Learning 2.0 – Digital Tools for the Student

As the end of September draws near, the first semester of my Junior year of college is well underway. Group projects, essays, and tests are an almost-everyday occurrence, and sometimes I wonder how receiving the grades that I want to receive is ever going to be possible.

But then, I remember all of the tools and advantages that I have simply  because it’s the year 2012, and I start wondering how anyone could have done this 50 years ago. The following is a short list of the digital tools that I use almost daily in my schoolwork.

1. Evernote

Evernote is a popular application available on smartphones as well as tablets. It can also be accessed online from any computer. It is used to organize and store things from your daily life. By adding notes to different notebooks, you can easily keep track of things.

I use Evernote for a lot of things including shopping lists and to-do lists, but applicable to this post is the way that I started using Evernote this semester to record my grades in classes.

Take photos of your grades and keep them in an Evernote Notebook for easy reference to how well you’re doing in a class.

Do any of your professors make you give tests back before leaving the room, so you can’t give it to your friends? Or do you ever get a quiz back but lose it by the next day? Luckily, you can take photos directly from the Evernote app.

Try taking a photo of your grades when you get them back, and label the assignments in the title of the note. By the end of the semester, you’ll have your own grade book that you can use as reference when you need to calculate your grade, or when your professor screws up your grade!

2. Flashcards

If you have a smartphone or a tablet but continue to make flashcards the old-fashioned way, you are doing it incorrectly. Why attempt to manage stacks upon stacks of small, white cards and risk losing them or ruining them? Not to mention the storage space involved.

There are plenty of flashcard apps, and mine even lets you sync cards between devices.

Now, I can study for my next test anytime, because I always have my phone with me. If I were using real flashcards, I would always have to carry them with me, and I would lose out on valuable studying time if I had an unexpected break but didn’t have my notebook, textbook, or flashcards for the class that needed studying for.

3. Google Drive

Google Drive consists of Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, etc. It’s the place where all of your Google files are stored. More than that, though – it’s an app for tablets and smartphones. Now, you can view and edit your work from any of your devices without needing a flash-drive that you’re inevitably going to lose three times this semester.

Google Drive makes Microsoft irrelevant. And it’s free. Literally.

Google Documents in general is a great tool for students, especially those in group projects, because they allow for such great collaboration. I’ve used it with other people at least five times this semester alone already!

We’ve all been in groups with about 12 people in them, and we all know how impossible it is for 12 college students to be able to meet outside of class. Use a Google Document, give all of the team members access, and organize yourselves there. Everyone can work when it is convenient for them, edits are seen in real-time, users can make comments, and even chat with each other if multiple people are viewing the document at the same time.

4. Doodle

If the occasion arises that your group or committee absolutely needs to meet face-to-face, Doodle is the easiest way to make that happen. Rather than trying to ask everyone when they are available and ruling out each potential meeting time one at a time, create a Doodle poll, send the link to your group members, and let it do the work for you.

Doodle will tell you clearly when all team members are available for a meeting.

We live in a digital world where tools like this exist.

Use them to make your life easier and you will be a less-stressed student that gets better grades.

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About Jim Mignano

Jim Mignano is a young professional practicing and learning Public Relations in Rochester, NY. He is passionate about the possibilities that digital media provide and loves utilizing new platforms for a variety of functions. James' blog is about people and the technology they use. It's about communication and persuasion... the old and the new ways of doing things... the struggle between sticking to the tried, true recipes and experimenting with intuitive, innovative ideas. It's an extension and reflection of James himself: the convergence of ambition & ability.
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