Back-to-school season is in full swing, with students ditching the beach bum days of the summer to pick up their textbooks and run off to class. While mobile devices help keep us entertained during our commute and let us stay connected with friends in between classes, they also can help us learn thanks to a lineup of educational apps that are available.
Apple's App Store has an entire category that focuses on educational apps, not to mention iTunes U, which allows teachers to collect and grade assignments and much more.
The Google Play Store has also launched a new collection of free education apps to help teachers and students get back in the swing of things, with apps including Evernote (a student must-have), Lumosity, TED and Microsoft Word.
However, for the busy student, it's important to stay organized to be able to properly use time management skills. So, we browsed through the app stores to uncover the best apps to help students kick this school year off on the right foot and allow them to continue on the right path in the months to come. From planners to bibliography creators and eTextbooks, here are the best free back-to-school apps that will keep you both organized and productive this school year.
Organize Your Assignments
We all know the first week back at school is the best since you get to see old friends, meet new teachers and get introduced to what you will be learning this semester or year. However, before you know it, the workload will start to pile on. The best way to manage your time is by making sure you stay organized. By laying out what assignments are due when, you will be able to have a clear picture on what you need to complete first and how long you have to complete a larger project as well as on how to prevent yourself from walking into class unprepared.
To organize your assignments, check out the myHomework Student Planner. The app gets rid of paper planners that either get lost or go unused. Students can enter in their homework, tests, projects and lessons on their smartphones or tablets and receive a notifications to remind them when the assignment is due. The app works when offline, so you don't have to worry about not having access to your to-do list.
The best part is that you can also enter in your class schedule so you won't forget what date and time you have a specific subject. Users can also set a study block so they can focus on schoolwork before after-school activities.
myHomework also integrates with Teachers.io so they can join classes, add dates when papers are due and share lesson plans with other teachers.
Hit The Books
No matter how much we sometimes don't want to study, it's important to make time to hit the books. Whether studying for a midterm, upcoming test or just preparing for class, lugging around heavy textbooks is not practical for the tech-savvy student.
Enter CourseSmart, an eTextbooks app that lets students read more than 7,000 textbooks right from their smartphone. While it may be a bit too much strain on the eye to read the full text in your biology book, we suggest using a tablet like a Kindle Fire, iPad or Windows tablet to get your studying done with this app.
Ace Your Quiz
You can do just about anything while on-the-go, such as mobile gaming or streaming movies. However, while listening to tunes via a preferred music streaming service, students can use their time when traveling to study without having to fumble around with heavy textbooks or stacks of pages of notes.
Quizlet is the study tool app that lets students study any subject from anywhere. The app helps improve study habits and uses images and audio to make learning easier and more interactive. The app uses flashcards as a way to test the student's knowledge on a particular subject, making study feel like a game. Students can create their own flashcards or use those uploaded from other users.
Quizlet is free to download for iOS and Android.
Write Research Papers With Ease
You wrote arguably the best research paper of your academic career, but while taking a moment to be proud of your achievement, you accidentally forgot to include the bibliography page. We all know how annoying it is to write bibliographies and often mess the format up. Now, students can eliminate this task by using the app EasyBib.
Easybib accurately writes your citations for you after you launch the app and take a picture of the bar code from the book from which you got your source material. The app also makes citations from websites after entering in the URL. EasyBib can create your citations in over 7,000 styles, including MLA, APA and Chicago.
Watch And Learn
No matter how many times we read a chapter in a book that explains a hard-to-grasp concept, sometimes, it just doesn't stick. However, watching a video may be the perfect way to understand and learn. The app Khan Academy provides over 4,000 instructional and educational videos in a wide variety of subjects, like math, chemistry, economics, history and more.
Users can also watch videos offline when there is no network connection available and access articles for both students and teachers.
Learn A Foreign Language
Whether you just enrolled in a French class (apprendre à parler, lire, et écrire le français est amusant!), or want to brush on your old Spanish knowledge, learning a foreign language is a bit easier to do thanks to the app Duolingo.
Duolingo helps users learn a language by presenting short lessons that include multiple choice challenges where you will have to race against the clock to earn points. The learning platform is also available for schools so that teachers can even introduce it into the their classrooms.
Languages available to learn include Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish and Swedish.
Check In On The Family
Back-to-school season is just as hectic for parents who are trying to organize multiple family members' schedules. The app Cozi lets family members keep tabs on one another's schedules, so that your parents can know you have a late night class on Wednesdays or that you need to drive your daughter to ballet on Fridays.
Cozi keeps the whole family in the loop with its shared calendar with reminders and agendas, shared shopping lists that let users check off items from the Apple Watch and add photos to the family journal.
Photo: Billy O'Neal | Flickr