Students, you can get help. No, I'm not talking about cheating, I'm talking about understanding the technology tools that can help you earn a better grade. Artificial intelligence is available in many forms. Here are some of the best helpers for you. This blog post also comes with an infographic (PDF) that you can print and use to figure out tools to help you in your studies.
1. Pick a Digital Notebook
Taking notes is not what it used to be. You can still use a standard notebook, but digital notebooks make a lot of sense, too. You take pictures of your notes and what the teacher wrote on the board. You can even record in-class audio or video and then find it easily. (All those pictures on your smartphone’s camera roll just get lost.)
Here are three digital notebook choices. What you pick depends upon what your school uses. Here are my favorites:
- Microsoft OneNote: You can take notes collaboratively on any device.
- Google Keep: If you’re a Google school or have a Chromebook, this might be for you.
- Evernote: This is a bit fancier but will work if you don’t need to write collaborative notes.
2. Learn to Voice Type
Voice typing means dictating into a device which turns your audio into text. You can use it on your Mac or PC as well as in Google Docs. However, you do have to learn how to speak your punctuation. So make sure you know understand voice typing before turning on this feature.
This “Swiss Army knife” artificial intelligence learning assistant can do so much. Here are a few features of Read&Write from TextHelp:
- Its text-to-speech tool reads web pages, emails, and documents out loud.
- It can highlight, research and collect notes.
- It defines words and makes a personal word dictionary.
- It includes a speech input feature for the web similar to Google’s Voice typing – it even works in Google forms (pro version).
4. Editing Helpers
Get familiar with editing tools and select several “go to” tools. Grammarly is free in Chrome and will check basic spelling. If you want more advanced checks, Pro Writing Aid is free for documents of one thousand words or less. Hemingway Editor is one of the easiest-to-use apps for simplifying text. It will color the words for you and help you get rid of run-on sentences. Students should always spell check every document, discussion post, and communication with a teacher.
Have you read something online that was hard to understand? With Rewordify, you can reset a web page’s reading level so that it’s easier to understand. While this approach isn’t perfect, it can make reading comprehension easier. This is great for research so that you can easily understand what you need to explain in a paper or report.
6. Build a Math Toolkit
Understand how to get help for your math classroom. First, students should know how to properly use Wolfram Alpha. Not only is this a handy site for facts and figures of all kinds (very helpful for history reports), but if you type in a math problem, it will show you step-by-step solutions for them.
EquatIO® is a fantastic tool for writing math formulae digitally. You can type, dictate or handwrite your equations easily, and EquatIO will insert it into your document with a click. It even has a collaborative space, EquatIO mathspace, where you can work on math problems with others and show your thinking through freehand sketches and notes. What’s more, it integrates with Read&Write so you can have math read back to you. If you’re struggling with a concept, Khan Academy has some excellent math tutorials.
7. Learn to Screencast
Teachers are asking students to make movies and screencast, but few of them teach you how. If you have a PC, the easiest screencasting tool is the free Office Mix download for PowerPoint. You can add videos, photos, screen recordings, text, and even animations like a regular PowerPoint. Additionally, the Mix button lets you record your voice and even draw on the screen. With one click, you can “save as movie” and then send it to your teacher.
If you want to add your voice to an already-made movie, try Edpuzzle. If you just want a simple screencast, Screencastify is a great tool. If you’re having a problem with a website, record a quick screencast and send it to your teacher.
8. Flashcard Makers
Memorization is still part of what you do as a student, so flashcard makers like Quizlet or Quizziz can be a big help. Sometimes your flashcards are already made, although you’ll often learn better if you make them yourself. These apps also quiz you in different formats. They often let you make your own practice quizzes and take them. Use the app on your phone to review anywhere and any time instead of waiting to cram the night before a test.
9. Your Smartphone
Your smartphone should be your personal secretary. Some essential things to learn how to do on your smartphone are:
- How to add reminders (with your voice if possible)
- How to add calendar events with reminders
- The school grade book app (set up notifications for when new grades are posted)
- Your school email
- Your digital notebook (See #1)
- Digital flashcards (See #8)
10. Learn to Block Out Distractions
Despite what you might think, multitasking is a myth. Many students struggle with distractions. If you’re not using your smartphone for studying or if you just can’t get off Snapchat, put your phone up. If you’re trying to focus on a massive project, consider deleting Snapchat (don’t worry, you won’t lose your friends!) or whichever app is a problem for you.
If you’re using the computer, StayFocusd will help block out distractions. If you feel like you’re wasting time, RescueTime not only blocks unnecessary sites but also tells you how you’re using your time on the computer.
To get links to all of these sites and information on this blog, download this handy infographic https://goo.gl/Cxd3f8.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Many of the strategies identify approaches in which students can assist the teacher in delivering curriculum. This seems to be an ageless strategy that has always added value to the experience of students. I believe it is helpful to the student assisting the teacher because they learn content in a deeper way. It is also helpful when student help students because try as we may, as adults, we do not speak student speak. I did a lot of volunteering with youth in my late teens and it was amazing how many early teens to high school students wanted to hang out with me just because I was an older version of them. When we can students to assist students, there is an acceptance of the material that as adults we could never accomplish. I believe a major part of this reality is that students are less inhibited to try when they are with peers. There is less of a chance of failure compared to when we have provide an answer to the teacher. By comparison, I was also a lifeguard in my late teens and early twenties and it was amazing how the presence of peers made a difference in whether someone used the diving boards or not. The more a young person was part of a group, the more likely they were to use the diving boards. There was value in performing for peers. I believe that also adds to the reality that students can be valuable helpers to the teacher.