September 4, 2012

Top 15 tools & apps for college students

Photo by NazarethCollege on Flickr

Digital tools and mobile apps take productivity to the next level

Editor’s note: With college students now back on campus, we thought this would be a good time to update our past articles on top tools and mobile apps for fall 2012. Thanks to Emily Sawtell and Angela Santiago of McGraw-Hill and Jessica Haswell of the Socialbrite team for their contributions to this roundup.

Target audience: Students, educators, nonprofits, writers, researchers, journalists.

The school year upon us, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite digital tools and mobile apps to start the semester off right. With so many tools on the market to increase productivity, there are bound to be a few to make your life a bit easier.

Tell us in the comments which tools you think should be added to the list. What can’t you survive without?


Wikipanion: Who needs a textbook?

1Who needs a textbook when you have Wikipedia’s brain child, Wikipanion? This app has really high ratings – because it’s simply a great app. You can access open source content on any topic imaginable, an essential tool for any class.


Evernote: A revolution in note-taking

2This app is revolutionizing notes as we know it. Evernote is a mobile and web sync friendly, media-rich note-taking machine. The basic function of the app is note-taking with the ability to add voice, photos, location and tags as well as the option to share with friends. The most exciting feature of this app is the Evernote trunk, which is filled with all sorts of valuable tools that are sure to help you excel in the classroom.

Continue reading

August 30, 2011

Top 10 productivity apps for college students

College apps
Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Make classwork go smoother with tools like Share Your Board, Pulse, Exam Support & Diigo

Target audience: Students, educators, nonprofits, social change organizations, mobile enthusiasts, education organizations.

Guest post by Angela Santiago
Digital Marketing Coordinator, McGraw-Hill Education

With the fall semester about to get underway, here at McGraw-Hill Education we’ve been researching some of the top digital tools for college students, in partnership with online study network Social media has found its way onto college campuses and into the classroom, with apps to help with everything from optimizing student studying and time management to locating interesting activities for students to do once they get to campus.

Here is our Top Ten Student Tools List for fall 2011:

1Share Your Board: Use this app to take a picture of the classroom whiteboard, make it into a readable PDF, add your own notes and send to friends.

2StudyTracker Pro (soon to be released): Since your GPA headlines your resume, it’s important to track your progress. Use StudyTracker Pro to help you manage study hours, exam and assignment grades, and judge how effective your study habits are.

3Foursquare for Universities: Connect with students, alumni, and staff, find new and interesting things to do, and earn rewards for exploring your campus and nearby areas.

4Pulse: Use this news reader app to stay informed and up to date by creating different pages based on your interests.

5Exam Support: Use this to focus, improve concentration, and beat back the rising tides of test anxiety through its “guided audio meditation.” Continue reading

July 25, 2011

6 great productivity tools for social media pros

Plaxo lets you make and send your own greeting cards.

Plaxo, Boomerang for Gmail,, Toggl & more

Target audience: Marketers, strategists, nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, companies, brands, start-ups, bloggers, Web publishers, individuals. Updated on July 25, 2011.

Shonali BurkeToday we have so many more tools at our disposal that we’re spoiled for choice. Here are six productivity tools I really like that help ease my daily workload.

If you haven’t tried them yet, have a go. Or try one of the other Web 2.0 productivity tools that Socialbrite has marvelously chronicled.


Plaxo: A ‘universal’ address book

1Until recently, Plaxo was somewhat lacking as a social network, no matter how much it tried to Face-Twit-book-terify itself. Its strength, to me, lies in its original offering, which they’ve now refocused on: the “universal” address book that allows you to keep your contacts current even if you switch jobs, email services and so on. Now they’re offering a direct sync with Google Contacts if you’re a premium user (read, give them money, currently just under US $60 a year).

I am a premium user, which means I can keep my contacts current in both places, which will be useful should I ever stop using Google Contacts. Google Contacts also syncs with my BlackBerry, which means I really do have my contacts at my fingertips. These are great time savers – remember when you had to export your contacts as a .CSV file, import them, snore … ?

The other thing I really like about Plaxo’s offerings are its ecards. I use them all the time to schedule and send mostly birthday greetings to my friends, family and business contacts, which is another way of networking with a twist. This was one of the reasons I signed up for Plaxo’s premium service some years ago. I figured the resulting selection of additional ecards (you’re limited in your selection if you use the free service) would more than offset what I would otherwise pay to actually buy a card, mail it to someone, etc.

I also now use Plaxo to make and send our own greeting cards, which has cut down significantly on holiday postage. Yes, I send a lot of cards. It’s disappointing that Plaxo doesn’t know when I’ve already scheduled ecards and keeps emailing me reminders about various birthdays, etc., coming up. But that aside, the ecards are cool.

boomerang for gmail

Boomerang for Gmail: Schedule your emails!

2This is something I’ve just started using and I really like it. Essentially, Boomerang for Gmail lets you draft and schedule emails to be sent at a particular time. This is an excellent way of ripping through your work when you’re on a roll, yet not scaring people into thinking you’re a sleepless work demon when they receive emails from you at 2:43 am. You can also decide when you want to respond to email by telling Boomerang when you want to “receive” it, i.e. read something that’s already come into your in-box. I’m not quite sure how useful this is because if I’ve already read it, chances are I’ve already decided whether or not I’m going to reply to it, whether it’s spam or whether I label/star it, etc. But I’ll go with the flow.

Boomerang for Gmail recently became available for download without an invitation code. Once you download and install Boomerang, you’ll see it in the top-right corner of your Gmail screen. I tested it almost immediately and after a couple of missteps – I had a pop-up blocker that I needed to disable – it worked perfectly. Note: if you look at your draft after you have saved and scheduled it, it won’t work. At least for me.

Their customer service is also pretty good. When it wasn’t working for me, I emailed them and got a reply almost immediately from their CEO. Nice! Collaborative scheduling

3I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love Tungle. When people use it instead of email to schedule meetings, it really saves time. I’ve been including it in my e-signature for a while now, and have incorporated it into my website as well as my Waxing Unlyrical blog. Check it out and I’m pretty sure you’ll become a fan. Continue reading