I’m not sure that either of these tools is really necessary; most students fall into two camps: the uber-prepared who complete all of their projects in the first half of the semester, or the procrastinators who rush into the library half an hour before close on the night before their project is due.
From the NEFLIN 23 Things website: “1. Look at the RPC and the Assignment Calculator. Don’t try to cover every aspect of the tools, but rather browse the steps and consider how you could encourage students to use this product.” I’m not exactly sure why I should.
That said, it is kind of cool that the Assignment Calculator offers email reminders of deadlines. I also like that it breaks the large project into smaller segments and provides resources to successfully complete each step.
The Research Project Calculator was kind of underwhelming; however, the Narrowing the Topic Guide in the Teacher Resource section could potentially be a useful handout, also the Improving Your Google Search Tip Sheet and 10 Questions for Evaluating Web Sites (student activity).
I suppose that if someone asked for help in managing a school project, I could refer them to the Assignment Calculator, and show them how to use it; however, I don’t see myself telling every kid I see how great either one of these is and that they should try them out. I certainly don’t see myself using either one of these tools. They seem kind of like a time waster for me.