You scheduled a dentist appointment at the same time as your son's soccer practice? Forgot to remind your husband that school conferences are tonight?  How many times has this happened to you?

Even with all of the technnology surrounding us, it seems harder and harder to keep all of our busy schedules straight. The kitchen calendar on the wall, the palm pilot, the day planner,  none of them seem to do the trick anymore. You may use the calendar function on your cell phone, or on your work computer, but how can you get it all in one place, where the whole family can keep track of it? Never fear, there are lots of online tools to keep everything organized! These are a few of the best.

 


Google Calendar is a great place to start.  Google Calendar is not only a great tool for your work life, but can be used for families as well. You can set up a calendar for each member of the family, and have it all linked to one place. You'll get reminders of upcoming events, and can share the calendar with anyone you want.  Got a 'smart phone'? You can synch google calendar to your phone and keep your calendar with you wherever you go! Google now includes Tasks so you can also create your own to-do list. Watch this video to get started.

 


Remember the Milk is another fun tool. You can set up your account to receive reminders in your email box, via text message, SMS, IM's. It allows you to set up lists, and can also be linked to Google Calendar.

 

 

BackPack is a site that would allow you to treat your family like a business! Share information, documents and discussions all in one place.

 

Is your desk filled with little yellow sticky notes like mine is?  You might find MyStickies to be useful then! You can overlay a virtual sticky note on a website to come back to it later! Very cool and very easy.

We have already introduced you to some productivity tools like RSS and igoogle that allow you to streamline your news and information into one place. There are even more sites out there to help, but we don't want to overwhelm you. If you'd like to explore more, check out LifeHacker, or this article, Free Web Tools for more suggestions. in Week 7: Collaboration's lesson, we introduced you to some tools like ZOHO and GoogleDocs. You can take a moment to review some of those tools as well.

 

Thing 17: Try out a new online productivity tool to help streamline your family's busy life.

 

Now, it's time to play!

Playing games online is not just for the kids! It's a great way to relieve stress and free your mind of everyday worries. Most adults spend most of their computer gaming time playing solitaire; but there are many other great brainbuilding games to play online, like Soduku, word searches or crossword puzzles.  Here are some links:

http://www.soduku.org/
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/crosswords/classicpuz.html
http://www.yourdictionary.com/dictionary-articles/free-puzzles-online.html

In 2003, adults spent 9 BILLION hours playing solitaire online. Computer geek Luis von Ahn (inventor of the Captcha) was inspired by this figure to create Games With Purpose (GWAP) - a site that combines game playing with creating useful information about images tom improve search results (creating metadata). Have fun playing games and know that you are helping the Internet be a better place!

 

Many of the classic arcade games from the 70's and 80's are available to play online! Who could forget playing Pacman, Aestoriods or Donkey Kong?  Re-live your childhood and some of those great arcade games online. Here are a few links to get you started.

http://www.pacmangame.net/
http://www.atari.com/arcade/asteroids
http://www.classicgamesarcade.com/


Thing 18: Explore some online games for fun! Are there any games you can share with your child? 

In your blog posts for this week, here are some thoughts that may help you get some writing going:

  • Did you find a tool that has use for your family at home or for you at work? Which would you recommend to others?
  • Have you been using any of the tools from previous lessons? Which ones?
  • Which games did you play? Did you play any with your kids? 
  • How are you handling the balance of time with your real life and your virtual life? Are you spending more time on the computer than usual? How do you feel about that?
  • Did you notice the advertising? Do your kids notice the ads? Do you think your child would know the difference between clicking on an ad or clicking on a game button?