The 30 Best iPad apps for college students and academics (part 3)

Best iPad apps for universityWelcome to the grand finale of my personally favorite 30 iPad apps for everybody in academia, university and college. This time, I am focusing on the best iPad apps for Organizing and Enjoying life in academia.

This series is different from most collections you will find online. Often, the usual iPad apps everybody knows are thrown together with some apps targeted at particular niches in higher education (e.g., Elements for chemistry students). Nothing wrong with that, except that you might not hear anything new or useful for your own academic workflows (okay, in this case there would be something wrong with that).

This list is different: I only focus on high quality, productivity-boosting iPad apps that improve the workflows across all subjects and levels of academia. Whether you are a college freshman in art history, a post-doc in life sciences, or a seasoned professor in business: I am sure you will find something here that helps you super-charging your academic life. [Read more…]

Start loving to organize your PDFs with Papers for Mac

Papers 2 for MacThe best apps offer a simplistic and beautiful interface that allows people to use the software in an intuitive way. Papers by mekentosj is one of these apps: Through its iTunes-like interface, Papers allows you to organize and annotate your endless collections of journal articles in an easy and fun way.

This post is part of a series exploring the two leading PDF management systems on the Mac and iPad: Sente and Papers. Previous posts have explored the benefits of PDF management systems (in comparison to stand-alone PDF readers) and offered an in-depth review of Sente for Mac. The current post checks out Papers, following the same structure as the Sente for Mac posts: it introduces the Papers ecosystem, reviews how you can add and annotate references, and briefly talks about how you can insert in-text citations and bibliographies into your write-ups. [Read more…]

Super-charge your PDF workflow with Sente for Mac

Finding, reading, annotating, and citing journal articles is our daily bread as academics. But are we good at cutting it? How many times have you searched for “that perfect paper” you have read just a few weeks ago!? Or have you ever almost missed a submission deadline because compiling the bibliography “took a little longer”?

If you are reading a lot of journal articles (and chances are you do if you are in university), it makes sense to invest in a tightly integrated ecosystem that allows you to organize and annotate your PDFs seamlessly on the Mac and the iPad. As I mentioned in the previous guide to annotating PDFs, there are right now two contenders in a neck-to-neck race of offering the best, multi-device PDF management system: Sente and Papers. To keep the current review of Sente for Mac somehow manageable (Sente’s user manual stretches over 316 pages, just to give you an idea), it only covers the most basic functions: how to add a PDF (or reference more generally), how to organize your references, what annotations are supported, and how you can insert in-text citations and bibliographies into your write-ups. [Read more…]

5 free iPhone apps for academics

When the iPad came out, many people immediately recognized the benefit this device offers researchers and university students, and latest since its Education Event last week Apple has made clear that the education sector is an important playing field for their iPad ambitions. Even before the iPad came out, the Mac was widely popular in academia, and it continues to be so.

The iPhone, on the other hand, does not carry the same image of being an important device in academia. Don’t get me wrong: it is not that academics do not use iPhones as an easy-to-use mobile communication device (in fact, iPhones are quite easy to spot on campus). It is just that, for most people, the iPad and the Mac are more strongly associated with education than the iPhone is. Even for Apple, the iPhone (and iPod touch) is seen as their “third device” in education.

However, there are a couple of apps that can turn the iPhone into a powerful tool for university professors and college students alike. I am listing five of my favorite iPhone apps in this post. [Read more…]

Task management for academics

Task management is a tricky topic in academia: Faculty members and students alike juggle a lot of different tasks while pursuing many different projects; often in collaboration with others. Yet, our projects often don’t require the same level of organization as in the corporate world in which tasks are delegated, have fixed start and end times, and are populated with resources and attendees. At least as a graduate student right now, I therefore don’t need a task manager with all bells and whistles. On the other hand, a simple to-do list is not powerful enough to juggle various research projects with teaching and other commitments. That’s why I am using the free Wunderlist task management apps.

 

Manage your tasks on all your devices

Wunderlist is an elegant task management solution that blends a small feature set with a wonderful design. It avoids the complexity of other task managers without compromising on the most important features. Of course you can have multiple lists to sort your tasks, you can add notes, due dates, and reminders to your tasks, you can make some tasks your favorites, and you can sort your tasks using various filters. You can also share certain lists with other users. [Read more…]

Mind mapping with MindNode

Today, I would like to introduce you to MindNode ($10) for the iPad. MindNode was one of the first apps that I bought for my iPad back in 2010 when it hit the app store, and it is one of the third party apps that I use the most often (ignoring games, obviously). As you have already guessed from the title of this post, MindNode is an app for mind mapping.

Mind mapping probably needs no introduction, but in short, the idea is to organize your ideas in a tree structure that starts from a central node in the center and then moves outwards. Benefits of mind maps are that they speak to the spatial parts of your brain: I can quickly find around my way even in very large mind maps, like the one holding all the topics I would like to cover in this blog, because my brain knows in what corner to look for the information it is looking for.

I am using mind maps for many different things. While I sometimes use it to structure my thoughts to prepare some writing, my main use for mind maps is to store ideas and little bits of info. I find that the structure of mind maps makes it easy for me to get back to the information collected in the map even after some time of absence.

 

MindNode gets out of your way

There are several mind mapping apps out there, and some a better known such as iThoughts HD ($10) or free such as Mindjet for iPad. So what is so good about MindNode? For starters, I really enjoy the simplicity of the app. I am a bit of a minimalist junky, and this is especially true for mind mapping apps. MindNode’s interface pretty much gets out of the way and allows you to jot down your ideas fast and easy. [Read more…]