These seven mobile applications put words, books, and knowledge at your fingertips.
Thinking of going back to school and want to stay ahead of the game?
Whether you're interested in online or traditional degree programs, your school supply checklist - and grades - might benefit from a few mobile applications. After all, Apple's iPad alone contains roughly 40,000 educational apps.
Want to stay above the learning curve? Consider checking out these seven apps that are head of their class.
App #1 - Dictionary.com
You don't have to be a wordsmith to appreciate the Dictionary.com app. Compatible with the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and more, Dictionary.com is a dictionary and thesaurus that provides access to nearly two million words.
Named a top iPad app for college students by U.S. News and World Report, you don't need an Internet connection once you've downloaded the app. This means that the entire dictionary and thesaurus are available offline.
The Dictionary.com app also says words aloud when you tap the speaker icon - something PCWorld.com describes as "a killer feature."
App #2 - Chegg
Not a fan of long lines at the bookstore? One way to avoid this might be the app that lets you rent textbooks right from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
What's the coolest feature? You can scan a book's bar code with the iPhone's camera, which allows you to compare prices from different stores and sites, or set up a rental of the textbook.
The app is also listed among the "14 Best iPhone Apps for College Students," according to TheDailyBeast.com, a news site dedicated to breaking news and sharp commentary.
App #3 - Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Sleep - or lack thereof - can be a problem when it's time for that early morning class. But with the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app, you could potentially avoid those groggy mornings.
Using an accelerometer that monitors your sleep movement, the Sleep Cycle alarm clock wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase. In theory, this means that you should wake up feeling more rested and relaxed for those early bird classes.
The Sleep Cycle alarm clock is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, and received five stars from 148Apps.com, a website that provides reviews of applications and games.
App #4 - Mental Case
Thanks to smart-phones and state-of-the-art technology, flashcards have gotten a high-tech makeover.
Meet the app called Mental Case.
Like flashcards, this app enables you to create mental notes, but it uses plenty of bells and whistles. The virtual flashcards include text, images, and, yes, audio. They can be presented as slideshows, too, with the capability of sharing your notes with others via your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Mental Case recently landed on the list of "7 Great Apps for the Back to School Grind" by phillyBurbs.com, a suburban Philadelphia news website.
App #5 - EZ Read
Take the fear out of studying Shakespeare with the EZ Read app. It is designed to help demystify literary classics on your iPhone or iPad.
The free app contains access to SparkNotes.com, the popular website with free study guides for literature, poetry, and other academic and cultural subjects. EZ Read enables you to browse plot summaries and character descriptions or take quizzes on everything from George Orwell to geometric proofs.
"While your teachers might not approve of EZ Read, your social life will," notes TheDailyBeast.com.
In other words, EZ Read might temp students to skip reading their books in favor of skimming through the application's pages.
To EZ Read or not to EZ Read, that is the question.
App #6 - Wikipanion
With this app, you can have access to the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Wikipanion allows you to search the site's entries with speed and accuracy.
Wikipanion's features include a browsing history, audio playback of dictionary definitions, and bookmarking individual sections of pages on your iPad.
What's more, TheDailyBeast.com describes Wikipanion as "the number one research stop for every student researching a paper."
App #7 - Wi-Fi Finder
Ever been out and in desperate search for somewhere to use the Internet?
Wi-Fi Finder might be a divining rod for online access. The application tracks down free and paid public Wi-Fi hot spots on your iPhone, iPod touch, Android, and more.
This mobile app can detect some 545,000 hot spots in 144 countries worldwide, according to Apple's online store.
For on-the-go students who might need Internet access for research or homework assignments, the Wi-Fi Finder is the equivalent of a trusty hunting dog with a nose for broadband.
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