Starting your lessons at a new college or university is always exciting. Your going to college signifies a new chapter in your life, filled with new people and experiences, and part of this new chapter is trying out new things. What better way to do this than to try out some new software for your classes?
Depending on your major, your classes may require extra tools or software. Fortunately, the world is witnessing a rapid growth of educational software. These tools will aid you in communication, productivity, and overall growth as a student. Here is a list of great, free digital tools that will improve your college experience and help you grow as a student.
Edmodo – Web based
Edmodo can be described as “Facebook for students and teachers”. Edmodo is a popular cloud-based tool for connecting teachers and students, allowing teachers to post assignments, tutorials, and various other resources. Students can access these resources at any time too, making Edmodo the one-stop shop for both teachers and students.
Teachers can create groups and invite students to join said groups, share notes, articles or quizzes in the group, and send private messages. Edmodo also allows teachers to organize educational content in categories, which helps students locate proper resources with ease. And with Edmodo being cloud-based, students and teachers alike can access content from anywhere. If your teacher doesn’t use Edmodo, I recommend urging them to!
A VPN – Compatible: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android
Let’s stop talking about educational software for a second and talk about your security. Your IP address is an important part of your connection. After all, it allows millions of websites to pinpoint your physical location, similar to how your home address allows postmen to deliver your mail.
This is a double-edged sword, though. While your IP address plays an essential role in your Internet connection, it also allows cybercriminals. hackers, and yes, your university, to obtain information regarding your whereabouts. And trust me when I say that your IP address reveals a lot of information about you.
They can see which websites you visit, block certain websites, and can track your information. Websites can use your IP address to target you with ads of products you’ve shown interest in. No one wants their online activity tracked. And of course, no one wants a hacker to obtain any of their personal information–that goes without saying. However, many students don’t use a VPN. You’d be doing yourself a disservice by not using a VPN.
Fortunately, there are dozens of VPNs available that are capable of protecting you and your data. A VPN will encrypt your data and hide your IP address, meaning you can study and browse the Internet in peace. I highly recommend you use one.
Scratchbook – Web based
Scratchbook is a powerful online whiteboard that allows professors to teach math online. The collaborative aspect of Scrachbook enables multiple students to work on a single whiteboard in real time while promoting discussion about the assignment.
Scratchbook is web-based and works with all modern digital browsers, so there’s no need to worry about not being able to access the program. Schoolbook uses a sophisticated math recognition algorithm, allowing it to recognize math equations from LaTeX commands, pictures, and simple, handwritten equations.
If it already doesn’t sound too good to be true, wait until you hear that Scratchbook is free! With the free option, you’re allowed 4 whiteboards and 100Mb of cloud storage–enough for an average-sized class.
If you require access to complicated LaTeX commands, unlimited whiteboards and 500Mb of cloud storage, you’ll need to pay for Scratchbook’s premium plan. However, the free plan should be enough for most classes.
Padlet – Compatible: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android
Padlet is another awesome tool that allows students to collaborate and engage in class work. Padlet allow you to create an online post board that can be shared with other students or teachers. Sharing a Padlet board is pretty simple too; all you need to share a Padlet board is a link or QR code. I don’t know of many people that use the QR code option, but it’s neat to have.
Padlet’s sleek, easy-to-use interface may be its greatest strength. That, or its ability to post anonymously. Both students and teachers can post under an anonymous moniker, allowing both parties to ask questions and file complaints without the fear of retaliation.
Using Padlet is easy–you don’t even need an account to post! Once you’re given the link to a Padlet board, you can simply view the content and post as a guest.
Canva – Web based
Let’s face it, every teacher needs good image editing software. Without said software, presentations can come off as lackluster, uninspiring, and even bad. Students need image editing software as well. How else do you plan on giving your presentation?
If you’re in need of image editing software, I recommend Canva. Canav allows you to create professional-looking presentations, even if you lack a skillset in graphic design. With over 8,000 free templates and thousands of free images, Canva earns the 1# spot when it comes to image editing software.
If you’re majoring in any sort of design-centric career, such as engineering or graphic design, using Canva is a no-brainer.