With a wealth of information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to know how to sift through everything. Yes, we have everything we need to learn, but the question is how do we learn it? Revision and studying can often be hindered as much as helped by technology; it can be distracting and can make it more difficult for our memories to work to their full capacity. However, technology is continually developing to aid study and revision, and we have compiled a list of the top 5 apps that will help you master your Masters (and other studies).
1. Dragon Dictation
Although this app can be used for anything from updating a Facebook status, to shooting off a quick email, Dragon Dictation can be extremely useful for studying. Using fast speech-to-text software, this app will type while you talk. Maybe you had a quick thought you want to jot down, or after hours of studying, your wrists need a break. You can use it however you want, whenever you want, and you will save bags of time.
A huge upside of speaking your notes is not only speed but memory retention. A lot of studies show that by reading or saying something aloud, you are creating a ‘distinctive memory.’ This means that you are digesting the information twice; once as you read it, and a second time as you say it aloud, making it more concrete as a memory. The drawback of Dragon Dictation is that it is only available on iOS devices.
2. iStudiez Lite/Pro
If you have too much to memorize and focus on without worrying about your schedule, then get yourself invested in iStudiez. Like a digital planner, this app lays out your courses, classes, days, assignments, and anything else you need to consider so that you can keep everything in order. It can be a life saver when you are studying, as you can see how much time you have or need for everything. You can also color code and add icons to coordinate items.
iStudiez comes in two forms: Lite and Pro. iStudiez Lite is free, so if you wanted to try it out, you have an abridged version. You can add up to 5 courses with 15 assignments and 15 classes per course. If you decide to upgrade to Pro for unlimited courses, as well as backup features and other abilities, the price is a small $2.99. Both these apps work for iOS and Mac.
3. Brainscape – Smart Flashcards
You may think of flashcards as something used to teach kindergarteners, but there is a reason they are so useful. Providing information in bite-sized chunks coupled with an image make it easier for the brain to process and, more importantly, remember. Using images alongside the revision material stimulates the visual part of your brain, so you are receiving the information twice, in a way. If what you’re studying requires a lot of new information and memorization, it’s hard to beat what Brainscape offers.
4. Self Control/Cold Turkey
The biggest hindrance of working online is surely the never-ending stream of distractions. If you find yourself logging onto Twitter or Facebook for a ‘quick update’ then suddenly losing an hour of your time, Cold Turkey (Windows) and Self Control (Mac) could be the apps for you. By selecting periods of time when you will be studying, you can block out anything likely to sidetrack you. Be careful, as these are some pretty strict apps; you can’t just ‘undo’ the block once it’s in place!
5. Your Smartest Friend
Where Dragon Dictation helps by saying things out loud, our Your Smartest Friend is a way of triggering your visual memory. Visual learning is on the rise as a faster, more intuitive way of thinking and linking your ideas. Mapping out your thesis, research or findings, you will be able to connect ideas where you couldn’t before, see the gaps in your thinking, and create more ideas at a faster rate.
Even if you do not think of yourself as a visual learner per se, there are myriad benefits to visual learning and using Your Smartest Friend. You can enhance your creativity, build up speed while you are working, develop your critical thinking, and feel more confident in your learning process. It will most certainly change the way you study.
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