Category Archive: Best of the Web Adults

Best on the Web – Find Money for Higher Education

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you’re planning to attend college in 2012-2013, you will need to fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for federal grants and loans. The FAFSA application takes about an hour to fill out, but only if you have prepared the necessary documents such as your and your guardian’s recent tax returns and bank statements. You can fill out the FAFSA online at the FAFSA website, or you can apply through the mail with a paper form. The Office of Federal Student Aid strongly recommends the online application because it conducts immediate error checking, and it tends to speed up the application process by a few weeks. Again, any financial aid award begins with the FAFSA, so be sure to complete the form before the deadlines for the schools to which you’ve applied. Application deadlines vary for institutions and state to state. Check with the financial aid officer at the college where you applied for the official deadline.

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Best on the Web – Save Energy, Search in the Dark

If you’re like me, you rely on Google every day for information. The Google search engine processes millions of searches daily, and every time a user searches, they start from the iconic Google homepage with its bright white screen and colorful logo. But did you know that a bright white screen requires more power to display than a black (or dark) screen? In 2007, a blogger proposed that a black version of Google could save 750 Megawatt-hours of energy each year. (A megawatt-hour is the equivalent of ten thousand 100 watt light bulbs burning continuously for one hour.) In response to the blogger’s proposal, Heap Media created Blackle, a “lights out” version of Google that uses the same search engine so you don’t have to sacrifice the quality or comfort of your searching style. I enjoy Blackle because it not only reminds me how important it is to make greener choices, but I find the black screen and muted text to be easier on my eyes. Blackle creators acknowledge that the energy savings are small, but, in time, they all add up.

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Best on the Web – Fun & Learning Activities for Families

Children need to be physically active for at least thirty minutes a day. features simple games and activities to help you get active with your child and have fun doing it! Photo courtesy

If your New Year’s resolution is to prepare your child for success in school, the Library of Virginia has a new online tool to help. is an online family literacy calendar, activity guide, and resources. Each day the website suggests brief and entertaining activities to develop early reading skills, an electronic picture book from the TumbleBook Library, and a short animated video for families to watch together. The site also provides links to other great online resources. For parents and other caring adults, there is information on health and safety, craft ideas, links to free eBooks for children. Coming soon are links to your community public library and family-friendly activities.

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Best on the Web – Schoolwork Made Simple

This is the year you’re going to turn in assignments on time. This year you’re going to know what’s due, when it’s due, and what you need to do to get the A. This year you have Soshiku, a simple but powerful tool that helps you manage your high school or college assignments online. Soshiku keeps track of when your assignments are due and can even notify you of upcoming due dates via email or on your smartphone. The best part is it’s totally free. Soshiku is very user-friendly, enabling users to categorize classes and assignments, track progress, upload files, and save notes. As a student you will often be asked to work with other students. Soshiku makes this easy as it simplifies the task of working with other people by giving you a variety of ways to connect. It’s possible to use Soshiku to chat, share files and collaborate on group projects.

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Best on the Web – Read & Download Books for Free

Image courtesy of Open Library

The name says it all: Open Library is a digital library that offers free access to a collection of 1,000,000+ eBooks. The project began in 2004 with the goal of creating a web page for every book ever published, in effect establishing the most comprehensive catalog of the written word. Users can choose just how they want to read by selecting from a variety of online versions suitable for PC and Mac, Kindle, and DAISY for print-disabled readers. One of the highlights of Open Library is how easy it is to search and find just the book you want. Browse by subject, search by title and/or author, and view multiple editions of the same title. Like Google Books and Project Gutenberg, the majority of Open Library’s collection is comprised of Public Domain works. That means you won’t find new bestsellers on this site, but you will find popular classics that are standard reading in most high schools and colleges. Classics are great for browsing and research as well.

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Best on the Web – ‘Tis the Season for Saving

My sister is one of those extreme coupon enthusiasts you hear about on TV. On a recent trip to the drugstore, I saw her walk away with an armful of merchandise for which she paid less than a dollar. After I saw her work savings magic, I had to find out how she makes it look so easy. She shared her secret with me and now I’m sharing it with you. Here is her list of the best couponing websites to help you save this season.

Couponing 101 – This site caters to couponing newbies with a Beginner’s Guide, glossary of coupon terms, and an extensive database of online and printable coupons.

Ebates – Like to shop online? With Ebates you get paid to shop, as much as 10% back on your purchases.

Retail Me Not – We all hate to pay for shipping, and that extra 10% off really does help around the holidays. Retail Me Not offers online coupon codes for discounts and free shipping for your favorite retailers. – I love this website! Purchase restaurant gift certificates at reasonable prices. Sign up for the mailing list and receive special savings up to 85% off.

Southern Savers – My sister swears by this website. Read about upcoming sales and coupons, browse the unbelievable coupon database, and print off coupons at home.

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Best on the Web – Helium

Are you a person who loves to write? There is a website,, that now caters to you! The concept behind Helium is to create a community of writers. As a member, you will be asked to rate articles by other members. Other members will also rate your work. You will have opportunities to revise your work, but you will not be given specific feedback.

As an added incentive, Helium also pays writers for their work. The payments however are pretty small! If you write something that is read by many other members, you will get a few pennies for it. It is also possible to write an article in response to a prompt from Helium when they are looking for an article to sell to a third party. If you fulfill the terms of the prompt, you will be paid a dollar or two. Helium is primarily a knowledge-based medium, but there is also a creative writing section.

If you are an experienced writer, and if you have expertise in a subject area, Helium can be an entertaining way for you to share your knowledge and make a few dollars. Do not quit your day job, and also remember that Helium can absorb too much of your time if you let it!

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Best on the Web – Do More with Your Money is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching Americans the basics of financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on can help you maximize your financial decisions. This site features financial education help from more than 20 different Federal websites, aggregated and organized so that users can learn and start benefiting from it quickly and easily. Content is organized by where you are in life, who you are, and by specific hands-on tools. Popular topics emerging in the news and based on user feedback are also highlighted.

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Best on the Web – Free How-To Help

Don’t let the name scare you away—The Beehive is a website worth visiting. Since 2001, when The Beehive was launched by the D.C.-based non-profit, One Economy, it has helped more than 18 million people worldwide connect to educational tools and services to inform and empower people to improve their lives. This site is buzzing with free how-to help related to money, health, jobs, school and housing. Some of the current articles include a back-to-school guide, food stamp eligibility tool, and a gestational diabetes factsheet. A brief exploration reveals in-depth financial and savings advice, health tips and assistance, employment coaching, computer training, college preparation guides, and homebuyer help. Registered users enjoy additional perks, such as printable coupons and the ability to set their location and view local services and resources. Content is updated regularly to reflect seasonal needs and current trends.

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Best on the Web – Read Books Online for Free

Woodcraft, or, How a Patrol Leader Made Good by Alan Douglas. Courtesy of Project Gutenberg.

Books are made to be handled, shared, and enjoyed for many years. But constant handling wears books out, and eventually years of readers’ enjoyment begins to show. For this reason, thousands of books are being digitized and made available on the Internet. These online books include ancient texts, beloved classics, current popular titles, and a variety of fiction and non-fiction works now in the public domain.

Project Gutenberg offers more than 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, or other portable device. Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.

The British Library’s Turning the Pages features a true-to-life reading experience of some of history’s greatest written works, including the first Atlas of Europe, William Blake’s notebook, Jane Austen’s manuscripts, and sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.

Google Books is a searchable index of millions of contemporary titles you can preview or read for free. This is a great resource for students writing school papers!

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