I have looked at the Research Project Calculator before. I like that it offers one the real planning capabilities and shows ALL of the steps research involves. But, I find that when I work with my staff, they are not willing to take this kind of time to spend on their projects. I just can't seem them working with this tool. I feel like I've made great strides in getting them to plan and do the the research correctly (spending time, like several days! on research, using citation, taking time to teach kids how to take notes) and that this is just something that they don't need.
When I created a login about 2 months ago, one of the things that distracted me was that it (the RPC pages) seemed to cluttered and hard to follow. I like teaching tools to be very simple for my MS kids. I don't think this is very simple in a visual sense. Working with 6-8 grades on a daily basis makes me realize how simple you have to make everything. It just needs to be extremely simple and the RPC is not.
The assignment calculator from U of MN libraries is great. I just pretended to have a project due in 15 days and chose a subject area to see what would happen. I like that it really breaks it down and says today you should...and then offers you links to the tools that will help you accomplish this step. HOWEVER, do students, rather most students work like this or think like this? I'd argue no. I'd say that it's a great tool and we need to work on getting more to use it, but the majority of students or parents helping kids do a project need the material bc it's due in 5 days or the next day. These tools are great to empower folks, but how many are using them? Just food for thought.