It’s that time of the year again. Yes, despite what Alice Cooper would have us believe, school isn’t going to be out forever. In fact, as I write this, millions of students around the world are currently gearing up for the classroom and getting ready to get a little learnin’ into ’em.
A few years ago, I found myself back in school after a ten-year hiatus. Needless to say, things had changed quite a bit since my university days (not the least of which is that my acid wash jeans no longer quite fit so well). I quickly learned that you can’t get by with just a notebook and a pack of crayons anymore. These days, getting straights ‘A’s is as much about technology is at is reading, writing and arithmetic.
Fortunately, that’s something that the people who cut my pay cheque also believe in. Because as it happens, Corel has a special place in its big, gooey, software-developing heart for students. Just take a look at products like WordPerfect Home & Student Edition, not to mention academic versions of CorelDRAW, Painter and VideoStudio Pro that are perfect for both students and teachers.
And Corel isn’t alone. Today, there are literally thousands of useful apps out there designed for students. With that in mind, here are five great FREE smartphone apps that I used when I was back in school and which are pretty much guaranteed to get students to the head of the class (or at least snag slackers like me a juicy C+).
eTextbooks for the iPad (by CourseSmart)
Any college student knows that there’s no better way to widdle down your beer money than by having to buy text books. They’re expensive, hard to find and often even harder to sell. Fortunately, eTextbooks from CourseSmart makes it easy to get textbooks for you iPad. Best of all, you can get them for a fraction of the cost. With more than 7,000 e-textbooks available, chances are you can find what you’re looking for. That being said, while the app itself is free to download, you will have to shell out some cash to get your e-books (roughly half the cost of their print equivalents). Still, if you’re a university or college student, it’s the perfect app to get the text books you need and ensure you still have a little beer money left over afterwards.
If you’ve ever struggled to stay awake and jot down notes during a boring lecture, then Evernote may just be the perfect solution for you. It’s a powerful and easy-to-use note taking app that lets you type up notes the old fashioned way, or simply turn on your smartphone and let it record lectures for you. You can organize your notes using an intuitive interface and can even synch it up to a desktop version of the program on your PC or Mac to ensure you have everything when you need it. Best of all, if you fall asleep in class after an all-nighter, Evernote ensures those boring lecture notes are waiting for you when you get back home.
If you’ve ever been stuck in a library cramming for a mid-term, you know that flashcards are a great way to quiz yourself. The idea is to write basic concepts on a white cardboard card, with a question on one side and the answer on the other. Fortunately, With Flashcards +, you can quickly and easily whip up study flashcards on your smartphone and save Mother Nature while you’re doing it. The app includes built-in study decks for specific courses and lets you easily create your own custom decks. Last minute cramming for an exam has never been so easy.
Free Graphing Calculator
Back in the stone age when I was in high school, math teachers forced their students to go out and buy Graphing Calculators—expensive, clunky, brick-sized pieces of technology that could only store about 2KB of information and worked only as either a paper-weight or to figure out complex mathematical mumbo jumbo. Let’s just say these bad boys weren’t exactly running Angry Birds. Fortunately, there’s the Free Graphic Calculator app. It slices, dices and calculates, not to mention keeps you from throwing out your back carrying a Graphing Calculator in your bag.
If you’re an organizationally challenged student like me, then MyHomework may just be your new BFF. The app lets you organize and keep track of your class assignments, reminding you of upcoming tests and project due dates. You can even organize your classes by color, letting you stay on top of your academic insanity. The app also includes a desktop version which you can synch with your smartphone, so that you get those important reminders whether you’re working at home, the library or frantically trying to finish your essay at the last second on the bus. The only downside: getting this app means you probably won’t be able to use the classic my dog ate my homework line. But hey, that’s a small price to pay for nailing an A+ on that mid-term.
Interested in other free apps? Check out Corel’s collection of web and mobile apps.
Are you heading back to school as a student or teacher? What apps are you planning on using in your classroom?