University resources have changed dramatically since I last took my humanities 201 course roughly four years ago. While I have always considered Athabasca University (where I am currently “attending”) a strong competitor in the “University 2.0″ online world; the resources to aide students of this, and other online, open universities have been limited to computers and laptops with poor battery life and are difficult to carry around.
That has changed dramatically in the past few years. While battery life and size have improved on laptops and net books alike, the iPad would be one of the mot influential devices in the change of university learning. How cool is it to be able to write my essay on a lunch break, and not worry about draining the battery with a heavy program like Word? I no longer have to rush home and write, or lose the inspiration I may have picked up during my lunch hour or break due to poor battery life. The iPad’s battery and unique apps allows the goal of universities like Athabasca to shine. Through this device and apps available University-and other education–can even be found in the staff lunch room.
And the apps, oh how glorious some of these apps are. I have never felt more productive in my studying before, and the educational possibilities are amazing. From note taking, to free university level learning, to course planning and essay writing. The iPad and apps have made it all a little easier to manage.
While we may be ending a traditional school year, there are a few of us may be continuing, starting, or planning school for the summer/fall semesters. Thanks to Athabasca, I am able to continue my studies year round if I choose to do so.
With that in mind, here are my favorite apps for university.
1.) Evernote: this app makes note taking almost fun. Simple to use, Evernote syncs your notes across multiple devices. So while I am working on that essay at work, I can pull up my notes on the iPhone and add additional material from earlier thoughts. Furthermore, Note taking has never been so easy to share. You can create and add groups of people to your notes and share them. Have thoughts to add on your history class? Share them with your fellow students. Best of all it’s free. Seriously.
2.) iTunes U: iTunes U received its second breath of life a few years back. Started as an area for Universities to upload lectures, iTunes U has developed into one of the coolest–and most underrated–educational tools out there. Interested in A specific field? You can add fuel to that passion for free. Textbooks are rumored to be on the way for the future, but chances are that you will have to purchase those. Free lectures by super cool professors in some of the greatest departments inthe world? Sign me up.
3.) Pages Best. word. processor. At least on the iPad. It’s a little pricy, but the amount of essays and research papers you will be pumping out in any university career makes it worth it. The app is easy to use and easy to share from. My only complaint is I wish you could manually save and revert back to previous versions. I end up with dozens of “draft” copies just to maintain the Integrity of previous thoughts.
4.) iStudiez this need little app allows you to set up your course schedule. Need a reminder for when your first assignment is due? Need to plan some study time? This app will let you accommodate that wish. The free version does limit how many assignment deadlines you can add, but it’s a nice way to test the waters.
5.) iBooks: I wish this app was utilized more. How cool would it be to have your entire textbook collection downloaded onto one device? Redeem this code and bam… Plus the iPad is a fraction of the weight in that messenger bag! This is the App of the future, but you can still download some cool additional material for free or at a reasonable price.
6.) ThinkBook: another note taking app which added capabilities. Integration to drop box makes it easy to use between iOS and computer devices, edit to me and send to another. However it’s strongest feature is the outlining abilities. If you are a visual learner, and work better with a reusable outline, this app may be worth the $1.99 to you. Project outlines and planning = a breeze. Definitely worth a look, and for an added bonus it really compliments your new Evernote system.
If trends continue to be followed, Apple’s dream of the iPad replacing traditional text books and laptops in the classroom may just be realized. Honestly, I could totally live with that. Those books are flipping heavy. The internet is here and at our disposal, let’s move University to the students and their future advancement. Happy studies!