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What’s in Your Digital Backpack: Best Apps for Students

As students everywhere are heading back to school from the winter break, here’s a list of useful tools and apps for students that can help you finish the year strong.

Get organized!

1. iProcrastinate is an organization tool that reminds you of tasks, helps breaks down big projects into manageable chunks, and syncs with your other devices. It’s currently only for Mac/iPhone users, but other platforms are planned.

2. Epic Win is an app that turns your life into an RPG. Earn points as you complete items on your to-do list quest. At $2.99 it might be worth it if you have a gamer who’s less than motivated to do schoolwork and chores.

3. myHomework is an app for Android and iOS devices that helps students stay organized and keep track of assignments and projects.

Research and Writing

4. Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine that gathers data on just about anything you’d ever want to know and computes results for you. You can look up everything from complex math equations, to historical or socioeconomic data, to sports statistics or paint colors. It’s an incredibly useful tool and one I’m always surprised people don’t know about (or don’t use because they think it’s only for math. It’s not!)

5. When it’s time to start brainstorming, try using Mindmeister, a free web and mobile app for creating mind maps. Mind mapping is a process that can be very helpful for brainstorming and organizing ideas, especially for reluctant writers. Free accounts can have up to three mind maps at a time.

6. Don’t forget to cite your sources! There are several online tools that make creating your works cited and bibliographies super easy. Bibme is nice though, because in addition to being free, it offers MLA as well as APA and Chicago styles, useful for high school students taking psychology or those dual-enrolled in college courses.

7. Evernote is one of my favorite applications! This tool allows you to save files, notes, webpages, photos, and audio and syncs them across all your devices so you can access your stuff anywhere. No need to e-mail yourself!

8. Google Apps also offers some powerful tools for students. Google Docs is great for word processing and collaboration with classmates, the Calendar helps keep you organized, while Scholar and Books are great for research.

Make studying social

9. is a Facebook app that lets students turn their profiles into study tools. Students can collaborate with friends and classmates and join study groups within Facebook.

10. Friends with Brainefits is another app that turns a student’s Facebook profile into a study tool. Students select the subject they are studying, and the app posts statuses to his/her wall, asking friends to use related vocabulary terms the student needs to learn.

11. Open Study is a free social learning network where students can join or start study groups, ask questions and get help from their peers in a huge range of subjects.

12. Study Blue is a free online study tool using digital flashcards. Students can create flashcards with photos and audio, and can take their studying on the road with free mobile apps. Interesting to note, a recent infographic by Study Blue showed that students who study on their mobile devices spend, on average, 40 minutes more per day than students who don’t.


13. For students in higher math classes, a graphing calculator may be necessary. These two apps for iPhone and Android put one right on your phone.

14. Here’s a cool site where you can print out many types of graph paper as well as lined notebook and penmanship paper and musical notation paper for free.

15. Students studying history or those who learn better visually may like Time Toast, a tool for creating interactive printable timelines. It’s free and all you need is an email address or a Facebook profile to get started. Tiki Toki is another similar timeline creator. Though flashier and incorporating video, it limits free accounts to one timeline.

16. Typing is a critical skill for all 21st century students, and even more important for those attending online schools. Check out Typing Adventure for some fun typing practice geared towards younger kids.

17. is a safe place for students to watch thousands of educational videos without inappropriate content. PBS, National Geographic, TED lectures, and Khan Academy videos can all be found on YoutubeEDU. I also liked this video I found about the history of the pyramids as told by LEGOs!

18. Last of all, a recent study found that students don’t use Google very effectively, often failing to refine and evaluate search results. Sharpen your student’s (or your own) Googling skills with A Google A Day, a fun daily puzzle challenge.

**19. A bonus for iOs users – Appitic is a directory of educational apps selected and tested by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs). The site is broken down by age group, subject, and learning style to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

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Ashley MacQuarrie

Ashley MacQuarrie

Ashley MacQuarrie began writing professionally more than ten years ago and has covered education, technology, current events, pop culture, and other topics. A former homeschooler, she studied English and Film & New Media, graduating with a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University. Ashley has classroom experience working with children who have autism and other special needs. She has also tutored students from kindergarten through college and taught English to teens and adults at a language school in London.

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