Like a lot of high school and college students, I’m really dependant on my computer; for researching and writing, chatting with my friends, keeping up with the news, and some general goofing off of course (who hasn’t wasted 3 hours doing random stuff on Facebook?). Being as I spend so much time glued to my laptop, I’ve taken it upon myself to hunt down the best, free apps for students. Maybe some of these might be useful for some of you, as we all go into the upcoming school year.
I am running a Mac, so a lot of these apps aren’t Windows friendly; I’ve noted which are Mac-only, and which are cross-platform.
Schoolhouse (Mac only)
Schoolhouse keeps track of your assignments, tasks, projects, and notes, all in a very nice, clean interface. It’s also got a very cool grade calculation tool, which will graph your grades out over the semester, and give you an idea of what your final grade is going to be. If Schoolhouse turns out not to be your cup of tea, or if you need something similar for Windows, FileMaker’s Campus Productivity Kit does a lot of the same things and is cross-platform.
Evernote is a fantastically useful note-taking app. Your notes can include photos, quick videos (if you’ve got a webcam), checkboxes (for to-do lists), tags and of course basic text. You can also create and access notes in a bunch of different ways; using the app, the online interface, or the mobile interface. Anything you do in the app automatically synces with the online Evernote server, so you can get your notes from any computer with internet access, which is pretty cool.
Think (Mac only)
Think is a very simple little app that pretty much only does one thing: it allows you to pick an application or two that you’d like to focus on, and then it grays out the rest of the screen. Trying to work on a paper, but keep getting distracted by email coming in, chats popping up, and the like? Think is great for that.
Time Out (Mac only)
Time Out is another simple app: all it does is remind you at regular intervals to take a break from your computer. You can set the intervals and how long you want the breaks to be, and you can set it to fade out your screen during the breaks. We sometimes forget to get up and take breaks from our computer screens, but it’s definitely important to do that, and Time Out is an excellent app for making sure that we get those breaks in.
Genius (Mac only)
Studying for mid-terms? Genius allows you to create a set of computer flash cards, and then test your knowledge with them. Very neat application, and very simple to set up and use.
Skim (Mac only)
Sick of printing out a ton of pdf files so that you can add notations to them? Skim allows you to mark up pdfs on your computer. It supports highlighting, notes, and the ability to display pdfs in several ways, among other things.
So, what apps do you use to stay on track in the school year? Let us know in the comments!