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Monday, December 1, 2014

Top 5 Apps for Students (And how to use them effectively!)

Though our smartphones are often most enticing when we want to procrastinate, they also provide us with access to many little-known productivity tools. After two (and a half!) years of high school, I have scavenged the App Store and accumulated a set of applications that seriously help me in studying as well as doing homework.

StudyBlue- If you are not already using StudyBlue, the way you study for those Spanish quizzes or history tests is bound to be revolutionized. With StudyBlue, you can create your own decks of flashcards, and quiz yourself using your phone. The app even lets you track your progress with handy graphs and personalize your flashcards with images or audio content. I’ve found StudyBlue to be especially helpful when I’m on-the-go and quickly want to brush up on a concept. I’ve been known to flip through my biology decks as I walk between classrooms during passing period!

EleMints- A savior for all of my fellow chemistry kids! In essence, it is a Periodic Table of the Elements- but it is so much more.  The app provides listings of all the elements for every trend from Atomic Radius to Ionization Energies, and even displays a graph of Electronegativity values. Another fun feature: type in the compound you are working with and the app will automatically calculate its atomic weight!

Dictionary- This may be an obvious one, but never underestimate the usefulness of having a dictionary, thesaurus, and translator at your fingertips. This free app has all three, plus a clear user interface that is easy to navigate. You can also tap to hear the pronunciation of a word and even save your favorites in a folder for future reference.

Teachers Websites Saved as an App- OK, so this isn’t an app but it proves useful so, so often. If any of your teachers have websites that they post homework or documents on, save them as an app on your homepage. Then, just click the app to be directly routed to the site. For me, this comes in handy because accessing my teachers’ websites requires a frustrating saga of navigating the school district network.  This way, I can quickly get the information I need and still maintain my sanity.
YouTube- Hear me out! YouTube has become one of my most valued study tools, ever since I learned how to navigate it effectively. There has been a growing movement in which educators (often real life teachers or experts on a certain subject) film lectures, tutorials, and lessons and post them on YouTube for public access. My favorite channels include Khan Academy for higher-level math and biology (though it features several fields of science) and The Chemistry Solution for straightforward chemistry.  I use Crash Course for both world history and U.S. history (Crash Course also has a literature channel, but I rarely find an episode about the book I’m looking for). These videos are great for reinforcement, but they also help if you miss a day of class and need an overview of a certain concept.

Post by Allie C, Homework Assistant

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