Sunday 16 October 2011

The Best Apps and Social Media Tools for Students.

Getting through high school or college can be a pain. Long days, too much homework, and not enough sleep can make actually learning seem harder than it needs to be. I won’t start talking about “when I was a kid…” but there were far less services to help me in school than there are today in 2011. Regardless of your year in school, these five apps and social media tools can be essential in helping you get through the next few semesters.

Yellow Highlighter Pen Extension:

Studying is so much easier with other classmates, but these days many students work in groups virtually, as the Internet has made it easy to share and collaborate on ideas. Instead of just sending a Web page to your friends for feedback and having to explain the relevant content and where to find it, a Chrome extension called Yellow Highlighter Pen makes it easy to point out exactly to what you’re referring. Simply download and install the extension and highlight relevant sections you want to share. The extension will create a unique URL that can be sent to classmates, and they can then see the original Web page with your highlights. For online class materials, this tool can be critical in discussing only the important material — or even just pointing out what that important material is.


Between classes, extracurriculars, sports, and finding time to spend with friends, students are always on the go. Dropbox can make sure that all of your papers and related files are always accessible wherever you are by storing your documents in the cloud. Accessing them on any computer is easy by simply signing into Dropbox and grabbing the files you need, and Dropbox has apps for most smart phones for easy access on the go. (Alternatively, Google Docs works well for always being able to access your papers and other documents wherever you may be.)


While Dropbox is good for grabbing your papers anytime and anywhere, Evernote is essential for having global access to your notes. You can even take snapshots of anything using your phone — like the page of a textbook — and store it for access later. Evernote works for both PC and Mac, and has apps for almost all mobile devices, making it easy to access your class notes wherever you are.

Google Scholar

Writing papers can be exhausting, but the research for papers can seem nearly impossible. Google Scholar makes it easy to search for articles — including legal opinions — to support your thesis. Google Scholar doesn’t exactly replace other services like LexisNexis, but it is still extremely comprehensive and helpful when you need to find a source immediately — or more simply.

Apps Specific to Your Major

Hundreds of apps are available for students studying specific topics. Nursing and medical students should check out WebMD for quick reference to medical topics, and legal students can download apps like Black’s Law Dictionary and the LexisNexis Get Cases & Shepardize app to help with briefs and essays. Of course, CliffsNotes does still exist, albeit in a form more suitable for students in 2011 — most books are available as an app that includes summaries, character lists, and can be found at

If you’re still in school, what apps are essential to your studies? Let us know in the comments.

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