Every student needs a little help sometimes, and often this can be found in app form. Have you read 10 of the Best Study Apps for Online Students? In today’s modern society information is available at the touch of the enter key and encyclopedias have become bookshelf ornaments.
It’s difficult to imagine researching any other way. But unfortunately, these traditional methods offered students one major advantage over digital research - the ability to fend off distraction.
We’ve all been there before. Take a look at your desktop window while you’re working on your homework assignment. There’s probably a Word or Pages document open. Then your internet browser (you need that for research, so that’s ok). Oh, but an email notification pops up. And you’ve got to read it. Then a Facebook notification appears. And you login. And start browsing through your Newsfeed. And there it is! Distraction!
This distraction might seem innocuous, but they can actually take a big toll on your focus and productivity. Take, for instance, a study titled “Rewired: The Psychology of Today,” published by Larry Rosen, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California State University in Psychology Today.
Dr. Rosen’s research involved observing middle school, high school and university students as they spent 15 minutes studying an important topic related to their schoolwork. Rosen’s team recorded what each participant was doing at every minute of the experiment, including details such as, “whether they were studying, if they were texting or listening to music or watching television in the background, and if they had a computer screen in front of them and what websites were being visited.”
The results were astonishing. Not only were students able to focus on a task for an average of just three minutes at a time, those who were more prone to distraction were worse students overall. Even more interesting, checking Facebook just once during these study sessions led to poorer performance outcomes - something nearly all students these days are guilty of.
Clearly, your ability to focus and avoid digital distractions influences your performance as a student, but what can you do? How can you get your focus up and get down to business when there are so many different temptations out there?
Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of apps that are designed to combat your distraction and let you get back to work.
Do you study better with music playing in the background? If so, don’t trust just any music - give Focus@Will a try! While the company’s playlists may seem soothing, there’s more than meets the eye (the ear?). According to a Fast Company article, Focus@Will’s tracks can help students get motivated and stay focused, “by playing music that's been rigorously engineered to soothe a part of your brain known as the limbic system, which is believed to be responsible for emotion and motivation rather than rational thought.”
If you’re working on a foreign language project and can’t quite remember the word you need, the Babylon mobile app can come to your rescue. Easily installed on iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Kindle devices, this tool puts easy translations at your fingertips - just don’t use it to cheat and complete an entire assignment!
Handwritten flash cards are so 1999! Not only does the ExamTime give you an easy way to create a digital alternative to traditional cards, you can also use the app to create mind maps, quizzes and notes - and even share your creations with your friends. Build your own study tools or browse the program’s collection of public study materials - you’ll be amazed at the amount of information found within this program.
The iStudiez Pro app isn’t free, but at just under $10 USD, you can’t afford to miss out on this app! Available for Windows computers, Mac computers and iOS devices, iStudiez Pro tracks your assignments, deadlines and grades within one central location. It’s a great alternative to traditional planners, and it’s one that’s guaranteed to keep you on track this semester.
If your task is writing, then the WriteRoom Mac app will help you get it done! This program basically converts your computer to an archaic instrument where you can only type out a Word document. It’s perfect for that moment when your research is done and you need to churn out some words for your assignment.
The Azendoo program bills itself as a team project management solution, but we’ve found that it’s just as effective for managing personal projects. So, although it’s used by companies like Cisco, Toyota, Nike, and MIT for their internal project management needs, you can still use the program to break out individual class projects, gather your notes, allot available time in your schedule and track your deadlines within this simple tool.
No Excuses, time to get studying!
To study well, you'll also need to eat well so we also have 10 brain foods to help you boost your productivity. This way you'll maximize your learning potential. Certainly, these aren’t the only seven productivity-boosting apps out there.
If you have another favourite out there, go ahead and share your recommendation in the comments section below. That way, we can all take advantage of today’s e-Learning possibilities without falling prey to the many distractions that can be found online.