Whether they are taking notes, recording lectures, or keeping track of assignments, students can choose from a variety of apps for most major mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry OS, and Web OS. Additionally, most of these apps for students, except for the comprehensive productivity suites, are free to download and install directly from a phone or from a website.
Students who are iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry users can use this free app to view and upload files on the go. Dropbox stores files online and allows users to access them anywhere access to the service is available. Supported file include text documents, PDF files, images, audio files, videos, and presentations, and students can create subfolders to store materials for specific classes or projects. Although the app is free, users can choose from a free basic plan or a premium plan that includes more online storage space. The app also includes basic document editing capabilities.
This useful app is available for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Web OS, and BlackBerry phones and allows students to create a digital notebook that can include text, images and clips from web pages. All notes automatically sync to the user's Evernote account for access on the Evernote website, on desktop applications, and on other mobile devices. It also allows users to share notes with others, record audio notes, and create checklists. The app's search feature makes it easy to find content, regardless of how much data the digital notebook contains.
This app for Android phones and the iPhone makes recording audio lectures easy and lets users add written notes that sync along with the recorded audio. Users can choose to type the notes using a phone's keyboard or write the notes by hand. As the audio recording plays, the app highlights the notes made at the specific point in the recording.
Whether writing a paper or reading complex material, students can use the Dictionary.com app to look up quickly unfamiliar words on iPhones, BlackBerries, and Android devices. The app lets users look up words in both the dictionary and thesaurus, and it has an extra feature that lets users look up words by speaking into the phone's microphone.
Students can use this Android and iPhone app to keep track of all their class assignments and tests, as well as receive alerts when projects become due. The app lets users input their current classes to group assignments by class name or meeting period. The app syncs all data to the myHomework website for viewing on other devices.
Blackboard Mobile Learn
Students taking online college courses that implement the Blackboard platform can install this app to access class materials, make postings in online discussion boards, view grades, and contact teachers. Supported on iOS, BlackBerry, Android, and Web OS devices, this app for students brings the online classroom to anywhere with a wireless Internet connection.
This file sharing app for the Android and iPhone provides a unique way to share photos, calendars, contacts, music, and even apps with other students. Instead of file sharing via email or through a website, students can simply bump their phones together to share files and apps.
Although some free apps for students, such as Dropbox and Evernote, are good enough to manage text documents, these paid productivity suites include more advanced formatting tools and allow users to create various types of documents. Integration with web-based storage services is another helpful feature.
Documents To Go
Students who need to be able to write papers, create presentations, and make spreadsheets can use this app to view and edit various types of files needed for class. Not only does it let users transfer files from a computer, but it also supports many wireless storage services, including Dropbox, Google Docs, and Box.net. The app works along with a desktop application that keeps all documents synced between a mobile device and computer. Documents to Go works on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phones, and devices running Palm OS.
Windows Mobile users can use this app to create and Microsoft Office documents. What makes this app different from other mobile productivity suites is that all documents created in the app maintain their original formatting when viewed on a computer. The app's included formatting tools make it easy to create presentations, spreadsheets, and documents complete with graphics, charts, and effects.
Essay Writing Workstation
While the other productivity suites simply let users type or create documents, this app for the iPhone acts as a complete writing workstation and walks students through the entire writing process. Students can complete their entire writing projects, including brainstorming for ideas, making an outline, performing research, writing a rough draft, revising, and perfecting the final draft.
Getting the Apps
Downloading and installing any of these apps is a simple process that involves obtaining the app from the phone's app store.
Android users can open the Android Market app and search for the specific app name. The app's resulting page has a link to install the app.
Users with iPhones can tap the App Store icon on the springboard to search for and install the app. Another option is to download the app from iTunes on a computer and then sync the iPhone to install the app.
BlackBerry users can install the BlackBerry App World app to their phones to locate and install apps. An alternative is to go to the BlackBerry App World website on a computer, locate the app using the search feature, and download the file listed on the app's page. This method requires the user to connect the BlackBerry to the computer and to use BlackBerry Desktop Manager to transfer the file to the device.
Windows Mobile users can open the Marketplace app on their phones, find the app by its name, and install the app directly from its page.
Looking to the Future
There is no doubt that mobile apps are the future wave of student productivity. The popular buzz phrase of, 'There's an app for that,' is becoming more of a reality. It is not far-fetched to think that students will be designing apps for themselves to do exactly what they need or want, in the very near future.