Stephanie Polickoski is a recent college graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a major in Mass Communications, focusing on Creative Advertising. A winner of a Richmond ad award, her work can be seen at stephaniepolickoski.com, where she focuses not only on advertising but on writing as well. Social media and media trends are passions of hers as she studies those daily. On the side, she loves little science factoids, writing, cooking, sketching things down, and traveling to random places.
Studying in college, while of course never fun, is necessary. It’s a dreaded topic. Something a lot of us don’t like to talk about. You don’t walk in to your Monday Psychology class and tell your friends all about the study group that you attended over the weekend. And with all the bad reputations that studying gets, honestly, why should you want to?
Opening books and writing notes can seem old-school when studying, so why not merge technology with studying? If you’ve ever made a study guide, or note cards, or almost any other kind of study material, you can do that online. Sites such as Google Docs, Quizlet, Flashcard Machine, Study Blue, Evernote, and Google+ hangouts, all has their own perks that can help you study your way to a better grade without constantly sitting in front of a book and getting papercuts. These tools allow you to study anywhere your laptop or phone can go, helping you turn the extra chunks of time in your day: riding the bus, waiting for a professor’s office hours to start, or hanging out at the coffee shop- into study time.
Study groups can make for rich learning, but finding a time and place that everyone can meet makes it time-consuming to plan. With Google+ Hangouts video chat for your group, use that time studying instead of planning the meeting. While in a Hangout, you can share your screen, work together on Google Docs, and use a collaborative whiteboard.
Google Docs is a very easy-to use tool that some may already be familiar with. It is a web-based word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a presentation program respectively. Using Google Docs you can create and edit documents while collaborating with other users online. Google Docs also allows you to share your document with who, and only who you allow. Creating study guides between group members, or even sharing notes has now become a piece of cake with Google Docs. You can create an editable document for your whole study group, where everyone contributes. Or you can create a document where edits have to be approved and are seen at the bottom, this way, if you’re collaborating on notes, the whole document is not changed in the matter of an instant. Don’t worry about forgetting to save either. The document is saved as soon as it is open and you start typing.
Quizlet is an online learning tool that was actually created by a high-school sophomore. Quizlet is first and foremost a memorization tool letting registered users create “sets” of terms customized to their own personal needs. These terms can then be studied under several different study modes. Flash Cards, is the most popular and most well known method. It is the simple, flash card method of seeing one side, and then the other. Other modes of study can include Learn, where users are either prompted with the term or definition and is prompted to define the other, Speller, where the user is asked to type what they hear, and Scatter. Quizlet has 8 different study modes to help users learn the material they need to. Quizlet, like many other study tools, has an app as well so you can take your studying on the go.
When you create a new set of cards in Flashcard Machine, you can control features like font color, size and alignment. You also have the option to include your set in the site’s flashcard database, or to make your cards accessible to those who haven’t registered for the site. The set can be categorized by subject and grade or course level, which can be useful for the site’s community if you opt to add your cards to the database. Once the set is created, you can begin a study session, print your cards or take a quiz on the material. You can also add pictures or mp3 audio to your cards, and you have the option to export audio cards to your mp3 player. You can pull up your flashcards on the go as well using your phone, and use the extra minutes between class to help you study as well.
Flash cards have long been a favored study tool for students, and Study Blue takes that to the next level by letting you make and find flashcards online. Study Blue lets you, as students, write up your notes, look up notes to study from, and quizzes you to see which areas you need to focus on studying more. You can form your own backpack to include the classes which you are taking. You can even sync your profile with another online study tool, Evernote. One of the most useful features is going to be the collaborative feature, which allows you to collaborate with classmates, study partners, and even see textbooks.
Evernote is a tool to help you collect, organize, and retrieve information as notes. These notes can take many forms: typed notes from class, a snapshot of a whiteboard during lecture, clips of webpages, or an audio clip you recorded. You can easily create checklists of topics to study for your class as well, to make sure that you’ve covered everything that you need to. It’s easy to organize and makes your notes searchable, so if you only have 10 minutes before the exam to answer a last minute study question, you can easily find it. It’s available on your phone, desktop, or any computer with an internet connection.