Smartphones have been a hot-button issue around school campuses for several years now. This is because some schools allow them while others confiscate them on sight. But the fact of the matter is, when used correctly, a smartphone can be just as much of a learning tool as a textbook or school-issued laptop.
Below are 11 of the best mobile apps and services as identified by Gadget Hacks, which students can utilise to improve their learning.
If you’re a full-time college student or your high school uses non-traditional scheduling, keeping track of your daily agenda can be difficult sometimes. School Assistant not only offers a simple method for organising your schedule, it also comes bundled with an easy way to track grades in real time. To top it all off, the app will even mute your phone automatically any time you’re in class.
Texas Instruments graphing calculators have become entirely ubiquitous in college and high school math, to the point where a TI-84 is almost always a required material for algebra and calculus classes. But rather than shelling out over $100 for a single-purpose device, you can simply install Wabbitemu on your Android device, which will guide you through adding ROMs for most popular TI-series calculators that emulate the interface perfectly.
Apps for scanning documents
Printing resources and study materials on actual, physical paper is a practice that should have died out years ago-but schools continue to hold steadfast onto this tradition. If you’d rather keep your documents organised in a space-friendly and searchable PDF, there are several awesome Android apps that allow you to simply snap a picture of the paper to convert it into a high-contrast digital file.
Wolfram Alpha may be the single best app purchase a student can make. Think of Wolfram Alpha like Google, but with direct answers. Instead of listing webpages that may have the information you’re looking for, the service uses curated data to give you an actual answer to almost any query-whether it’s a complicated math equation, a question about biology, or in-depth statistical information.
If your name isn’t John Nash, chances are you’ve come across an equation or two that had you absolutely stumped. Rather than continuing to bang your head against that same dead end, give PhotoMath a try. Just point your device’s camera at the problematic equation, and the app will instantly solve it for you while providing a detailed breakdown of how it actually arrived at that answer.
Most textbooks don’t come with an answer key, but if they’re meant to be a teaching tool, they should. The problem here is that education boards don’t trust their students to use an example answer as a method to facilitate actual learning and understanding, and instead, they’ll pick textbooks that operate more as a collection of quizzes. Slader changes this fact by allowing students to share their own answers to questions in most popular text books, and they’re all available for free. Unfortunately, Slader doesn’t have an official Android app, but their mobile website still gets the job done.
Kiwix (offline Wikipedia)
When you’re researching a paper, all of that time spent browsing Wikipedia for information and sources can really start to pile up against your monthly mobile data cap. To remedy this issue, give Kiwix a try. When you’re connected to an unlimited Wi-Fi network, you can download entire sections of Wikipedia, including all relevant links and images. Then, when you’re at school and on mobile data, you can browse this offline Wikipedia archive without having to count the gigabytes.
Flashcards are a great learning aid, but wouldn’t you be much more likely to use them if you didn’t actually have to write them out yourself? That’s a core principle behind AnkiDroid, which offers crowd-sourced, pre-made flash cards that cover more than 6,000 topics and can be downloaded for free. And if you still want to make your own flashcards, that’s simple enough, too.
An Android tablet has the potential to be an ideal piece of hardware for taking notes, simply because of its form factor and stylus support. But a lot of these devices lack the software to truly take advantage of their hardware, and that’s where LectureNotes comes into play. The limited free version allows you to take notes, add images, graphs, and typed text, and even offers the ability to sync across all of your devices—and the pro version removes an eight-page limitation for just $3.59.
If you feel like you could use a little supplemental learning on a certain subject, Coursera offers free online classes from many of the top universities in the world. With complete courses from professors at universities like Stanford, Yale, and Princeton, you’ll be able to get ahead of your classmates in no time.
Similar to Coursera, Khan Academy is great for learning topics on your own time, whether you need to know them for school or just general curiosity and knowledge. With over 10,000 videos and explanations on a wide array of topics, you can brush up or master anything from basic arithmetic to humanities to physics. Best of all, everything is completely free.