Out of all the Web 2.0 tools I have examined so far, the Research Project Calculator is the one I am most skeptical about.
One of the goals of education is to integrate their students to the workforce, based on what their abilities and aspirations are. School is supposed to teach students about tasks and deadlines, since that's how the real world is structured. Regardless of the field in which a student specializes, he or she must be able to manage their time working on a task and deliver the desired results in a timely manner. Time management is an integral part of school curriculum and an invaluable task in the workplace.
Don't get me wrong. This tool could be a very useful one to teach students about time management. Used early enough, it could teach students about the time spans it takes for research to get done. For someone who has not done research before, it could prove very useful to learn from a seasoned researcher the estimated time it takes to do literature review, form a hypothesis, construct an outline, and start writing the paper proper in order to deliver it in a timely fashion.
The most significant feart I have abpout this tool is for it to become a crutch for a student. This toool carries the danger of becoming too much of a necessity for a student, hindering the ability of said student to manage their time without external help.
Perhaps I am overreacting. Maybe many other people, including seasoned researchers, use this tool to manage their time. But, in my honest opinion, part of the learning process is to teach a student to be able to learn to do research, and, including in this, is the ability to learn how long it takes to deliver a quality product.
This is a very good tool, as long as it is taught early enough and does not become a necessity.