Studying with Technology

By Jennifer Phillips

College is an exciting time in our lives. There are so many new experiences and things to do. Keeping up on studies can be very time consuming and challenging. Some students also work or have households to upkeep, all while trying to keep up on studying, homework and maintaining good grades. There are some very useful tools available now that can not only help you save time, but can also help improve how you study.

Many stores that sell textbooks, such as The Penn State New Kensington Bookstore, CourseSmart, and Amazon are now selling a growing number of digital versions of their textbooks, called e-textbooks. E-textbooks have a number of advantages over print books, such as the ability to view your books online using a PC, laptop or on mobile devices (Android, iPhone, iPod, Tablets), making them easily accessible from almost anywhere, therefore eliminating the need to carry around cumbersome textbooks or worry about keeping them in good condition to resell. They can also be searchable, have a linked Table of Contents so you can go directly to any chapter, and allow highlighting, copying and pasting, making note taking a breeze. Some e-textbooks come with bonus material to aid your studies, such as simulations, audio, videos, online homework, quizzing, exercises and links to websites with relevant information. The e-textbooks are often significantly cheaper than the print versions. The exact features available depend upon the store that you purchase from.

Another very useful tool is called Evernote. Evernote is a free note taking application that’s available for Windows, Mac and on mobile devices, and you can easily synchronize your notes between all your devices. It’s an extremely powerful tool for collecting, storing and retrieving notes, yet it’s very easy to use. If you have pages and pages of notes, it can be hard to find a certain note again quickly. With Evernote, you can give each note a title, description, and tags that can help you find your notes later. Evernote goes far beyond basic text notes. You can clip things like images, some or all of a web page, emails and audio. Once you have a collection of notes, you can easily find whatever you’re looking for using the tags you added, or sorting your notes by notebook, title, tags, date created and last updated. There is also a paid version of Evernote available which gives things such as additional storage space, advanced collaboration that allows friends to view and edit each others notes, priority in the support queue, and note history.

Using a digital recorder can also help you with studying and double checking your notes. If your instructor is covering material very quickly, it can be very difficult to keep up with writing notes while trying to understand what the teacher is explaining. Listening to your lecture again later can help you refine your notes and work towards grasping a concept. With a digital recorder, there’s no need to deal with the cassette tape. You can simply transfer an audio file over to your computer and then onto a mobile device. Then you can listen to your lectures while you’re exercising, driving, doing housework and so much more.

New tools and methods are constantly being created to help people become more efficient. These are just a few of them. If you look around, you might find all kinds of other amazing tools that can help you with your studies. Hopefully, you’ll find the tools mentioned here to be useful or maybe you’ll discover other new tools and techniques that work even better for you . Having these could really help you stay organized, work faster and improve grades.


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