I discovered the U. of MN’s Assignment Calculator back in 2004 and thought it was a really cool idea. I learned at the TIES meeting today that MEMO, Minnesota’s statewide media organization, has collaborated with MINITEX at the U. to develop a new version of the Research Project Calculator which is aimed more appropriately at a K–12 audience.
The old version was aimed squarely at traditional research paper projects. The new one has broader appeal and includes information about essay, presentation, or video projects. (The site has “PowerPoint” as an option. I always avoid specific products when possible since there are many alternatives to PowerPoint.) Once the project type is selected, students can enter their email address for automated reminders and the project due date. The calculator prints out a five-step research guide and deadlines for each step to discourage procrastination. The new site has a lot more supporting documentation than the original, and a teacher guide is on the way. This would be a great site to link to from a media center or other school web page.