There’s an app for that: Using technology in your academic life

By in Opinions

Long gone are the days of chalkboards and chalky fingers — today we have technology and information at our fingertips. Instead of ignoring it, pick up your phone and use it to enhance your academic style. The Sheaf has compiled a list of free apps available on the Google Play Store to help you succeed in your studies.

1. Forest: at some point, we’ve all felt the dread of realizing that instead of spending a quick two minutes on our device, we spent a whole two hours — oops. In comes Forest to save the day. This app allows the user to grow a virtual forest in exchange for time spent focused. Set an amount of time that you would like to stay focused for and Forest does its best tostudentapps keep you on track. Stay on the countdown screen for the entirety of the time and you plant a tree. Leave the screen and your tree dies. Don’t be a tree killer — stay focused.

2. Grade Tracker Pro: how many times have you thought to yourself, “I only need 20 per cent on this final to pass the class?” Knowing what your average is can be reassuring at times, or at other times be downright frightening. Instead of sitting there and doing the math yourself, use Grade Tracker Pro to do the work for you. This app can calculate your current overall average, the average you have in one class or even what mark you need to get that coveted 90 per cent. The options are endless.

3. Quizlet Flashcards and Cram: flashcards are a student’s best friend, as long as they work with you. Make them on your device and you have them everywhere you go. Weekend road trip? Get some study time in along the drive — a little goes a long way. Both Quizlet Flashcards and Cram allow you to make flashcards organizable in any way desired. Where they differ is in memorization style.

Cram has two learning methods — “memorize” and “cram.” Memorize is the most basic way to use flashcards, see a word and know its meaning or answer a question. Cram involves using the flashcards to see just how many you’ve memorized. Move up each level as you cram in all the knowledge. Quizlet has a larger variety of methods, for many different learning styles. Options include matching, testing and more. The choice is yours.

4. PubMed Mobile: whether purely for interest or for a dreaded paper, there may come a time when you need to look up an article in a scholarly journal. PubMed is a collection of millions of scholarly articles. Talk about having information at your fingertips. Use this app to search the database and find articles from around the world.

5. Microsoft Word: yes dear student, this well known program is available on your mobile device. Having Microsoft Word on your phone can be a lifesaver. While it has less features than the standard desktop program, the mobile version is still quite handy. Need to edit an essay while waiting for your doctor’s appointment? Done. Had a thesis statement pop into your head while in the middle of shopping? Add it quite easily to your paper. With the app, Microsoft Word can become as versatile as you need it to be.

Armed with these apps, and many more available on the Google Play Store, your learning experience can evolve quite drastically. You can go from a Charmander to a Charizard thanks to your device. Don’t let school get the best of you this semester — your grades will thank you later.

Kezia Fourie

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor