October 03, 2015
20 Essential Apps for Online Learners
Apps are broken down into specific categories to maximize production and streamline online communication
Technology and its potential to simplify life for its users can be a beautiful thing, which can be seen in the example of providing online learning for students. But, unless you have the right technology to streamline tasks and aid in learning, going online for education can also be a nightmare.
From attending class to talking with peers and professors, and from going to the local bookstore to having everything on a laptop in a dorm room, students on-campus typically have a more “organic” learning experience than an online student who may not know how to best access these features of a higher education in an entirely mobile setting.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the average online student often takes online courses due to an already hectic life. Luckily, “there is no shortage of mobile apps that can help online students stay productive.”
Unfortunately, app lists can often seem a bit jumbled with no clear explanation of why the apps are important or for what purpose they ultimately serve. In this eCampus News curated list, we aim to categorize these aggregated apps into the meaningful requirements expected of most online learning students.
We also urge online learning providers, faculty, and administration to not only organize their online aids and resources for their students, but perhaps use some of the over 20 apps listed below.
[Listed in alphabetical order per category. *Note—names are not specific; please click on the Android or Apple links for app names]
The essentials for getting started
Computer terms (Android) (Apple): Online learning means you’ll need to know basic computer technology terms. Both apps are free and break down terms ranging from words like “cache” to “hex code,” all in layman’s language.
Mint (Android) (Apple): Online learning students are usually financially savvy, looking for less expensive alternatives to traditional four-year tuition. This app allows students to keep careful track of personal finances and spending.
Study Tracker (Android) (Apple): These paid apps help track the time spent on courses, tasks and projects to help online students better manage their time and be able to visualize unique study patterns with the aim of ultimately improving efficiency.
To access actual courses (LMS)
For access to files and remote annotation
To access/save online texts and internet information
Marvin (Apple): A completely customizable eBook reader that includes DRM-free books, customizable formats, layouts, and reading gestures, as well as highlighting and annotations tools. Considered one of the best replacements for the Stanza app, which is now discontinued.
Pocket (Android): An app that allows students to save websites, blog posts, videos, and other online resources to access at a later time. It also saves the information to the device, meaning no internet connection is needed.
Wolfram Alpha (Android) (Apple): Considered the scholar’s version of Google, this app is a search engine that reveals precise information for natural-language searches. For example, if you ask “What is the graduation rate for Harvard?” the engine will bring up exact numbers with citations and suggestions for similar queries.
For online communication with peers and profs
Dragon Dictation (Android) (Apple): Create text messages, social media posts, blog posts and more by using your voice (speech-to-text). According to the company, Dragon Dictation is up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard.
Evernote (Android) (Apple): Whenever you look at a list of education apps, Evernote is usually listed. This app allows students to scribble notes, capture text, send notes to computers and other users, and much more for ultimate multi-media communication.
Tom’s planner (Web): A Gantt chart-based, online planning tool that uses color-coded charts to reveal work completed and many more features for project management.
This article originally appeared on eCampus News and was written by Meris Stansbury, managing editor for eCampus News.