The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Apps boost student productivity

By Bobby Martinez/@bmartinez203

Mobile apps often create distractions for college students, but some popular productivity apps actually help them stay better organized.

Users of apps including Google Docs and Evernote can save homework in the Cloud, lighten their book bags, and expand note taking to include photos and free up time for family and friends.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Student Counseling and Wellness Services maintains a wide-ranging list of app recommendations, from those that help students overcome procrastination to those designed to help students deal with anxiety and stress. The apps are offered as a community resource suggested by other counseling centers presented in training and conference sessions, as well as by students.

“The apps we have on our website are ones we have done some research on and which we recommend,” said Jolene Des Roches, director of student counseling and wellness services.

Student to Student: Top Apps

Here’s what students say they are using the most:

1. Google Drive, which works on both Android and iOS, does more than just save files. It allows users to create documents, presentation slides, spreadsheet and more. Google Drive works well for team projects. For example, once a student shares a file with classmates, they can access it simultaneously for real-time brainstorming and editing. Google Drive comes with 15GB of cloud storage.

International business major Jonathan Lozano uses Google Drive when fundraising for his fraternity, Omega Delta Pi.

“We have forms that need to be signed. We save them [to Google Drive],” Lozano said . “That is where everybody can view them.”

2. Evernote, the advanced note taking app, allows users expand their notes to capture more than what is heard. For example, students can record lectures in the background while jotting notes or taking a photo of the whiteboard. Users can quickly attach files within notes and share them with classmates. When students install it to all their devices, the notes are synced so they can have access all the time.

3. Timeful allow users to plan around their busy lives. Its interface shows students their synced calendars and to-do list for a single view of events. Users can drag and drop any task from the list into the calendar and set reminders for them. Uncompleted tasks carry over to the next day. Over time, Timeful learns the user’s habits and starts suggesting the user complete certain tasks. Timeful is available exclusively on Apple devices, but the developers are working on a version for Android. Notifications are available when the product is ready for Beta Test.

4. Kindle’s e-reader app allows students to view textbooks on both Android and iOS devices. Users can highlight key text, look up definitions, make notes and search the text to revisit sections faster. Students are not bound to an Internet connection with Kindle’s offline mode.

5. StudyBlue provides students study material for a wide range of subjects. Students can assess flashcards, review sheets and quizzes. Students can link Evernote accounts to have their notes transform into flashcards.

Even though apps have potential academic benefit, not all students are sold on them.

The feel of pencil on paper still has its draw.

“As much I like technology, I grew up in the ‘80s where you had to use hand notes,” said psychology major Christopher Long.

About the Author

Bobby Martinez
Bobby Martinez
Bobby Martinez is a staff writer for The Mesquite. Bobby is a communications-journalism sociology minor. In 2014, he graduated from Palo Alto College with an associates in communication with an emphasis in public relations. Prior to attending school he was an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Navy for four years. Bobby is seeking a career in public relations. He has an interest in technology, the outdoors and student engagement.

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