Apps and Academics: The best Apps for Tri-C students
by Jasmin Lucas
In a world of online learning, plenty of students have turned to using technology as a tool in their learning career. With the rise of academic learning online, it’s only fair to take a look at apps that may help students succeed in their career at Cuyahoga Communitty College (Tri-C). There are four apps that can enhance your learning experience in a variety of ways ranging from note taking, to simply focusing on homework.
Notion is not very user friendly for beginners and can be extremely complicated if you’re not pulling from premade templates. However, this app and browser site is completely free unless you choose to upgrade to a paid plan. College students can opt to try the free version to see how much content can be accessed through an unpaid lens. Notion is like a database and can be used for tracking assignments, events, and planning your day to day life. That’s not the only thing it can do either, truly the possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing Notion to your specific tastes. Every page on your Notion can be edited, tweaked, and personalized to your tastes – just with a steep learning curve. The closest thing that compares to the Notion is a completely expanded version of Google Spreadsheets, and even that doesn’t do it justice.
Default template can be edited for different needs, such as writing, which shows Notion’s versatility. This gives users a single area to take care of things related to courses here at Tri-C, complete with weather for the coming five days. This is a default template that doesn’t have much learning on how to adjust its content to be personalized to users’ needs. The desktop view automatically formats your dashboard to be completely viewable and editable on the app, perfectly syncing across devices for any updates to your to do lists, courses, or assignments. There is a function to embed PDFs which can make a syllabus for courses accessible without having to sign in repeatedly on the notorious Blackboard app. Overall, if you’re looking for someplace to access whatever you need whenever, Notion is incredibly useful if you’re up to learning a thing or two.
GoodNotes 5 is marketed as a PDF editor but has been used in a variety of ways by many students and business owners. This app can be used as a digital planner which is lighter than a physical planner, at only half the cost. There are many templates that can be used as they have embraced being a digital planner and note taker central. GoodNote 5 lacks the amount of personalization that comes with Notion in that this is basically drawing on PDFs. Also, there is no way to personalize the pages unless you download PDF GoodNotes formatted digital journals, of which there are many to choose from online.
GoodNotes makes it very easy to find all your notes in one place, making multiple notebooks and looseleaf paper a thing of the past for the modern era. Many pictures have been imported without issue as well, even class power points which make it very easy to keep up in class while writing half the content as some peers.
Some cons to GoodNote 5 is that it costs money to have more than three items uploaded and a paid subscription is the only way to have files synced across your devices. There is also a heavy reliance on having an iPad or a stylus for a phone in order to get your money’s worth, as typing doesn’t feel as efficient or responsive when used on a computer. However, if you’re a student who primarily uses your iPad for note taking and can’t get adjusted to typed notes, GoodNotes will be worth those seven dollars in the amount of paper saved.
Forest is a paid application that primarily focuses on helping students stay on task when working. It costs $1.99 as a one time payment, although there are optional in-app purchases. The app plants a metaphorical tree or plant for an amount of time that the user sets. The catch is that if you open your phone, you kill the plant you had been raising. For many, this indication of failure is a motivator for students to limit their screen time when they should be studying. It is an app that holds you accountable for becoming distracted.
For everything you plant, you gain in-app coins which can unlock other plants or, as can be seen from the screenshot, can be used to help replant trees on our planet. It is a great cause with a great message and has a competitive scene. With Forst, you can invite friends and compete for the longest time focused, plants grown, and see how many plants have perished. This is not limited to friends either as there is a global leaderboard for those of us who are extremely competitive.
The cons to Forest are its cost and limits when compared to the previous two apps. However, the charm of Forest lies in its simple purpose and the good you feel for accomplishing something. GoodNotes and Notion are pure productivity whereas Forest makes focusing fun for those who may struggle with putting down their phone. It becomes a game for its users, in which the benefits are more time doing homework or reading textbooks.
If you’re not reading and don’t want to be distracted on your computer, Cold Turkey is a good partner app for Forest because it deactivates social media sites for a specific amount of time on browsers.
Cuyahoga County Public Library
The Cuyahoga County Public Library has an app for its services which allows anyone with a library card to reserve books, rent ebooks, watch movies, listen to music, and many more features. As a student, using trusted library sources is incredible important for grand research papers, presentations, and persuasive essays. If there’s a book or movie that isn’t available through Tri-C, you can check in with your local library branch through the app. Gathering trusted resources has never been so quick!
These are just some of the academic apps that can help students find a new way to succeed here at Tri-C. There are plenty of other apps, but these are the ones that might have the most impact on students.