Technology for dummies, ways to get the best out of your electronics

January 31, 2017

Garry Moyer

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     We have heard the now-old mantra from technology enthusiasts and those craving the new iPad that is seemingly released every year: “Your tablet is great, because it’s like a portable computer.”

     But somehow, it doesn’t seem like it. You get a bigger phone, because, hopefully, you can do more on it, but you still find yourself using the same apps. Many of these apps don’t seem to help with our study habits though.

     Instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook to avoid your daunting deadline, take a look at some ways to get the most out of your electronic devices and smartphones when it comes to studying, homework and group projects.

Organizing photos of a professor’s slides or notes

     During class, the professor will put something important up on the board, and you might take a picture so you can write it down later. But that picture presumably gets lost with your other photos when you need to use it in your presentation that’s due in a day.

     Fear not though; there are ways to separate the important tasks.

     First, isolate anything you do not want to lose. To do this, you can use a variety of apps, but what I find most helpful is to place the pictures in an organized Google Drive folder as a backup. I recommend setting up files for your different assignments and classes.

     This ensures that your work will always be in a place you can access if needed. You can use any file storage such as OneDrive, DropBox or anything offline, but Google Drive may be best, because it is universally accessible.

     You should also put the photos in an app designed to be used infrequently. Google Keep is my go-to, but some alternatives are available and emailing the photos to you is a good option as well.

Flashcards and Google Slides

Let’s say you need to study, but you have not picked up any notecards. Apps like TinyCards and Quizlet are easily accessible and user-friendly when making decks in a fl ash.

     TinyCards uses algorithms that prioritize the terms you have trouble with and emphasize them until you show improvement.

     I’ve used Google Slides on my phone as study cards too. You can put a big title on the card and then the subtext of the answer. But this is only effective as a short term solution as there isn’t as much practice recalling from memory.


     Sometimes you may have a group project, and your group members exchange phone numbers to keep in touch. You might think a group chat is good enough, but eventually it becomes tiresome and confusing trying to keep up with all of your text messages.

     In the past when I’ve used group MMS with a group for school, it is bound to happen that someone has to miss a meeting. If your group doesn’t meet at all, Slack will be great for you.

     Slack takes a little bit of time to learn because you have your profile account, but you also have to sign into the group. If this becomes too much, consider using Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger for easier group communication.

Pomodoro Method of Studying

      If you are studying and feel as though you’ve been focusing on one thing for too long, you may want to look into the Pomodoro Method.

     The Pomodoro Method was developed using an old tomato kitchen timer that you twist to make it ding. The method was named after the Italian word for tomato, “pomodori.”

You study for 25 minutes using a timer, and find a point to pause after it goes off. Then you set a timer for a five-minute break. Do that four times, and on the fourth time you double your break.

     As we get into the swing of stressful classes, keeping up with work can be difficult. For further resources and potential studying methods, students can contact Academic Advising by visiting an advisor in Main Hall 208, or scheduling an appointment by calling 719-255-3260.