By Shawn McGowan
Summer's nearly over and the time grows ever closer for students to resume their formal education. With iPad programs popping up at many schools and youth smartphone ownership at an all-time high, each year our youngest generation grows more connected to the world and their studies via mobile technology.
A recent survey revealed [PDF] that 85 percent of children own a phone, while only 73 percent own a book at home, and some colleges report that up to 40 percent of students browse the web to study before tests. So let's take a quick look at a few simple, but "must have" back-to-school apps for mobile-ready students.
- Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com apps (free, Android, iOS) - Not just great for students, but anyone who writes. Quickly get: a Word of the Day, pronunciation, and brief (but apt) definitions.
- iHomework ($.99, iOS) - With this, you can record course schedules and teacher contact info and set homework alerts and reminders. Plus it works with both iPhone and iPad (universal, pay once). Con: not iCloud enabled, yet.
- Flashcards Deluxe ($3.99, iOS) - Supports Dropbox, Google Docs and USB transfers. Create a flashcard spreadsheet and use the app website to easily upload cards. This integrates with online flashcard databases, such as Quizlet.com and FlashCardExchange.com, for millions of flashcards to use. This has a high user rating on iTunes.
Some Other Resources to Consider
Though today's tools may have changed, free and low-cost mobile applications can help make a big difference in academic organization and efficiency. Being able to be virtually anywhere (in line at the grocery store, in bed, stuck in gridlock traffic, waiting at the doctor's office, etc.) and yet able to study or read or plan one's school work via a smartphone when a few minutes are spared is a huge boon to any busy student.