Not everything in Apple's iPhone App Store is fun and games: Students should check out some of the handy educational tools and reference guides in the App Store.
One new, popular utility that could be useful for students is Convert, a 99-cent (AU$1.19) unit calculator that's currently the no. 2 best-selling app in the App Store.
It converts dozens of unit types, ranging from measurements you might use in math class—angles and area; to science class —temperature and force; to design class — typography and computer file sizes.
It's also been a big hit. The app's developer Tap Tap Tap tells us that it's sold 100,000 copies of Convert since it went on sale in mid-August. After Apple's 30 per cent cut, that's about $US70,000 in sales so far, in less than a month. Not bad!
Other interesting apps for students include several digital organisers, which could replace a paper calendar and assignment notebook.
The free app MyHomework is one popular example, and it's currently the no. 2 most downloaded education app in the App Store. It lets students keep track of their classes, homework assignments, projects and tests, with a fun, simple user interface.
College students may be more interested in iStudiez Pro, which seems more tailored to the nature of university studies, helping you keep track of lecture and lab sessions, tasks, homework, scheduling, etc. At $AU3.99, it's currently the no. 1 most popular paid education app in the App Store.
One apparent disappointment: An iPhone app that hooks into the Blackboard software that many schools and colleges use, which would be a great help. But we stop short of recommending the free "Blackboard Learn" app that's in the App Store.
Why? Reviewers have given it terrible grades—a 1.5 star rating out of 5 possible stars, complaining about all sorts of shortcomings and bugs. We don't have access to a Blackboard server, so we couldn't try it first-hand. But it sounds like it could use an update.
Have any favourites for students? Let us know in the comments section.
iStudiez Pro: AU$3.99 Keep your schedule and class locations at a glance, keep track of lecture and lab locations, and track tasks and deadlines, homework assignments, etc.
AlgebraPrep Series: AU$3.99 each Need to get your algebra knowledge in shape? These apps—a series of five, for AU$3.99 each—include practice, videos, and tests for algebra factoring, graphing, systems, equations and real numbers.
Convert - The Unit Calculator: AU$1.19 Converts dozens of unit types, ranging from measurements you'd use in math class—angles and area; temperature and force; design class—typography and computer file sizes. Currently the no. 2 most downloaded paid app in the App Store.
Dictionary.com: Free There's plenty of paid dictionary apps in the App Store—Apple is currently promoting a $25 dictionary, for example. But this one is free and includes audio, etymology and a thesaurus. Caveat: It's a big file because it's designed to work offline, too. So it's a good idea to install it over a Wi-Fi signal or USB sync.
MyHomework: Free A simple assignment notebook, which is currently the no. 2 most popular free education app in the App Store. Track assignments, quizzes, tests, etc.
The Chemical Touch Lite: Free "Sometimes all you need is a simply periodic table," the app maker says. True! Includes elements' masses, densities, melting and boiling points, etc. Also a pro version for AU$1.19.
Simplenote: AU$2.49 The iPhone comes with a built-in note taking app, but it's an ugly yellow design and requires you to plug in your phone to sync it with your computer. Simplenote syncs wirelessly to a Web interface, so you can take notes in class and pull them up on your laptop, even if you left your iPhone cable at home.
Free Language Tutors: Free This app maker, 24/7 Tutor, offers several free tutoring apps, including Spanish, French, Italian and German. They include audio of words, a puzzle game, flash cards, and quizzes.