Campus Life

Study Apps Can Help

How did we ever get by without our iPhones and all those apps? I was watching the movie Apollo 13 the other night and marveled at what we were able to accomplish with 1960s technology. What filled a warehouse with massively hot computers and their associated cooling equipment back then couldn't compete with that iPhone on your hip. Going back even before that, it's a wonder that the Manhattan Project ever produced The Bomb, in light of the fact that most of the calculations were made on blackboards and slide rules. How did we ever make any progress without an iPhone?

Which brings us to college (and, of course, high school). It seems as though every other day we read about a bevy of new applications for our iPhones. "Apps" they're called. It also seems that whenever we wishfully ponder aloud about needing to do any kind of complicated task ("I need to overhaul my car's transmission!"), someone will blurt out. "Hey, there's an app for that!" Really? Okay, that kind of information sets my imagination in motion. Maybe we don't need education anymore. Maybe there is (or will be) an app for becoming learned. We can just buy the latest iPhone (soon to be made obsolete by the next generation to debut), sign a contract for the premium data-usage plan, hit a few icons on the touch scree, sit back, and become educated. Kind of like The Paper Chase and Jetsons all rolled into one.

Until that day arrives, though (and it's not that far off, in my view), high schoolers and college students will have to make due with currently available apps. "Which ones might they be?" you ask.

Well, I just happened to receive a list of the so-called top five apps every student should have on their smartphone (a.k.a. "iPhone") or tablet to help them study. Let's see what they are and how they can help you.

inClass: — inClass is a free iPhone and iPad app provides students with the tools to keep up with material in the classroom without missing out on their professors' lectures. Using inClass, students can record audio, take text or video notes, and create images of slides or handouts. Students can also use the app to share materials with friends through Facebook and iTunes.

Open Study Mobile: Free tutoring? Who doesn't love that? Open Study launched a mobile app in May 2012 that gives students access to study assistance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,gratis. Students can work together or get the help of a volunteer “hero" to solve challenging homework problems and complete assignments.

Clipix— Clipix is a free online tool that easily organizes the digital content in people's lives. Clipix was created out of a need for a tool that would allow people to save and share links, documents, photos and video with one click, and provide a visual and organized environment for all of the things they want to keep track of online. Users can categorize items into different clipboards which can remain private or public. Clipix is available online and across iOS and Android devices.

Quizlet— Quizlet has more than 10 million free sets of digital flashcards, Quizlet offers students a variety of ways to study course materials. After choosing a flashcard set or creating a new set, students have the option of four study styles, along with two varieties of flashcard games that strive to bring an entertainment factor to studying. Quizlet is available to students through the Web as well as via more than 50 mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android-powered devices.

StudiezPro — StudiezPro is a powerful scheduling app won't get you an A in bio, but it will help you ace time management. iStudiezPro allows you to input your class schedule and homework into a built-in planner, then alerts you of approaching deadlines, keeps track of your grades, organizes your extracurricular schedule, and counts down to your next class. Now if only it counted down to happy hour.


As cool as these apps are, I'm waiting for the ultimate school-related app. Say you're sitting there quietly during a lecture on the history and archeology of South Central America, thinking about how to finish your Coors-Light-cans version of the Parthenon back in your room. Suddenly, the professor asks you to name three indigenous religions that flourished in Peru during the 10th Century. Dredged back into reality by the prof's annoying query, you quickly touch The Answer App icon on your smartphone and, because your phone has been listening to the lecture all along, it immediately sends the answer to your invisible wireless earpiece. You stand up, answer with authority, and sound like Margaret Meade.

No sweat and an "A" for your class participation. That day can't come soon enough!


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