At this week’s Tricks of the Trade session Susan Hastie from the library (at Regent’s Uni) gave an excellent predentation on ‘A quick tour through the best websites and apps to help students plan their time, organise their resources and streamline their learning’. Here are some brief notes of the session:

What will we be looking at:

  1. Tools for Planning
  2. Mind maps
  3. Tools for Research Organisation
  4. Screen Readers and Sound Files

1. Tools for Planning


  • Easy and simple way to list tasks
  • Can be synced over multiple smart devices
  • Can be shared with multiple users
  • Includes a ‘due-date’ function and recurring reminders

Kanban Boards

  • Can be analogue or digital
  • Useful to track the progress of individual components of a larger project
  • Can also be used to track individuals work as part of a group project
  • Choice of purely web based service or synced across smart devices



  • Available on all PCs across campus
  • Flexible way of planning – can include images, drawings, maps, graphs etc.
  • Works like a notebook, different tabs for different sections
  • Can be synced with smart devices

2. Tools for Mind Mapping


  • Available on all PCs on campus
  • Can be used to create a variety of diagrams
  • Quick way to create Mind Maps using the ‘RapidFire’ feature
  • Can include images and hyperlinks
  • Limited choice of file types


  • Available online at https://bubbl.us/
  • Free membership allows users to keep up to five mind maps at a time
  • Simple parent/child node structure
  • Mind maps can be saved as image files


  • Available online at http://popplet.com/
  • Can include images, hyperlinks, video, Google maps and other materials
  • One diagram can be shared between multiple users
  • Mind maps can be saved as image files

3. Tools for Research Organisation


  • Suite of applications surrounding ‘virtual notebooks’
  • Syncs across devices
  • Useful add-on modules, such as ‘Clearly’ which remove unnecessary ‘visual noise’ from webpages


  • Web based ‘bookmarking’ application
  • Also syncs with smart devices
  • Allows links to be ‘grouped’ rather than listed
  • Links can also be searched and shared between users
  • Compatible with Internet Explorer

4. Screen Readers

Adobe Read-Out-Loud

  • In Adobe Reader under the ‘View’ menu
  • Reads out PDFs with a choice of voices
  • Free to download (as part of Adobe Reader)
  • Voice quality can be rather robotic
  • Good starting point if you’re considering screen reader software

Read & Write Gold

  • Available on all PCs across campus
  • Read & Write Gold has two screen readers, one for general text and ‘Screen Shot Reader’ for text within images
  • It works best with Word documents and PDFs


Sound Gecko

  • Turn webpages and online articles into sound files
  • Works both as a website and an app and syncs articles between the two
  • Users can also subscribe to RSS feeds, such as The Wall Street Journal


Contact details: