10 Useful Apps and Tools for Back to School
Tablets are becoming more and more popular as a learning aid in the classroom, and rightfully so. Tablets offer a user-friendly interface, interactive experience, and are more portable than traditional textbooks. With the advent of the iPad, tons of education-geared apps have been developed that allow students to do things that can’t be done with regular textbooks. For example, smart highlighting, content search, interactive content, video content, links, built-in flashcards, and note sharing are just a few of the features that allow students to learn more efficiently and maximize their learning potential.
I always had a hard time motivating myself to study, but when I got my iPad and was able to have my books in the Cloud instead of in my backpack and weighing me down, my enthusiasm towards learning changed. I no longer fought myself to sit down on the couch with my iPad and read a chapter or two, or sit at the computer and type up my notes.
When I wasn’t spending my time studying for the next upcoming test, I was always looking for the best apps to help me manage my time and work more efficiently. I compiled a list of my favorite apps and tools that helped me balance my workload and get through college while maintaining my sanity:
Quizlet is a flashcard app, which offers several methods for helping you study. You can type up notecards online as opposed to the traditional time-consuming way of writing them out, and then study on a mobile device such as a the iPhone or iPad. Quizlet also offers several ways to learn material such as matching and multiple choice practice tests. It also allows students to share notecards with friends, or search for similar subjects or courses with flashcards. Quizlet has become one of my favorite and most-used apps. I found myself pulling out my phone during periods of downtime just to flip through my flashcards. I used it throughout all four years of college and it helped me prepare for every test. I can honestly credit this app with every single A that I’ve gotten. Yeah—it was that helpful.
Kno is an app that is committed to making the learning process more engaging, efficient and social for students. The Kno eBook reader app is available across all platforms with no shortage of features such as advanced search, note-taking, video content, flashcards and quizzes, highlighting, Dropbox access, and social features that allow students to study with each other within the app. I used Kno throughout my entire college career, and even in the beginning they had an impressive library of textbooks. If your textbook isn’t available on the Kno Store, you can easily request the title or import a PDF of the book if you own it.
Nearpod allows instructors to create interactive presentations that can be shared with students across their devices and track their activity in real-time. I have not personally used Nearpod, however, this would have come in handy in large classrooms where it’s difficult to follow along because you can’t make out the information on the board.
Khan Academy is an amazing resource not just for college students, but for anyone that has a passion for learning. The library contains a wide selection of subjects such as math, science, economics, finance, arts, and even computing. There is also a wide selection of content available from notable organizations such as NASA and the Museum of Modern Art. All of the lessons on Khan Academy are very straightforward video tutorials that explain topics step-by-step. Following lessons, there are several opportunities to practice what you learn and track your progress. Khan Academy was crucial for helping me get through Statistics.
InstaEDU is essentially a subscription-based online tutoring service where tutors from top universities can assist students with virtually any topic. Last minute homework help? No problem! Regular lessons to supplement courses? Sure! If there is something you need help with, there is likely a tutor who can help you. InstaEDU tutors cover over 2,500+ subjects, ranging from basic subjects to advanced college material.
EasyBib is pretty self-explanatory, but it has been a lifesaver and I’m surprised that more people aren’t familiar with it. EasyBib allows you to generate citations (MLA, APA, and Chicago) for bibliographies. You have enough to remember for all of your classes and with EasyBib you don’t have to remember all of the different ways to cite different types of sources. Paste in a URL for a website citation, enter an ISBN for a book and EasyBib will format the citation and put it in the appropriate order so all you have to do is copy and paste!
Project Gutenberg is a catalog of free eBooks that was compiled and digitized by thousands of volunteers who have a passion for literature. I have found Project Gutenberg especially helpful for English classes where the required reading consists mainly of classic literature, however, they offer a bunch of titles covering topics that could be useful in history, science, or psychology classes. Definitely check out Project Gutenberg to see if it has your book before you drop a pretty penny on a book you may never open again after the class.
BenchPrep is a resource that helps you prepare for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT, etc.) and professional certifications through interactive online courses. No more carrying around thick strategy books that resemble the classic Yellow Pages. Courses can be accessed on iOS or Android via a native app so you can study on the go, or you can just pull it up on your computer. I think the most useful feature is the sync, which lets you pick up studying right where you left off, even on a different device.
iStudiez Pro is an app that acts as an all-in-one planner, assignment schedule, and grade tracker for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It can be hard to keep track of upcoming assignments and events as a busy college student, so iStudiez Pro helps you organize your priorities so you can accomplish all of your tasks in an efficient manner. Data can be synced across all devices so you can remain productive, no matter what device you are using.
Tablets and apps help make your workload much more manageable so you can skip the stress and focus on your studies, and still have time for fun with friends.
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