August 29, 2013

Get a Head Start with These Back to School Apps


Times have certainly changed, as students from elementary school through high school and beyond now have access to a tremendous amount of resources right on their mobile devices. For everyone heading back to school this fall, there are plenty of apps that will help them organize their classes, grades, notes, create flash cards, or even save them the cost of purchasing an expensive graphing calculator for those challenging math courses. If you can think of an academic purpose, there is probably an app for it.

Unlike textbooks, you won’t need to purchase all of these apps before the start of class. Apps can be accessed and purchased mid-lecture to keep you ahead of the curve. But a few apps may be beneficial to prepare yourself before the bell for homeroom.

Hit Your Target GPA and Keep Track of Assignments

Grades 2 lets you input all of your grades for each course. You can adjust the weight of your grades to match your teacher’s syllabus, input all upcoming assignments, and get notified when each are due. The app has received lots of attention from students over the past few years, ranking first in Fox News’ top apps for students. Grades 2 is available in the iTunes store for free.

iHomework is a stunning app that lets you seamlessly keep track all of your assignments whether you are using your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. In addition to keeping track of grades and assignments, iHomework allows you to email assignments to friends who missed class. iHomework integrates with Questia so you can research homework answers directly from the app. The latest version of the app is optimized for iPhone 5, showing that the company is staying up to date on the latest technology. Though the app will set you back id="mce_marker".99 when purchased from the iTunes store, it’s a great buy to keep your grades on track.

Take Awesome Notes with Your Phone

Evernote is a great app for any student heading back to the classroom. Not only is the app extremely versatile with many note-taking features, it is used by professionals around the world. Evernote is a free app with the power of an expensive download. You can simply snap a picture of your syllabus or assignment and with its powerful text recognition, your physical documents become searchable. You can download Evernote in the iTunes store.

Kno Textbooks is an app on the mission to eliminate back pain and give you a great interactive experience with your textbooks. The free app lets you purchase your textbooks in a mobile format so you don’t have to lug around heavy books from classroom to classroom. The app goes a step further allowing you to take notes and share them with your classmates, make flashcards, and attach external PDF files. You can download Kno Textbooks in the iTunes store.

Preparing for Mobile in the Classroom

Teachers have spent the last couple decades reprimanding their students for having their mobile devices in class. Now more than ever this is a futile battle because mobile devices have academic value. But we know they can still provide a distraction to students or provide them a way to cheat on exams.

Apps for students continue to provide more academic value by allowing students to learn in their own way. Developers, teachers, and students alike can tap into this potential to improve the overall learning experience and help more students become successful in the classroom. 

For teachers concerned about their students cheating on exams, developers should embrace well-managed API programs for their products that will allow teachers and students to disable apps such as Facebook or phone features (e.g. texting) during an exam period to ensure academic honesty.

By crafting learning tools that also integrate efficiently with a student’s phone and their other apps, students won’t have to pocket their learning devices and use a hands-on approach to solving problems, learning, and researching.