For traditional college students, a smartphone may be nothing more significant than a way to play Angry Birds in class. But for online learners, who are rapidly becoming a large percentage of the college population, a smartphone can be a lifeline. Applications exist that help with study skills, group collaboration, idea retention, and more. Below are six apps that are a necessity for online college students.
- Wi-Fi Finder. One of the benefits of an online education is that the world is your classroom. You can attend a virtual lecture or submit an assignment at any time, from the comfort of your home or while having dinner downtown. With Wi-Fi Finder, students aren’t stuck looking for coverage in order to work. It finds free, local wi-fi locations and will even provide directions to get to that specific hot spot.
- Remember the Milk. Online students often have to make their own deadlines. Without the reminder of a weekly class meeting, it’s easy to forget when a paper is due. This iPhone app creates a prioritized to-do list with deadlines, descriptions, and repeating tasks. You can even set up electronic reminders to send you a buzz or a beep when a deadline approaches.
- Mindmodo. This educational app provides a tool for out-of-the-box thinking. Instead of a traditional outline, a mind map allows you to brainstorm freely while simultaneously putting new information into a hierarchy of importance. New ideas in a category can be thrown together for unlikely combinations, then completed mind maps can be shared with classmates.
- Ace Flashcards. Learning while Facebooking? Yes please! This notorious distractor now has an app available that allows online college students to create flashcards, letting them study while catching up on their news feed or posting pictures. A built-in dictionary can define words automatically for vocabulary practice, and a flagging feature allows students to mark cards they’ve already mastered.
- BigWords. No matter how useful your smartphone is it’s difficult to make it through college without having to order a textbook or two. BigWords checks prices when you’re buying, and helps post books for sale when the semester is over. Students can save on shipping and textbook costs, leaving more cash for coffee breaks.
- Evernote. Evernote opens up new possibilities for note-taking. Students can dictate thoughts about a reading for an audio note, or even use their camera to take a helpful picture. Later, each note is searchable for specific terms. Notes can be synced with a computer or iPad which makes studying anywhere easy.
Technical applications are the new wave in educational and digital tech. Savvy students can take advantage of these tools to increase their productivity and simulate a personal tutor. The accessibility means that classroom time is no longer limited to the hours between nine and five, and even a three-minute glance over notes and flashcards can give students an academic edge. As the popularity of online learning schools like American InterContinental University continue to grow, expect more creative ideas for non-traditional learners.