Not too long ago, managing your schoolwork was pretty simple, as long as you were familiar with good old pen and paper. You’d watch your teacher draw on a board at the front of the class, take notes in your notebook, and then go home and revise using more paper (and maybe pens of different colours, if you were feeling extra).
Now, there are a whole host of digital tools to help your learning process. From classroom management tools to note-taking apps, from online whiteboards to flashcards, and so much more – there’s a solution to enhance almost every part of the learning experience.
The only problem is, there are so many digital tools out there that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with choice! Not to worry, though – we’ve done the research, and here are seven of our favourite tools to help your learning. Some have a range of pricing tiers, but each have at least some useful free functionality.
EduExperts is not commercially affiliated with any of the following tools.
drive.google.com | Price: Free
Google’s suite of tools make it to the top of our list because of their versatility, power, and ease of use. If you’ve got a well-organised set of notes stored on Google Drive, then you’re able to access them anywhere and collaborate with as many other users as you want. You also get up to 15GB of storage for free, which is more than enough for most students.
Docs, Slides, and Sheets also integrate pretty much seamlessly with documents from Microsoft’s suite. This means that if you’ve got Word, PowerPoint, or Excel documents stored on your laptop, you’re able to upload them into Google Workspace and use them anywhere.
It’s worth exploring other, lesser-known components of the Google Workspace as well. Tools such as Tasks, Drawings, Keep, and Scholar are fantastic learning tools in their own right.
Notion.so | Price: Free for personal usage
Notion is a powerful yet free data-driven note-taking app. Its key advantages include ease of creating templates, and powerful tables and information management. It’s also compatible with almost any mobile or desktop device, including a browser app. The personal plan recently became free to use, although you’ll still need to pay if you want to use its team functionality.
One limitation of Notion is that you do need an internet connection to use it, but the team are working on providing offline support as well. If you’re comfortable with online usage at school and home, this is one of the best free note-taking solutions you can find.
prezi.com | Price: Various pricing tiers, including free usage.
If you need to give a presentation to your class, but PowerPoint is just a bit too boring and old-school, try spicing up your visuals with Prezi. Prezi can best be thought of as a combination of PowerPoint and video. Instead of linearly moving from one slide to the next, you can create a presentation which zooms in and out of key concepts, connects slides in a meaningful way, and allows you to interact with different components in a live presentation.
One of Prezi’s strengths is that you can upload existing PowerPoint files to turn into Prezi presentations. This makes it easy for you to create a content structure on a tool you’re familiar with, and then make the presentation more engaging and interactive using Prezi.
khanacademy.org | Price: Free
Khan Academy is one of the educational blessings of the 21st century. They are a non-profit with a library of learning content that spans all major school subjects from the ground up to University level. Best of all, their content is completely free.
Their content structure allows you to learn at your own pace, and this means it can complement your school education well. If you’ve learnt a concept in class and it doesn’t quite make sense yet, chances are you’ll be able to find a video and explanation of the same concept on Khan Academy, and you’ll have as much time as you want to go over it and let it sink in.
apps.ankiweb.net | Price: Free (browser); $24.99 (iOS app)
Anki is a smart flashcard solution designed to take the hassle out of memorising concepts. It’s a reasonably simple concept: you create a flashcard in the traditional way, and organise these into various packs depending on what you’re trying to learn.
What makes Anki different is the inbuilt difficulty system which utilises spaced repetition, or the psychology of remembering and forgetting. After reviewing a card, you assign it a difficulty rating, depending on how easy or hard it was for you to recall the answer. Based on this (and whether or not you got the answer correct in the first place), the system decides when to next show you the card. This is a great added bonus over traditional flashcards, as it prevents you from wasting time on concepts you’re already familiar with.
miro.com | Price: Various pricing tiers, including free usage.
Miro is a collaborative whiteboard tool which allows you to organise your thoughts into virtual post-its, images, and shapes. Got a group project where you need to work remotely? Miro is a great place to start jotting down free-form ideas and sharing with the group.
Miro solves one of the traditional problems of collaborative document creation: getting lost. Through its Frames functionality, users can quickly and easily set the view for other users to follow what they’re doing. This means that if you’ve got four different people brainstorming, you can each work in a different part of the board, and quickly cycle through everyone’s ideas. The post-it functionality means it’s also easy to take bits and pieces of everyone’s input, and combine it to make great group ideas.
quizlet.com | Price: Various pricing tiers, including free usage.
We couldn’t finish a list of digital tools without mentioning Quizlet! This is a popular flashcard learning app with a number of smart features, and has particular support for language learning. If you’re getting close to your exams and you need a tool to help you memorise a few more words and definitions, Quizlet is a great way to start. Like Anki, its memorisation engine keeps track of which concepts you’re struggling with, and makes sure you spend more time on these rather than concepts you already know well.
Quizlet gives users the ability to make their own study sets, as well as find and use those created by others. It also comes with a number of educational games, to add a little more fun into the act of studying. If you’re comfortable with ads and using the platform with an internet connection, then you’re able to enjoy all the benefits of the free subscription as well.
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