School is upon us and as much as we’d hate to admit that summer is almost over, it’s time to start the preparations. Whether you’re headed to school or college, you’re probably looking for the most efficient ways to get ready for your new schedules and courses.
If you have an Android tablet, be it a new Nexus 7, an old Nexus 7, or any tablet from Samsung, Asus, or other companies, you already own one of the best tools for managing your school life. In this roundup, I will look at some of the best free apps for students — and teachers — to help you make the most of your Android tablet.
Timetable is the most beautiful and most important app any student can install on his devices. Available for phones and tablets, Timetable keeps all of your classes, holidays, exams and assignments in sync. The app is customizable with different views and themes, every new entry can be color-coded and detailed, and it comes with widgets for your homescreen and your lockscreen.
There’s a Today view to easily see what’s coming up, notifications for upcoming classes or tasks, and a fantastic option to automatically turn your phone or tablet to silent mode when you’re in class. Do yourself a favor and download it today on all of your devices.
Timetable’s tablet UI is incredibly clean yet full of all the information you need.
If you just want a simple way to create your own flashcards and quiz yourself, Flashcard Maker Pro should be the first app on your list. With a clean UI that focuses on the content first, it lets you create multiple-answer and single-answer cards, quiz yourself and review your score at the end. The app has its own online repository for sharing flashcard sets, and syncs well between phones and tablets for a quick study session no matter what device you carry.
Flashcards Maker Pro is one of the easiest flashcard apps to use.
Quizlet is one of the most notable flashcard services online, but unfortunately, there still isn’t any great Quizlet app for Android tablets. SuperCard Flashcards and Pocket Cards excel on the phone, so if you don’t mind the stretched look, you can install them on your tablet.
All Microsoft Office apps for Android cost an arm and a leg, except Kingsoft, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less powerful than the others. As a matter of fact, Kingsoft is a very complete Office client, with all the editing and reading features you would expect from the very expensive alternatives.
It manages your local or cloud storage files, supports multiple extensions including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and can save documents as PDF or print them, and comes with gestures to simplify the interaction on touchscreens. Plus, every editor (documents, spreadsheets and presentations) is full of features with formatting, alignment, charts, calculations, tables, images, and more.
Kingsoft is a free but very powerful Office editor for Android tablets.
Thanks to the recent addition of rental ebooks and textbooks, Play Books has quickly become the must-have book reader for Android. You can find a vast selection of content, or even upload your own EPUBs or PDFs. Annotations and highlights are supported to help you study, there’s a black theme for more comfortable reading in the dark, and your position is synced across all your devices.
Books are easy to read, highlight and annotate on Play Books.
If your school or college allows you to use your tablet in class, you should install TapNotes this very moment. I couldn’t stress it enough, but I wish I had this app when I was still a student.
TapNotes allows you to record audio and add annotate it, making it the perfect lecture and course companion. You can add notes as you record, or later on when you’re listening to the audio. Better yet, notes are bookmarked by time, so you can easily jump to a specific section of the lecture without stumbling around with FF and RW buttons. All you really need is a decent seat in class or an add-on microphone to get good audio quality.
TapNotes lets you annotate recorded audio at specific times and review those notes later on.
If Chrome is installed on your tablet, you already have an excellent way to browse Wikipedia. But if you want to directly access the site without passing by the browser first, you should check out Wikipedia for Tablet. The app focuses on the content first, with an always-on table of content that should make it easier to jump between any section of the article. There’s also a setting to change languages and font sizes, and an easy way to expand thumbnails into full images.
The app doesn’t need more bells and whistles to be excellent for any student. It’s simply a better gateway to the vast knowledge shared on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia for Tablet is a simple Wikipedia explorer with an always-on tablet of content.
From TED to Khan Academy to Coursera and more, online learning is spreading and it’s hard to keep track of all the great lessons or install a separate app for each service. Enter Grace, an app that supports all the learning resources mentioned above and a lot more. Browse the channels, subscribe to the ones you like, check out the videos and add those you like to your favorites. Grace makes it all possible. What’s even better? You can add notes to each video for future referencing, and share these notes with your friends.
Sure, you might miss some of the specific features of each service, like TED comments for example, but if you’re only interested in watching videos and adding your own thoughts, then Grace is a must-have.
Grace gathers videos from many online learning sources and lets you take notes while watching them.
I admit to somewhat cheating with this app’s selection: Teacher Aide is only free for 5 students, but if you want more, you’ll need to shell for the Pro version. However, its excellent featureset and the fact that you can try it before you commit to buying it, made it a must-have on this list.
Aimed at teachers only, Teacher Aide is the best app for student and class management. Teachers can create separate cards for each of their students, with their photos, information and contact details. They can plan their lessons, chart attendance and manage exam grading for each student. Bulk messaging is available to contact all parents, so is a way to contact individual parents when their child is missing work or class.
Even better? Progress reports for each student can be shared as PDFs, there’s a seating chart option to start the year without a lot of confusion, and a random name caller to help during classes. Basically, it’s a perfect all-around app for teachers.
Teacher Aide is the most powerful student management app for teachers.
Nothing beats going all digital with your studies, but if your teacher insists on giving handouts, if they use the whiteboard a lot, or if you prefer to take notes by hand during lectures but don’t want to keep logging all that paper around when you’re done, then you need CamScanner HD.
Take a photo of any paper, document, or whiteboard, and CamScanner will crop it, let you adjust its white balance and angles, group several photos into one document, and upload them as PDFs to several online storage services. You can then use any PDF reader, like Play Books, or PDF annotation tool to help you study them. Cool, right?
Camscanner HD comes with a nice tutorial that explains all its features.
Depending on what you’re going to study, and the level at which you are (high school or college), you will need some specialty apps. Below are the most common ones but you’ll definitely find more once you look for any specific topic on the Play Store. Keep in mind that most of these apps are free, but some aren’t.