The 30 Best iPad apps for college students and academics

Best iPad apps for college students and academicsIt is this special time of the year again: We are going back to school. And whether you are a college student or a tenured professor, or anything in between (yay Grad students!), you might be asking yourself what iPad apps you could download to get the most out of your iPad.

This is my personal list of the 30 best iPad apps for college / grad students and professors. It is not one of these countless posts that list a bunch of generic apps like Safari, Facebook and iBooks. Those are not really specific to people in university, and I also bet you knew those already. I am also not going to throw a list at you filled with niche iPad apps targeted at one particular subject or at earlier years of education. So what will you find here?

This is a list of my favorite iPad apps that are useful for everybody in academia – college students, grad students, postdocs, lecturers and professors – because they help us excel in our core workflows: Writing, Reading, Thinking, Presenting and Organizing our academic lives.

The iPad apps I am listing here are all high quality, paid apps. For some of these you might be able to find free alternatives, no doubt. However, you get what you pay for, and I think that it doesn’t hurt to invest a little money in quality paid apps that boost our core workflows.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that all free iPad apps are worthless! There are great ones for academics out there, and I will publish a post of my favorite free apps very soon (so sign up for academiPad’s RSS or twitter streams).

But back to the current post: For each of the core workflows (Writing, Reading, Thinking, Presenting and Organizing our academic lives), I am discussing a couple of iPad apps and how they fit into that workflow. Sometimes I am listing more than one app for a particular use case, so be sure to check out the links to more in-depth discussion of these apps. [Read more...]

Grandview: A radically simplistic writing app for the Mac

Grandview minimalist writing appGrandview might be the strangest writing app on your Mac. I really have a lot of writing apps: Pages, Mellel, ByWord, iA Writer, and OmmWriter to get into the flow. I know I am an addict. But today, I found out about Grandview, and none of my previous apps are like it. Its secret: It only shows you one word at a time!

GrandviewAs I am writing this post on Grandview, I must say that it is indeed an interesting writing app. Although there is a setting that you can see your complete text (shortcut: Command + =), this app only makes sense when you are using the standard one-word-at-a-time view. In this mode, the letters are flashing over your screen as you type, and it is not until you close a sentence that you can have a look at what you have just written.

GrandviewIf you find yourself editing your unfinished sentences mid-through all the time, this might be a liberating experience for you. However, it is a little bit strange that the font size changes with every additional letter you are writing. Strange as it is at first, I am already getting used to it, and I think that this mode might stimulate me to choose shorter words and to write shorter sentences; even when this one doesn’t look like it does!

GrandviewAnyways, this app might be a good way to get into writing when you are feel blocked. It seems to be well suited for free writing exercises and to get first drafts on paper. It might be a little difficult to write long arguments with Grandview, but I don’t think that this is the intent of the app.

One thing I like most about Grandview is that it is always ready to help you overcoming your writing block when you need it. Once activated, it lives in your menu bar, and pressing a customizable shortcut (default: Command + Shift + A) brings it up full screen. You can type away a sentence, a paragraph or more until you have made your point.

Grandview dissolves writing blocks.

Once you think you are done or you made it back into your flow, you simply press Escape to switch back to the app you used before. The text you have just written in Grandview is waiting for you in your Clipboard, ready to be pasted into your actual writing app. A truly simple and elegant solution!

So if you are suffering from white page anxiety, as I do, do yourself a favour and give this app a try. It is currently available for FREE (normally it is between $5 and $14), so grab it before the price bounces back up.

Disclaimer: All images by academiPad.

Serious writing with iPad: What keyboard case fits your writing style?

iPad Keyboard CaseThe iPad can be an incredible tool for the serious writer, but only if paired with an external keyboard. Which of the countless alternatives out there is the right keyboard case for you? Its simple: Go for a quality keyboard that fits your writing style. This guide discusses three things you should consider about your writing style, and it reviews ten of my personal favourite keyboard cases.

Before going into the details of quality and writing style, you might wonder what makes the iPad a great tool to do some serious academic writing? I have written a complete post about the benefits of writing with the iPad that I encourage you to check out. In short, during the warmer months I frequently use my iPad to write my dissertation “in the wild” or, as you might call it, the city park. I find this change of place to boost my productivity, and the iPad helps me to get into the flow and stay there. There are other reason that make the iPad a fine machine for academic writers (e.g., battery life, health, comfort, focus, and even screen estate), but an external keyboard is a must. [Read more...]

Writing in the wild: Unleash your flow with a keyboard for the iPad

Writing on the iPadI am finding more and more that the iPad is a really great tool for writing sessions. However, if you are planning to write for an extended period of time, you’re going to need an external keyboard. In this post, I am discussing why the iPad is great for writing everywhere, how my setup looks like, and what good keyboard alternatives are out there for you.

Especially now, as the summer slowly returns to my little town in Canada, I enjoy taking my iPad to the park for morning or late afternoon writing sessions. Writing outside the the ultimate productivity boost for me. Breathing the fresh air and smelling the scents of an unfamiliar surrounding really gets me into my flow – maybe this is mandatory for someone whose dissertation is about the role of nature in sustainable consumption. However, nothing of this would happen without the external keyboard that I throw into my bag before strolling to the park. [Read more...]

30 online resources for academic life, writing, and technology

Online Resources for academic lifeThe web is full of great resources for academics, and this is a list of my personal favourites. They offer great advice on writing, productivity, creativity and managing your career. Although they are a great inspiration, they not always go into the nuts and bolts what technology is available for researchers and students. Luckily, thats what academiPad is for. [Read more...]

AppWriter: A writing app for people with learning disabilities

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, about one in ten Canadians are estimated to suffer from learning disabilities. As educators, it is important that we respond to the needs of students with learning disabilities. I wish there was an app for that…

Wait a minute! When I went through a list of 52 iPad writing apps, AppWriter ($20, iTunes link) caught my attention. It was the most expensive one of the bunch, so I naturally wondered how AppWriter justifies its hefty price tag. [Read more...]

52 Writing apps for iPad: What is your favorite?

How many writing iPad writing apps are in the app store? Fifty-two, according to a crowd sourcing project initated by Brett Terpstra! Now thats quite a number, so how are you finding the one that is best for you?

One option would be to just use each of them for exactly one week, and after a year you could decide which was the best one. Or, a less expensive and time consuming way would be to have a look at the awesome iOS Text Editor roundup that Brett put together. [Read more...]

Content creation on the iPad

Lifehacker recently published an article about the iPad as a creative tool. While their article mostly focuses on creatives in the areas of design, music, and film, it is worth reading it as it busts the myth that the iPad is for content consumption only. I also share the link here because it relates to an article for academiPad which discusses the role of the iPad as a creative tool for academics. Hint: The iPad is one of our tools for content creation, and it is all about integrating the iPad into our workflows.

The Lifehacker article gives a little glimpse on how the iPad can be used for content creation for academic-type creatives:

[Read more...]

Pop for iOS: A new minimal word processor

Patrick Rhone over at minimalmac is saying for years that less is more when it comes to apps. Needless to say that I think he is on to something with this, as I am a big fan of distraction free writing apps such as Byword, iA Writer, and OmmWriter.His newest venture is the development of Pop for iOS with Minimal Tools.

As you can read on their homepage, Minimal Tools are [Read more...]

15 tricks to get the most out of your iPad

iOS 5Joel Bankhead over at app storm.net sat down earlier this month to write down 42 features of iOS 5 you might have missed. Well, some of those are pretty obvious, but here are 13 features of this list plus 2 features I came up with that are especially relevant for academics. [Read more...]