It’s not easy for students to stay on task these days. From Facebook to Instagram and Twitter to instant messaging to pop up, there are so many distractions. Some study aid sites even offer a ‘study break’ where students can take five minutes to check out the latest celebrity news. But it’s never really five minutes, is it? So why not use technology to fight technology? There are some fabulous study aid apps out there designed especially to help students stay on track and stay focused.
The minute a student turns on their computer, they’re exposed to countless offers to do anything other than study. That’s where Self Control comes in. Self Control is an open source app for Mac users that allows students to block their own access to any website that they find distracting. Students can pick sites such as Facebook, Twitter and so forth, and block them for a specific period of time. For example, if they have a one-hour session with their tutor or study group they can set the timer to expire after 60 minutes. Self Control will not prevent a student from accessing sites they need for studying such as Dictionary.com, and is free of charge.
Many high school students sit down for extended periods of time throughout the day only to come home and sit some more. Regular exercise is extremely important to keep the brain going but, during finals and test prep time, many students can’t make it to the gym or outside in the sunshine. This is where Sworkit can lend a hand. Students can download this app and start by choosing the length and type of workout they want (stretching, yoga, and light cardio are recommended for study breaks),and then start exercising. The app takes students through their workout and gives them breaks as needed. Although this app wasn’t made specifically for students, it’s a great way to take a mental and physical break from sedentary study and return to homework revitalized and refreshed. Sworkit is free and is available on Apple and Android.
Many students feel that they can learn better in a group, especially when it comes to those tough AP classes. Students can use StudyRoom in order to stay connected with their peers. Users can access student notes, get help with their homework from classmates and chat with them (hopefully about the lesson). This is a great idea for students who tend to come home from school and have forgotten important assignment papers or for those who forget to write things down. Students who belong to StudyRoom can keep in constant contact and get any last-minute important information. Great for a student budget, StudyRoom is free. Students can use it through their Facebook or email account.
Many students will sit down for four or five hours to study on their own only to find at the end of a session that they only got two or three hours worth of actual work done. Studying in a group can be a great way for some students to stay on task, depending on where they fall in the introversion-extroversion spectrum. StudyBuddy provides an instant study group from the comfort and convenience of a student’s home. This app serves as a coach or organizational tutor of sorts. StudyBuddy will help students keep track of the amount of time that they actually spend on study versus the time spent on distractions. Users will receive score reports and can use timers to help them stay on track. This app is available on iOS and Android. StudyBuddy is only $.99.
One of the things that almost every high school student needs to work on is expanding their vocabulary. When students write assignments at home or need to prepare for an in-class essay, they often use the same word over and over again. This can easily result in a lower grade. Vocabology to the rescue! This app is only $.99 and well worth the price. Vocabology helps students expand and build vocabulary with ease while they do their work. It’s best suited towards students who need to improve their essays or in-class speeches.
Technology has expanded our educational spheres while simultaneously making them smaller and more global. Overall, the constant connection to the outside world can bring today’s students closer to a broadened education and help them connect to information at the click of a button. These top 5 study aid apps use our current technology to take students away from these constant interruptions, teach self-regulation, stay on task, and eventually improve grades and reduce unnecessary study time that can lead to the opening of more educational doors in the future.
Robyn Scott is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC in Irvine, CA. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.