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Here are some free tools that helped me save money and work smarter during college.

Share class notes with Google Docs

Google Docs is like having Microsoft Word in your email account.  Once you sign up, you have access to a word processor and spreadsheet application that can import and export files to and from Microsoft and Open Document formats.  It doesn’t have all the features of Microsoft Office, but it’s good enough for most of the writing you’ll have to do during college.  Best of all, you can give your friends access and editing privileges for your documents, enabling easy sharing of class notes and study guides, and efficient collaboration on projects.

A few years ago, getting notes for a class I missed meant I had to set up a time to meet, and either copy by hand or find a copy machine.  Now, if I’m getting notes from a colleague who uses Google Docs, sharing notes with me takes 30 seconds and a couple of mouse clicks.

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What is it?

Have you ever shared your notes with a classmate, or copied someone else’s notes after missing class?  What if you could get paid for doing just that?  If that appeals to you, check out Knetwit, a knowledge-sharing site with a really cool twist.

How does it work?

Here’s how it works: you upload your class notes and study guides to the site, where they can be accessed  and downloaded by other users.  You earn points, called “Koin” for uploading notes, referring friends who join, and every time someone downloads your notes.  Koin can be redeemed at the Knetwit Store for cash or merchandise including iPods, game consoles and TV’s.  You also receive “knowledge points” and “community points” which indicate your standing and credibility, and affect how many Koin you earn for each action.

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As a student, I have to take a lot of notes. I’m a fairly fast typist, and I frequently get impatient when I have to write things by hand. Some of my classmates bring laptops to school, but I am reluctant to carry that much weight around or put such a valuable item at risk of loss, damage, or theft.

I recently purchased a Belkin F8U1500 Wireless PDA Keyboard from an Amazon retailer to use with my Toshiba e330 Pocket PC. I used it last month to take notes during a four-day seminar, and was very pleased. Some of the presenters spoke way too fast for anyone to take good handwritten notes, but I easily kept up with them.

Specifications

  • Measures 5.5 x 3.75 by .75 inches. Weighs .4 lbs.
  • Uses one standard AAA battery.
  • Keys are about 7/8th’s of full size.

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