Gadget Guide: Gearing Up for Online Learning

As September seeps in around us, back-to-school routines seem to be sinking in as well. And while Northcentral University’s year round community of students and teachers never adjourned, they too are excited for the resurgence of academic motivation this season brings.

With new lectures, coursework and mentors, come the starched nylon of a new backpack, a reinforced supply of freshly molded erasers and the unmistakable smell of a new textbook. However, in the realm of online education these supplies are further supplemented with gadgets bearing cords and batteries. Here are some of our recommendations for gear and apps to benefit the distance learner.

Tablet or e-reader: The tablet or e-reader option is a cheaper, convenient alternative to the laptop. Use this type of device to read the week’s assignment on the move. For the determined reader, go with the Nook or Kindle. For the tablet cruiser who wants more options, check out the Vizio Tablet, Samsung Galaxy or the iPad.

Headphones: For the online student, headphones are a necessity. They allow you to drown out the sounds of the busy coffee shop, airport crowd or kids playing in exchange for silence or soothing tunes of your choice.  Headphones come in a variety of forms and price options, from $5 models at Walmart to the $999 In-Ear Reference Monitors by Ultimate Ears. Call us biased, but we are a fan of the Kicker Premium Earbud Headphones in the Northcentral University hues of navy and gold.

Apps: With so much student time being spent with a smartphone or tablet in hand, it is crucial to have the best apps to maximize productivity. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  •  Evernote: The advantage of Evernote is having your notes with you wherever you go, on a variety of platforms. You can take notes on your iPad, and then view them later from your smartphone, laptop or the desktop at your favorite library. Using Evernote, you could also take pictures of something written on a board or on your computer screen and the application has the ability to search the text within photos.
  • Flashcards* or Cram: If you are a fan of the flashcards, try trading in your three-by-fives for one of these useful apps that allows you to make your own flashcards and quizzes to test your knowledge before a big exam.
  • iStudiez Pro: Not a fan of the default calendar options on your device? Check out this app, which allows you to easily keep track of your busy academic schedule.

Want more useful apps? Check out this Mashable.com article for more ideas.

Take a gander at the Engadget Back to School Guide for more ideas on gadgets and gear for your academic pursuits. You may not be at campus this semester, but with these tools you can be sure your online educational experience will be effective and enjoyable.