Do you need an extra hand to get stuff done at school? Here are some essential apps for your Windows hardware.
Technology has changed the way that many students approach their education. Anyone who’s in school today has access to a bevy of software across their PC, tablet, and smartphone that can supercharge their learning. However, you still need to know which apps are useful, and which ones aren’t.
Here are some essential apps for your Windows device that are sure to come in handy before the school year is up.
1. Evernote to Keep Lecture Notes
Students will always need to take notes, but today’s crop of learners can at least abandon their notepad for something a bit more modern. Using a service like Evernote ensures that there’s definitely a backup of your lecture notes once revision season comes around. Better yet, you’ll be able to access your scribblings from all manner of devices.
Evernote’s biggest advantage over pen-and-paper is the fact that notes created with the app can contain multimedia elements. For example, web links can provide a direct path to any online content that might be useful at a later date, and visual elements like diagrams and illustrations can be embedded as images, saving you the hassle of recreating them by hand.
However, it is worth thinking about whether Evernote is the right service for you. The appeal of a third-party service like this is that it works across Windows 10, iOS devices, Android, and more. That being said, if all your devices use Windows, you might be better off sticking with OneNote for its deep ties with the larger Microsoft Office ecosystem.
2. CamScanner to Scan Printed Documents
Even if you’re the sort of person that’s already ditched pen-and-paper for digital documentation, it’s impossible to guarantee that your teachers have done the same. Printed materials are still going to be a part of your academic career, but there’s no reason to keep hard copies on hand if you don’t want to.
An app like CamScanner will allow you to take high quality scans of any documents you want to keep, meaning that you can throw out the original without losing access to its information. If you need to submit any documentation to your school, it also makes it easy to do so straight from your phone via email.
3. Dropbox to Share and Store Documents Online
It’s a good idea to have a decent USB stick for school, especially if you have any courses that require collaborative work on group projects. However, you can also share documents in the cloud by signing up for a Dropbox account.
Dropbox lets you store your files online, so that they’re accessible from wherever, eliminating the frustration of heading down to the library only to realize that your essay is sitting on a physical drive that’s still at home. A basic account is free, but you can pay for more storage space if you happen to need more — anyone working with large images or video will perhaps need to look into these options.
4. FlashCard Hero to Study Creatively
There’s something about flash cards that makes information much easier to digest. FlashCard Hero is undoubtedly the logical extension of this tried-and-tested study technique. By writing up your flash cards in the app, you’ll be able to access them across your computer and your smartphone. This means that you can squeeze in a few minutes of revision at any opportunity.
However, FlashCard Hero takes things one step further. A selection of quiz options allows you to cover up certain parts of a card to test your recall. You could even have the app generate multiple-choice questions based on the content.
Unfortunately, FlashCard Hero isn’t currently available on the Windows Store — it’s set to release this fall. Until then, you can request access to a beta version by visiting its official website.
5. Trello to Manage Projects and Tasks
For many students, one of the biggest challenges of academia is juggling several different projects, often based in very different areas of study. Fortunately, Trello can help you keep an eye on everything that’s in progress and make sure that tasks get completed on time.
Setting up a Trello board is quick and easy, and allows you to make individual cards that relate to individual projects or assignments, which then move through various different stages as they near completion. It’s a great method of tracking your work, that’s somewhat inspired by the Japanese Kanban technique — and there’s support for multiple users on the same board, in case you need to work with your classmates.
6. OverDrive to Access Textbooks Online
There are few things worse than finding that the textbook that you desperately need tonight has already been checked out of the library. However, all is not lost if you find yourself in this situation — an app called OverDrive might be able to help you out.
Download the app and link it with your library card to gain access to a collection of thousands of eBooks. While some of the texts that you need won’t be available via OverDrive, it’s definitely worth having installed on one of your devices just in case.
7. WolframAlpha to Research Facts and Figures
Whether you’re studying maths, biology, physics, chemistry, history, computer science, engineering, or just about anything else, WolframAlpha has facts and figures that will make your life easier.
In development over the past quarter of a century, WolframAlpha has been compared to the ultra-smart computers used on Star Trek. The app puts a wealth of knowledge in the palm of your hand, answering questions ranging from “what is the capital of Peru?W to “how many meters are in a mile?”
WolframAlpha is an app that everyone should have access to — but if you’re a student, you’re sure to find it useful sooner rather than later.
8. Microsoft Office to Create and Edit Documents
Regardless of what courses you’re taking, it’s well worth having Microsoft Office (CA, UK) at your disposal. Word will help you produce essays with pristine citations, Excel is great whether you’re studying maths or just in need of an organizational spreadsheet, and PowerPoint should be the first port of call if you need to deliver a presentation to your classmates.
The advent of Windows 10 has made it easier than ever to use Office across all your devices. An active Office 365 subscription will let you install the suite of programs on your PC, your phone, and your tablet.
Of course, a subscription that costs $99 per year might not fit into the budget of every student. Fortunately, Google Docs is an excellent, free replacement for anyone that wants to keep their spending to a minimum. There are also several ways to get a free version of Word if you don’t need the entire Office suite.
9. Netflix to Relax
Realistically, Netflix — or at least another comparable streaming service — is an essential app for just about everyone, student or otherwise.
It’s important to make sure that your binge-watching doesn’t interfere with your studies. However, there’s certainly a place for recreation in a productive academic schedule. It’s OK to take breaks!
Doing something fun and relaxing in your downtime can help maintain your concentration when you’re in class or at the library.
Would you recommend any other essential Windows apps for students? Or are you looking for a piece of software to fit a particular academic purpose? Either way, why not join the discussion in the comments section below.