Friday, December 23, 2011

Apps For Students: Technology as a Resource, not a Distraction!

Most kids nowadays are even more technologically savvy than their parents. With iPhones, iPods, and iPads becoming more and more common among young teenagers and even grade school children, it's a wonder how homework ever gets done. While games, texting, and Facebook all contribute to distraction, did you know that smartphones can also be used to assist your child in school? Below are just a sampling of some student-friendly apps that can be downloaded easily right to their phone or iPad, some even for free!

  • iStudiez Pro - This app costs just $2.99, and is essential for the student who struggles with organization. Some of the features include entering course details and teacher information (i.e. subject, department, office hours, etc), icons and color labels to distinguish classes, a summary of what needs to be done each day, everyday, and alarms to remind you of class times and assignment due dates. There is also a section dedicated to keeping track of homework; you can organize projects by date, course priority, and pending to completed assignments. Good for students of any age!
  • Graphing Calculator - The major advantage for this app is that it is completely FREE. It has most of the functions of a Texas Instrument with none of the financial burden. The only downside is that your teacher or professor might not allow you to have your mobile phone out during an exam, but it can certainly assist when preparing for a test or completing assignments. 
  • VocabPlus Lite - This app is perfect for students preparing for the SAT or ACT tests. It offers over 1500 words with definitions and spoken pronunciation, and adjusts to suit your learning style. Different modes allow you to learn new words and definitions, or test yourself with multiple choice questions. Old words are even retired as they are absorbed into your vocabulary to keep you focused on new material. Like the graphing calculator, this app is also FREE. 
  • Dictionary and Thesaurus - This free app requires no Internet connection, and provides access to over 2,000,000 words. Set the Word of the Day notification to improve your vocabulary. Essential for any student - any word right at your fingertips!
  • iHomework - This app works like a planner, without the nuisance of an extra notebook in your backpack. It allows you to keep your schedule and your workflow streamlined by alerting you for deadlines, assignments, and class times (never worry about sleeping through class!). You can also share missed assignments via email with fellow students, log your grades, and keep track of your GPA. Only $1.99.
  • Todo5 - This is a task management app. Unlike iHomework and iStudiez Pro, Todo5 focuses just on organizing what needs to be done. It allows you to set reminders, group related tasks together in a project, or have one simple To-Do List in a checklist format. Search for tasks quickly and easily, star them in order of importance, leave notes for yourself, and customize your lists. You can also synch Todo5 with other related apps such as Outlook, Notebook, and GoodReader. This app is only $1.99, and perfect for students with organization issues or Executive Functioning Disorder.  

Apps don't always have to be a distraction for students. Encourage them to use their technological smarts wisely with organization and school-related tools, such as the ones listed above. Who knows? You might be surprised by what your child can accomplish with just a little help from their smartphone.

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