Easy as ABC: Web apps for students

August 25, 2008

Summer is, unfortunately, almost over and that means that students are starting to head back to school in the coming weeks. There are so many online tools that can help students today to stay more organized and productive that I thought I would outline a few here and hopefully ease the pain of the upcoming school year.

Remember The Milk

Remember The Milk is the best online to-do list out there right now. It plugs into a slew of other services, including their killer Gmail add-on, Netvibes, iGoogle, Jott, offline support with Google Gears, and a promised iPhone standalone app. Given its wide array of features, it should instantly help any student to prioritize their tasks and become more efficient.

Google Docs/Calendar/Gmail/Scholar

I decided to lump all of Google’s services that are good for students together. I think that they provide a tremendous amount of value to users and can be put to great use in an academic setting. Google Docs provides a web interface for a suite of tools to make, view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. As I’ve said before, the features of Google Docs might not be on par with its Office counterparts, but it really shines when it comes to sharing and collaboration. This makes it perfect for working on group projects or spreading notes around.

Google Calendar can help keep a student’s hectic schedule in line. Managing time is one of the hardest parts of being a student and Google Calendar can help . Did I mention that Remember The Milk integrates with it also?

Gmail includes a lot of great features to keep your incoming stream of email organized and prioritized. Gmail’s labels help to keep your email organized and bring attention to those requiring your attention. It’s helpful, even if you don’t receive a large volume of email.

Google Scholar provides an excellent resource for students, looking for sources for research papers. While most schools already provide resources for students in this department, Google Scholar’s excellent search provides a good point of discovery.


 Evernote is a great new web service to handle all of your notes, photos, and clippings from around the web. It has clients for Mac, PC, and various mobile phones, including the iPhone. Robert Scoble did a nice interview and demo with the company’s CEO if you want to get a thorough overview. While it might be hard, at first, to integrate Evernote into your workflow, your productivity and organization will see the benefits.


 This one is a little bit of an old school pick, but it’s an indispensable resource for every student. Easybib lets you pick from a variety of types of sources, then you just fill in all of the information that you can, and Easybib will automatically generate a MLA or APA formatted works cited page.


Apart from being the premiere social network for students, Facebook also offers some applications, such as Courses 2.0 and Study Groups that have academic value. These applications leverage Facebook’s social networking features in order to connect students for the purpose of studying or collaborating on coursework. Facebook is also a necessity for any college student, if for no other purpose than meeting new people and staying in the loop on parties around campus.


Socialbib is a really interesting service, where students offer up old textbooks that they no longer have a need for and trade them for ones that they do need. This could potentially cut down on otherwise absurdly expensive textbooks for students.

Those are my recommendations for making school life a little easier. Services like these are easing the load put on students and making everything slightly more enjoyable. For the students out there, what web apps do you find yourself using?


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