Friday, January 27, 2012

School Supplies

I find these days my favorite school supplies are electronic. I carry less around, can access study notes from my phone and don't have to worry about spilling coffee on my textbook! 

This semester I'm taking an online class to fulfill one of my last university requirements before graduation in May. There's something about an online class that makes me forget that I still need a book; a week before classes started this month I suddenly realized I didn't have the required textbook. I checked online.. wow textbooks are expensive! Ouch! Not to mention shipping costs to Hawaii (not pretty), and the time it would take to get here. Last semester I rented a book from B&N and that worked out great for me. I saved myself a lot of money taking that route, so I went to the B&N website to try that again, that's when I discovered Nook Study

Nook Study lets you download an electronic textbook immediately, along with their free software. Although not all textbooks are available, many are, especially those required for gen eds. Thank goodness mine was available, it only cost $45 to rent and I could access the book immediately. The software took less than 5 minutes to download and figure out. The interface is clean cut, and simple. I can take notes, highlight sections, and bookmark pages. Perfect! It's really making a difference for me this semester.

The second tool that I started using last semester and am using more often this semester is Study Blue. Study Blue makes it really easy to create flashcards and take notes that I can access from any computer. It's free to use and there is even a free app that lets you study flashcards on the go. This is my favorite feature because I love that I can get a little studying in walking across campus! Study Blue is fun and super easy to use, it even lets you post notifications to your Facebook letting your friends know that you are studying and not to bother you! I love it. Study Blue tracks your progress and lets you know how you're doing. If you go through a deck of flashcards you can choose to "study the wrongs" at the end. Very convenient! It also supports Asian language fonts, which is important for me because I am studying Chinese! Awesome!

Something else I discovered last semester that is working well for me again is Google Docs. I heart Google Docs! I can upload, download, read, create, any file, anywhere, any time. Lovely. Before I head to class I create a document for that lesson and take preparation notes, usually vocab lists (I'm a Chinese major), then later when I'm in class I can access these notes, make changes, make more notes, whatever I need. Works great! I don't have to print as much, less ink, less paper, less cost! When you're a college student that's the most important part. Google Docs is also great for creating and saving power point presentations. I no longer have to worry about formatting changes or "what if my file mysteriously disappears?" or "what if I forget my thumb stick at home or drop it in a puddle??" None of that nonsense, just log into Google Docs and you're good to go!

If you're still getting to try to get into the swing of things in school this semester I really recommend these tools to help you study.

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