Wielded in the right way, the power of mobile apps can help students learning online become more efficient, effective, and streamlined in their study process.
There’s a certain irony that we should turn to technological platforms and apps to help keep us distracted from … well, technology. However, as countless tech gurus have philosophised over the years, the key to getting the best out of technology is to harness these tools to meet our needs, rather than allowing them to become the masters of us. Nothing better reflects this idea than the constantly developing field of apps used for educational purposes.
How mobile apps are useful to students
Mobile apps can help students in a variety of ways. There are learning apps that can help you learn a new language or look up information on a topic you’re studying, and more practical study apps that can help you keep track of all your class notes and manage your time effectively.
Naturally, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with applications that support your online learning experience, lest you spend more time on them than actually revising for exams or writing papers. So which ones you choose to facilitate your learning experience very much depends on what you feel your weaknesses are, and which can help make you a more productive and efficient student.
Below are some of our picks for the best apps for students.
Top mobile apps for students
Have you ever sat down to study with the best of intentions, only to glance at your smartphone as the notifications come pouring in? “I’ll just check these, and then I’ll start studying” is a recognisable impression that has no doubt crossed many a student’s mind.
AppBlock is a tool designed to block application notifications temporarily so you can focus on your study. With this handy tool you can block notifications from apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram at times during the day and week you choose, to help keep you from being distracted by the intoxicating lure of social media.
Microsoft’s popular platform Wunderlist is great for organising both your personal and study commitments – after all, the two are entwined. Wunderlist is essentially a task management app that helps you get stuff done by organising your responsibilities in a more efficient way.
Being an effective online student means getting all aspects of your life in sync – balancing a healthy personal life with an organised study schedule, so you can concentrate your brain power on learning your chosen subject. Wunderlist may just help you do that.
The terms ‘referencing’ and ‘bibliography’ are terms many students have nightmares about – as they see marks scythed off their papers for not having done them correctly. Thankfully, technology offers a helping hand once again.
EasyBib is an app which helps with getting right these important aspects of submitting papers. It allows you to search for books, scan the barcodes of books, and generate references based on the citation style your university demands. Not only is it a huge time-saver, but also helps you iron out those referencing errors that so many students stumble over.
Furthermore this app helps you with research and notetaking, and also offers a handy plagiarism checking service to ensure you haven’t missed any references before submitting your paper. An essential app for the modern student.
Study apps for students
Long gone are the days when students foraged through piles of paper scattered across their rooms and in bins to find their missing lecture notes. There are a few advanced notetaking apps available on the market for students, but the most popular one right now is Microsoft’s Evernote.
This app is perfect for capturing digital interests, ideas, and inspirations from wherever you find them. It makes it easy for you to save quotes from articles, useful websites, attach videos, voice recordings, and videos. There’s also a document scanning feature for any notes you may have scribbled down (assuming your handwriting is legible), making it easy to digitise your words to keep them all in one place. The essential notetaking app, available across all devices.
A behemoth of a learning app, GoConqr has a range of impressive features to help students with their learning process – including making mind maps, creating flashcards, designing quizzes, and presenting slides. The range of features make it particularly useful for collaborative projects with other class members, and the flashcard tool is great for exam swotting.
There’s also a host of shared content uploaded by other users, so should there be others studying similar subjects, you can get access to relevant ideas of others from across the network, and also share your inspired ways at remembering difficult subjects. A great learning community for students.
Google Drive is perhaps the best known out of the apps and programs listed here, but still arguably one of the most important for students. The cloud storage system it employs means you can access your slides, documents, and spreadsheets from any device anywhere, meaning you don’t have to panic if you’ve misplaced your frustratingly small USB stick before an important project hand in or presentation – again.
Like GoConqr, it’s also great for collaborative projects as you can share and edit the same documents with other members of your team – particularly important for students who are learning online and need to take part in group projects.
Time Management apps for students
Managing your time well is hugely important when studying your degree online. It takes a high level of self-motivation and discipline to sit down and study, and not get distracted by other tasks and commitments in your life. Thankfully, there’s a range of apps for students which help you stay on top of your things-to-do list, so you can build a study schedule which is right for you.
Okay, not exactly an app, but a browser add-on version of the aforementioned AppBlock. But we need to include it in our list as it’s up there as one of the most procrastination-busting tools around. It’s a productivity extension for the Google Chrome browser, which gives you the option to block certain ‘time-wasting’ websites, such as Reddit, or wherever your go-to time-burning corner of the internet is.
You can also set a time-limit for how long you use certain websites, so once you’ve used it the site will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. Don’t panic though – it’s highly configurable, meaning should you really need to get on to Facebook to check that really important thing that’s on your mind and preventing you from concentrating on study, you can override your limit settings. But otherwise, the tool is a really great way to ensure you don’t get distracted by the stacks of new tabs piling up in your browser.
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of how long tasks are taking you and should take, then 30/30 is a brilliant studying app that will help you manage your time with laser-like precision. You can break your working sessions down into manageable chunks of time; for example, setting 30 minutes for work, followed by a 30 minute break.
“I could do this without an app!” some may say, which might be the case. However, there is admittedly something much more persuasive about your technological sidearm dictating your work/break balance. Not to mention the approachable, clean, and highly customizable interface, means you can add as many tasks to your time cycle as you like and work through them in the times you allocate yourself to do so. One of the must-have time management tools for modern students.
If you’re keen on developing study apps that can help students with their learning experience, then how about looking into starting a BSc (Hons) Computing (Mobile Computing) with Arden University?
BSc (Hons) Computing
Develop one of the most sought-after skill sets in modern business and gain the technical know-how needed to work in IT across any industry.