Being a Teacher, whenever I enter a class, I am mostly met by a large group of students huddled together discussing about their mobile phones, latest instant messaging apps or a new game.
“Clash of Clans is so awesome”, exclaims the gaming geek while the social student blurt out “I prefer Viber for voice calls” to one of his friends.
You are then struck with the realisation, that the classroom has changed from where it was many years ago. The syllabus has become better, but students/teachers follow the same means to study
They still lug around large books, mark the important points using a highlighter and if the notes need to be distributed among the students, then they will make a xerox. Thus, another hard copy is created.
There are so many applications out there that can help students learn better and manage their education life.
Below are my 5 favorite apps for students.
Dropbox is my go to application for cloud synching and distribution of notes. I can upload data to my dropbox account at home, come to college and then view them on a desktop or in the mobile app.
I save all my courseware, study guides and presentations in it. Each is broken semester wise, which makes it a breeze to share with my students. If any student has been absent for my class, they can go back and refer what was done last using my Dropbox.
Learning doesn’t stop with the end of the semester or when you graduate from college. It is a lifelong thing, but many students just go with the flow and study according to the syllabus. In today’s world, students need to learn more than what books teach. If we wanted to learn something more, we used to visit the library. Now, the library is digital – It is the internet.
TED’s official Android app presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people: Education radicals, Tech geniuses, Medical mavericks and more.
Pocket is my favourite research tool. It lets me save articles for later reference.
How is this different from saving regular browser bookmarks you ask? Regular bookmarks are a list. To view them later, you need an internet connection. If you have 100’s of bookmarks and you need to go through them, then it will take you some time. Pocket presents your pocketed list in a visual style that can be synched and viewed on any device.
While browsing a website, I just hit the ‘Pocket’ button and it saves the article to its cloud based service. It also gives me the options to tag the article with keywords. Keywords, which I can use later to sort my pocket list of articles.
Growing up I used to buy Tech magazines to keep abreast of the latest tech news and reviews. In those days there weren’t much of blogs and websites. For a long time I was happy with the fact that I was learning about new tech, even though that tech news was a month old.
With the internet getting faster, content getting dynamic and updated quickly – Blogs and websites have replaced what newspapers and magazines provided.
There are so many sources now. How to keep in synch with their updates, without going mad? I used to waste time on end, browsing through websites.
That was until I discovered Feedly.
Feedly is a Free Reader that allows you to sift thru the data quickly. You can use it thru its web or mobile application. Once logged in, you only need to put in the blog/website name or the topic you are looking for, in the search box and you can then subscribe to them. The updates from the websites are pushed automatically to Feedly.
I now spend my free time between classes, browsing thru the summaries of the subscribed content and picking the ones I want to share to Twitter or to my Student groups on Facebook. Best thing is that Feedly integrates with a whole lot of services – Twitter, Facebook, Pocket, etc.
Evernote is an awesome research organiser and collaboration tool. Students can use it to create Notebooks. These notebooks can have an assortment of data like text, images, voice notes. You add even add web clippings. If you are a group of students working on a project, this digital notebook can be shared around and each student of the group can add content to it.
There are also Evernote apps for Android Wear, extensions for web browsers, note scribbling (Penultimate) and flashcards type (Evernote Peek) apps for the iPad
The above applications have their iOS and desktop counterparts as well.
If you are a student or a teacher, I would love to hear about your favorite apps in the comments.
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