9 Great Apps for Students (and Instructors, too!)

I first ran across an article that highlighted student apps. I had to laugh – out loud #inmyoffice – at the apps because they were so great! Who thinks of these things? Many are simple yet brilliant at the same time. I decided to investigate what other apps are out there for students (or even instructors) that were unique, at least to me.  Let me first give credit to the first researcher, Patrick at Examinetime, for his article on 12 Apps for Students. Check it out as well!

Sleep if You Can

HaoJan / Foter / CC BY-NC

I thought about my son with this app. He can sleep through almost any alarm clock. It’s not because he doesn’t hear it.  He  hits the “snooze” button until the clock just gives up. Sleep if You Can (Android and iTunes) is an app that sends an alarm and then doesn’t turn off until the user takes a picture of something pre-determined…like the sink! It is featured as the world’s most annoying alarm app.


Wunderlist is an easy way to create and share to-do lists. It provides a great tool for collaborating that would benefit both students and instructors. Keep track of assignments, due dates, meetings, groceries, music, or movies you want to see! It syncs easily across all platforms. You can set up a list under a list…under a list! Delegate tasks and be notified when someone completes it! (Yes, that’s nice!)



Will you be traveling to another country? Going on a missions trip? Spending a semester away? Viber allows you to text, call, or send photos or video messages for free using wifi or 3G. Calls do use your data plan, though! It works anywhere in the US or international as well.



Worried about the freshman 15? Or – do you just want to lose a few pounds? Set a daily calorie goal and exercise. MyFitnessPal will count the calories for you and let you know if you have used too many or can eat more!


Textbooks are expensive. Use Cheg to search for texts or ebooks to rent. While you are at it, check out Cheg Flashcards to Go! Quickly create flashcards for any subject.

chegflashcards chegg

Smile Alarm

Opposite of waking up to an annoying alarm, this alarm claims helping you wake up to a smile by providing a brain game or some of your favorite music! “You can learn new skills, exercise more, start the day more energized and relaxed, read the latest news before everybody else, have some time of your own or simply watch the sunrise.”

Study Buddy

Study buddy helps you keep track of your distractions during studying! (Really, if you are checking the app, is that a distraction in itself?)  It provides you with feedback on your study efficiency so that you can manage your time better (okay, that sounds good!). It utilizes graphs, timers, and even a warning bell.  According to Study Buddy, “The creators of Study Buddy hold a combined total of 6 professional licenses and 12 professional degrees including 5 doctorates. We have put several lifetimes of test-taking experience into the research and development behind the Study Buddy.” For $0.99 that sounds like a good investment!

study buddy


Are you busy researching? RefScan lets you scan and capture references. Access bibliographic information and times cited, have immediate access to research information, and store it all in EndNote Web.


Notability is still one of my all-time favorite apps! Create notes using the keyboard – or handwritten with your finger or a stylus. Choose from a variety of colors. Draw, annotate, and capture photos. Finally, record! Audio recordings are linked to the content so you can easily navigate a note during playback. Wow. It truly is an amazing app!



Creating Your Own Content?


Have you been creating your own course content? Do you want to create your own but don’t know where to start? Visit AcademicPub!  Whether you are a K-12 educator or an instructor in higher education, you may be interested in giving it a try. You can upload your own materials, or piece together text and images from “over 8 mission pieces” from many publishers. Everything in the content library is cleared through the Copyright Clearance Center. Create a course pack specific to your needs. Then, distribute the book by print or e-book. Academic Pub uses cloud storage so that you may access your work from any device.  Questions about how this all works? Visit their FAQ page HERE.

My Phone is Bubbling Over!

Every teacher spends a lot of time grading. I’ve found some tools that help ease the grading process. And while these tools may not work for written assignments, they do work for quick checks and formative assessment.  Best of all? They are FREE tools!

1.  QuickKey

QuickKey is an app designed by and for teachers. Click Here to watch QuickKey in action. QuickKey is new! QuickKey eliminates hand grading quizzes, tests, or formative assessments through bubble score technology and your phone camera. You can easily have students fill answers on a bubble score, then quickly scan the answers for immediate results.  QuickKey states that the information can be quickly uploaded into an electronic gradebook. I have used QuickKey for scoring but have not tried the gradebook option.

2. MasteryScan Bubble Sheet Scanning

I am a huge fan of MasteryConnect. It assesses the Common Core Standards and tracks the standards for K-12 students. Now that I work in higher education, I do not have the need for the full priced MasteryConnect account. In order to use the complete bubble score scanning, a full account is needed. However, educators may sign up for the free account which will allow teachers to scan up to 10 questions. This could be useful for tracking quick formative assessments.

3.  Bubblesheet App

The Bubblesheet App is available for iOS or Android. It is also released by MasteryConnect and very similar to the MasteryScan except that Bubblesheet is created to use directly on the iPhone. Rather than scanning a paper bubble sheet, students input answers directly into the app for immediate results.


Using Doceri as a Presentation Tool!

I’m always searching for new ways to present information. Doceri is one that is intriguing to me and fun to use!

Doceri is an interactive whiteboard app and screencast recorder. Instructors can easily use the drawing tools to draw hand-drawn lesson, graphics, and presentations which can easily be shared as a still image, .pdf, or screencast. Doceri is available as an app for the iPad, or as a computer download. If you do not want to create a hand-drawn lesson, pictures and slides can easily be placed into Doceri creating the ability for the instructor to present, annotate, and save. “Create as many different screencasts as you need, based on any Doceri project. The project itself remains intact no matter how many different screencasts you create or delete.” (Docerci)

There are so many wonderful functions of Doceri.  Here is a sample hand-drawn lesson I created:

Here are a few more videos about Doceri and its capabilities:

The Doceri App is free from iTunes.  Click Here.

Turnitin App = Awesome!


It’s here and it integrates with our Moodle! Yes ~ the Turnitin App! I have personally tested it out and can say with a great big smile that it works well and integrates easily.

Using the app you can view student work that has been turned in, view the originality report, and create custom and QuickMark comments.  The interactive grading rubric is very easy to use. Just select the criteria and the grade will be automatically calculated! Instructors can also add a voice comment. By syncing assignments you can grade on or off-line.

Here are directions from Turnitin on how to create a class code so that you can sync the information with your LMS (for our university, that is Moodle):

As an integration user, you will need a unique class access code in order to log in to your classes on Turnitin for iPad. To generate a unique class access code:

  1. From your computer, sign into your LMS
  2. Open the document viewer for a paper in the class
  3. Click on the iPad access button in the lower left
  4. Click “Generate code”
  5. The unique class access code will be displayed
  6. Tap the “Access Code” button on the Turnitin for iPad app login screen
  7. Type in the class access code you have generated
  8. Tap “Add”

Reference:  Turnitin

If you need help, please visit their help center for more information!

Starting Fall 2013 off Right!

Sleep.  You may not need 13 hours of sleep, but you do need 8-10 hours of sleep. My family may think I’m crazy, but I try to be in bed by 9:00 at the latest. I get up at 5:15 … the early bed gets the worm, right?

Start the day right.  Eat a healthy breakfast. Way too many people skip breakfast! It’s like gas in a car.  Put healthy food in to keep going throughout the day! I eat oatmeal, chia seeds, berries, and coconut milk every day for breakfast. It fuels the day.

Start the day right – part 2.  We’ve established to sleep right, get up at dawn, and eat correctly. Now it’s time to get the day started emotionally and spiritually.  I begin with “devotions” each day – a time set apart for God and me. It’s a time to connect, listen, and be quiet before the rush of the day begins. I like to read through the Bible every year. This year I am adding “picture journaling” to the mix. I read a few verses, then draw (using my paper app) a picture to go with it.  I’m finding that drawing each morning is also therapeutic!paperThis was created using Paper Fifty Three.

Coffee and Chocolate.  This means enjoy the small things. I enjoy coffee and chocolate. Every day I treat myself to coffee and chocolate! What small things do you enjoy? Treat yourself.

Be thankful. My new year resolution is to try to be more positive this year. It’s easy to look at the negative. Yet I have so much to be thankful for! In every circumstance, find something to be thankful for…even if it is the opportunity to grow.

Get moving. We all know physical activity is healthy. Get out there and start moving! Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Take your dog on a walk. Ride your bike. Get moving. Record your movement using Map My Ride or Map My Run!

Give a smile. Give a smile to someone new each day if given the opportunity. There are too many people going through hard times – make someone’s day by spreading a little sunshine!

Give.  Volunteer more. Give of your time, talents, finances, whatever you can. It feels wonderful to give to others! You will reap rewards more than you can imagine in return.  I try to find sponsors for World Vision. Click this link to sponsor a child!

Offer an encouraging word. Most likely if you are reading this, you are an educator. We know that encouraging words are powerful to students. How about your co-workers? Start encouraging them – give that kind word and a smile each day.

Go out on a limb. Are you living life on a balance beam, hanging on for dear life? Try something a little crazy this year – something new, fun, exciting! Get out of the boat and do something you’ve always wanted to do. How about trying something new in your classroom like PollEverywhere or Infuse Learning?

Say I’m sorry.  Be the first to apologize. If someone has been wronged, make it right.

Make time. Make time for others.  This is a hard one for me. I get really busy with “stuff” that I forget to make time for the important things like relationships. This last one is for me to remember!