The number of college students taking at least one online course has nearly doubled over the past five years according to a report by market research agency Refuel.
Online students are often faced with the challenge of juggling their academic responsibilities alongside families or full-time jobs, which is certainly no easy task.
Technology can help students better manage their learning by providing everything from study aids and research tools to time-management apps, so it’s somewhat surprising to learn that few students are actually using such tools for learning purposes.
The majority of students use online and mobile apps primarily for entertainment according to the Refuel report, with over 70% using them for games, 67% using them for music, and 64% using them for social networking.
If you want to encourage your students to start taking advantage of the many technology tools available to them, here are a few examples of the types of productivity and learning apps that can support them in their studies.
With its collection of step-by-step instructional videos on a wide variety of educational topics, Howcast is a great resource for students at any level. It covers everything from tips for improving memory and reducing stress to practical advice on using programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
Vocabla is a useful tool for students whose second language is English, but even native speakers can benefit from some of its features. The app lets students add new words, phrases or sentences to their vocabulary each month and practice them for a few minutes each day using flashcards and word games or even interacting with other learners from around the world.
3. Study Habits
Study Habits is one of the most comprehensive apps for learning and productivity. Using strategies based on educational psychology, it helps students develop study habits that boost their memory, increase motivation, improve reading comprehension and reduce stress and anxiety.
Students who are learning a new language will appreciate this application which uses interactive flashcards and quiz sessions to teach foreign language vocabulary on-the-go. It can be used for many different languages including French, Portuguese, German and Italian, and allows students to track their progress in the cloud.
Online students don’t have the same peer-to-peer interaction they’d have in a regular classroom, so Brainly.com can come in handy. It’s a social learning platform that lets students ask and answer questions, and thanks to its more than 300 moderators comprised of teachers, PhDs, professors and specialists, any content published there is sure to meet high standards.
World Atlas is National Geographic’s version of Google Earth. It’s a great tool for geography students and just about anyone looking for an educational maps app. It includes high definition maps of six continents as well as useful stats and information about each country.
Equate is an all-in-one formula calculator for students that provides a library of equations for math, chemistry and physics. It also has a built in formula solver so students can check their answers or get help if they’re stuck on a difficult problem.
8. TED app
With the official TED app, students can supplement their learning by listening to educational talks on a wide variety of topics. The app also gives students to access the TED library when they’re not online, making it perfect for on-the-go learning.
The HF Scientific and Graphing Calculator is an essential tool for STEM students. It supports graph, matrix, complex numbers, equation solver and unit converter, and also has a basic mode for everyday calculations.
Getting started is often the most difficult part of an assignment, so MindMeister helps students take those first crucial steps by enabling them to map out their thoughts and ideas more clearly. Students can create and edit mind maps, and easily organise them in folders with themes, images, notes, links and more.
The Internet is a great tool for learning, but it can also be a huge distraction. Self-Control is a website blocking app lets students block all non-essential websites for predetermined amounts of time. Once they’ve done this, not even deleting the app will let them access the selected sites before the appointed time.
Lumosity is a brain training app that can help students stay sharp without even feeling like they’re studying. It was designed by neuroscientists to train memory, attention and other cognitive skills with over 40 scientific games, brain tests and personalised training, and students can use it anywhere on any device.
Socrative is just as much for teachers as it is for students. It engages students with customised quizzes and educational games, but its most useful feature is the real time data it provides on student comprehension of material, which allows for instant feedback. It also lets students answer questions anonymously so they feel more comfortable asking for clarification when they don’t understand.
Research shows that typing notes out isn’t as effective for learning as writing them by hand, but transferring notes to a laptop or mobile device later on can be a hassle. Evernote’s Penultimate app gives students the best of both worlds by allowing them to write by hand without the paper trail.
Instapaper makes it easy for students to keep track of where their information is coming from. They can save any pages or videos they may have consulted during their research and then access them later from any of their devices.
This task management app helps students take on daunting projects that might otherwise be put off until the last minute. Tasks can be broken up into smaller more doable chunks, and students can also assign priority and set up recurring tasks.
No matter what courses a student may be taking, Knowledge can be a good tool to have. It provides information on a wide variety of topics from culture and sports to nutrition, math and chemistry, and lets students store it away for later reference.
Sunrise is the calendar app to rival all others. It brings in events and birthdays from Facebook and syncs with multiple services like Evernote, TripIt and Google Calendar to save students the hassle of switching from app to app. It also includes a number of other useful features like agenda view, week view and month view that will help students stay on top of their coursework and deadlines.
19. Open Culture
Open Culture is an excellent source for free educational materials to help students supplement their learning. The Open Culture app will give students access to everything from free audio books and university courses to podcasts on a variety of topics like music, science and culture.
20. Writing Prompts
Whether students are tackling a creative writing task or need ideas for an upcoming project, this app can get their creative juices flowing. It generates words, phrases, images and other things to help spark fresh ideas.
InstaGrok is an educational search engine that finds the most relevant and useful information on the topic and presents it in a more engaging way. It displays lists of key facts on any topic along with links to the original content page as well as videos, images and even quizzes. When students find something useful, they can pin it or add it to their instaGrok journal which allows for easy note taking.
With StudyBlue students can make the most of their study time by creating and customising flashcards, taking quizzes, and tracking how they’re doing in real-time with an automatic self-assessment score. They can also collaborate with classmates and study partners.
WordHippo can help students avoid tired and overused words by showing them examples of similar ones that convey the same meaning. It also provides opposite words, word meanings, example sentences, pronunciation and rhyming words.
Photozeen is an educational photography tool that allows students to practice their craft throughout the day by providing tips before a photo is taken as well as feedback after each shot. Aside from this, it can also connect students with other aspiring photographers from all over the world.
RescueTime can help students identify their top distracters and spend their time more productively. It tracks how much time is spent on certain websites or activities and sends alerts to let users know if they’re spending more time than they should on a particular activity, like checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush.
EasyBib helps students become more effective and organised researchers. It lets them create citations in styles like APA, MLA and Chicago, and also take notes and create outlines. For teachers, it can also be a great tool for combating plagiarism and teaching information literacy.
27. Almost A Doctor
Almost A Doctor is a great resource for medical students, but can also be useful for those interested in careers like pharmacist or physiotherapist. It includes plenty of articles on diseases, skills, examinations and data interpretation.
Although cramming isn’t the most effective way to learn, Cram has some very effective study features and allows students to create flashcards or even multiple-choice questions to practice with. It will also grade their test performance, enabling them to track their progress.
Studious aids students by tracking homework deadlines and scheduled lessons, and can even help minimise distractions by silencing a student’s phone automatically during scheduled study times. It also has a notes feature which lets students store and tag their content in the cloud for easy access wherever they go.
Creating reference lists is usually seen as a tedious task, but this app makes it simple by letting students enter the title of the book, journal article, web page or other source they have used, and then filling in all the necessary information in the selected style.
Bonus app: My Study Plan
Getting on top of your studies often means creating a study plan, but where do you start? This app does half the work for you, so you can spend less time stressing and more time being productive. Import your exam schedule and the app generates your study plan for you. The best part is it’s customisable and you have control over how much time you want to spend on a particular subject.