of life where you would like to be more organised or do things a little differently.

Take a moment to review how useful these apps have been. Make a note in your Digital plan of where they have made a positive difference in the area of life you identified.

If you have not had the opportunity to try them out yet, do so now.

If any of the apps have not lived up to expectations, see if you can find another app that is more suitable for your needs.

If you are planning to do further study, you may want to look for apps that help you to manage your information.