Top Digital Tools Every Student Needs

Education is one of the largest global industries that encompasses 6% of the GDP, according to the research firm HolonIQ. Total global expenditure from governments, companies, and consumers would reach $7.3T by 2025. Despite the enormous potential of the use of technology in the education sector, it is still starved of capital when compared with other key sectors like market capital, and healthcare.

While educational institutions at all levels are embarking on their journey to digital transformation, it is critical for the public and private sectors to fund innovation and future growth across this industry for the benefit of students. As we write this article, the global expenditure on tech in education is grossly under digitized at less than 4% (Fig. 1).

Digital Tools

During the pandemic, there had been explosive growth in EdTech tools and applications. All such tools focus on making learning simplified, agile, accessible, universal, and interactive for students. We’ve listed 15 such tools based on students’ needs and requirements in their everyday college life.

Recording or Collecting Notes

Research on recording or notetaking suggests that collecting content or information in the class and reviewing it later can have a positive impact on learning. Students can recall lecture material with ease if they record and collect notes during lectures, which also allows them to perform well in exams.

Some of the best note-taking apps are-

  • Office Lens allows instant scanning with their smartphone camera. It can also be synced with OneDrive and OneNote.
  • Dragon Microphone provides a speech-to-text translation by recognizing the voice of the speaker. The app enables students to get notes instantly and enables workable edits over time.
  • Evernote, the most popular note-taking application, allows students to take notes in different formats like video recordings, annotated web page clippings, pictures, text, audio, and even hand-written notes.

Content Curation

Creating and sharing assignments in the conventional paper form can be daunting for both, the teachers and students. Curation of content can become fun and interactive when it becomes shareable in real-time. Top apps that enable content curation for university students include-

  • elink platform gives book recommendations, creates lessons, provides resource pages and faculty updates for students.
  • Padlet collects resources and information from the Web and pins it on the virtual board. This web-based application enables adding post-it notes on the digital walls. Anything from images, links to videos, and music can be added to the virtual wall at Padlet.
  • Chegg is the jack-of-all-trades, which allows students to solve problems by giving them the process to arrive at a solution. It also checks plagiarism and helps prepare content like cover letters for job interviews.

Knowledge Building

Knowledge building is the innovative pedagogy that can transform students into expert-like workers. It also enables sustained idea improvement of students for knowledge advancement. Students inclined towards knowledge building during college can develop innovation-oriented epistemic views. Critical apps that support university students in building conducive knowledge include-

  • Exam Vocabulary Builder helps students build a stronghold on vocab through quizzes, games, and audio pronunciation.
  • Scribd is one of the largest online libraries where students can find documents that they need. Scribd also allows students to personalize it according to their study interests and research topics.
  • Duolingo app offers 68 language courses, that are designed and developed with native speakers and experts to develop language learning skills.

Campus Assistance & Security

College campuses are considered a haven for students. However, certain events in the past, such as the massacre at Virginia Tech University, the shooting at Northern Illinois University in 2008, and the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have threatened the safe image of college campuses. Apart from such events, crime and violent activity involving alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drugs, and sexual violence, are attributed to pose a major security threat for university students.
Following apps can help university students with campus assistance, safety, and security.

  • bSafe app puts virtual eyes on students as they walk home or to the hostel from their classrooms. GPS tracking with the function “Follow Me”, SOS alarm, audio recordings, and automatic video recordings can be sent to designated mobile numbers.
  • Circle Of 6 was specially designed for university students as a security device against sexual violence. But, it can be used for enhanced security by anyone. The app taps location and communicates position for possible help.
  • Lost On Campus helps new students to know where a student is going, and how to reach a certain place. This app provides university-specific directions, and maps; and is especially beneficial for students who are new to the campus.

Mental Health

University marks a key transitional period for young people. During this time, students may face several challenges, such as adjusting to new environments, interacting with diverse people, distance from their home, and making independent life decisions, which can cause mental health instability.

Mental well-being concerns are on the rise among university students, which can be substantiated by the fact that 35% of all college students suffer from mental health disorders, primarily anxiety and depression. Almost all universities have started to recognize the issue, and thus provide resources that can assist students in coping with a smooth transition into their new life.

Some of the apps that can help are-

  • Pinterest is among the top-rated study breaks and mental health apps that provide a constellation of different ideas. accessible on the mobile or web, the app can be therapeutic, useful, and inspirational.
  • Calm is a top-rated app for better sleep, and meditation to manage anxiety and stress. This can be particularly helpful for students during examination times.
  • Noisli allows students to select whether they want to improve productivity or relax. The app provides calming sounds like chorusing crickets, crackling fire, dishes clanking, or people talking in the café. The app also enables color therapy by changing background colors for students to concentrate or tune in.