“There’s an app for that”—the slogan that changed the world. In fact, that very slogan changed your life. Now, you’re able to find directions while on the road, gather recipes in seconds, listen to your favorite music, play games and catch breaking news. Your life is certainly more complete.
But these devices have never been a good fit for the classroom, right? Wrong. Instead of hiding your fancy gadgets from teachers and professors, use them to your advantage.
“But,” you say, “there are over 350,000 apps to choose from.” That’s precisely why I went to the trashiest trash bins of the app world to find the gems among garbage. Here are the best student apps out there for your scholarly needs.
Stanza: Can’t afford a Kindle? Not completely sold on reading on the iPhone? Give it a shot (for free) with Stanza. The interface resembles the Kindle, but certain features can be customized for optimal readability. Additionally, through Project Gutenberg, Stanza offers more than 100,000 free books, many of which you’re likely to be assigned in class (i.e., Pride & Prejudice, Ulysses, Moby Dick and Heart of Darkness).
gFlashPro: This is one of the most user-friendly flashcard applications out there allowing you to create decks of cards with either Google Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel. The app’s flashcards can include sound clips or YouTube videos, taking the design of the flashcard to a whole new level. The online flashcard directory is another plus, allowing you to share your flashcards with others in your community. Although there is a free, “lite” version, the ad-free $4.99 version may be your best bet.
Graphing Calculator: This is one of those things that you have to see to believe. In the world of calculators, this one lies somewhere between your dinky wallet calculator and a true Texas Instrument. For only 99 cents, it may not be able to handle the complexity of an advanced calculus class, but for a student on a budget, it’s a cheap solution.
iStudiez Pro: As one of the best-selling education apps, iStudiez Pro helps you keep track of lecture and lab sessions, tasks, homework and even dates. It’s priced at $2.99 and is a good fit for college and graduate students. Another organizer is MyHomework. Large documents are not managed as well, but as far as scheduling and keeping due dates, it’s a great free alternative.
Documents to Go: Viewing and saving documents on your device can often prove to be a pain without an application. This $4.99 program has the ability to sync with your computer and view Microsoft Office files, PDFs and text documents on your device. If you’re ambitious enough with your device’s small keyboard, you can even create and format Microsoft Word documents.
Wikipedia Mobile/Wikipanion: For the last time, don’t use this as a term-paper reference! It is always a helpful tool, though, when searching for plain ol’ information. This app lets you browse some of the most popular and most obscure articles in the famous open-source encyclopedia for free.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: There are hundreds of free dictionary apps available, but Merriam-Webster’s ads are minimal and the thesaurus is easily accessible. Know your needs, because the app market offers everything from voice-controlled dictionaries to large font to foreign language.
Language App: Whether you chose Spanish, Italian, French, or Japanese, even, there’s a language app to tailor to your needs. If you can bear annoying ads, by all means, use the free version, but at $1.99, the iSpeak series isn’t too much of a splurge. The interface is user-friendly, and your progress can be synced with other devices, so you’re always ready to learn.
SkyView: OK. We might not all study astronomy or astrology, or even take a class remotely related to the stars, but this is too cool to overlook. If you’ve ever spent an evening outside of the library contemplating the stars, now you can know exactly what stars you’re looking at. Simply point your device to the sky, tap on what you see and discover things about the sky.
iTalk: Ah, the plight of the student: You ask your teacher for help on a paper, he or she tells you brilliant things you didn’t think of and your mind races to all the exciting possibilities this idea will lead. You stand up to leave with a dumb grin on your face, and the minute you walk out the door, you’ve forgotten everything. Next time, record what they say about your paper and improve your overall grade with this free app. The interface is easy to use once you get used to the slew of ads upon startup. There’s even an insta-record button.
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