Some students are more technologically inclined; it’s just a fact of life. Rather than writing notes in class, they prefer to type them out or take voice recordings so they can play them back later. However, all these students are told is to discard this preference and approach school like everyone else. So with the new school year just around the bend, where can they find study and organizational tips that appeal to them? Well tech-savvy kids, this is for you.
Obviously you dislike the traditional planner or wall calendar, so how can you “organize” your commitments without bailing on your friends or forgetting about that American history paper? All smartphones come installed with a calendar feature, which can help you keep track of important dates, and some even with a task or to-do list to keep track of what needs to be done.
However, if you’re looking for a more appealing interface, you can download the free app “myTasks,” available on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone 7. This app allows you to list your tasks by date and priority level so if you’re on a time crunch, you know what’s most important to get done. You can also set periodic reminders with this app so you’ll always know what needs to be done wherever you go. Several computers come equipped with a simple to-do list feature if you don’t have a smartphone, or just prefer all your information in one place.
The next big problem for the tech-savvy student is note taking; their notes could all jumbled together, illegible, or lost in the abyss that is their bookbag or bedroom, leading them to feel less prepared than their fellow students. However, there is hope. Windows and Mac now have freeware available to help the tech-savvy student take notes and keep them all in one place.
Windows has Microsoft Works, which not only comes with a note-taker, but also a calendar, project creator, and more. Not only can you keep track of your class notes, but also any rent or fees you may have to pay, dates of interest, even outline a project you’d like to start, all without ever having to change programs! There is also Microsoft OneNote (which can be purchased with Microsoft Office) strictly for note-taking, which people have viewed more favorably for class.
For Mac the freeware is Journler, which is just a note-taking program. However, this little wonder breaks away from tradition by allowing you to type in notes, take audio and/or video recordings, integrate online or with other Apple programs – and makes these features very simple to use. Obviously this gives a student the options that may work best for them, depending on whether they’re an audio, visual, or written learner.
On smartphones there are now applications that allow students to keep track of their school work separately from their social commitments, such as Homework Planner for Windows Phone 7. Simply put, it has the user write in the class and assignment(s) that need to be done and allows them to create as many pages as they need. Similar applications exist for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android platforms.
Finally, there’s studying. While students now have the option of buying textbooks online to either access strictly through the Internet or download to an e-reader, that seems to be the end of the line. However, there are now several flashcards apps amongst the different smartphones that allow you to either create flashcards for a specific class or download flashcards for a class that is already included the application upon install.
There are also websites, one such as Quizlet, which allows students to browse classes to study from or upload their own flashcards to share. Best part, these websites are free and allow a student to browse and use flashcards without having to subscribe to the website. Smartphones have now also made it easier to read txt. or pdf. documents, so a student can drag a class reading or study guide from their computer to read on the bus or the carpool to use this idle time more constructively.
All these technologies may be available to you, but don’t forget the most important thing: just because it’s there doesn’t mean it works. These programs and applications depend on you, the user, to stay on top of them and keep things fresh and up-to-date. You’ve put the technology in your hands – now all it takes is will to change yourself.
Links to these free/softwares:
Microsoft Works: http://www.microsoft.com/products/works/ProductDetails.aspx?pid=003
Microsoft OneNote: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/
Homework Planner: http://www.appsfuze.com/applications/windowsphone.tools/homework-planner,5902