Back to School – There’s and App for That

Published On September 5, 2017 | By Tom Huskerson | Now You Know

Back to School

Its that time of year, back to school. And going back school means being prepared for the challenges of getting an education. Unfortunately many black students fail not because they are not intelligent or capable but because they are unprepared for the basic challenges of school. Our students do not come to school with the skills to take effective notes or plan their time properly. This alone is enough to kill a college career.

This is compounded by the failure of the public school system to properly prepare African-American students for the academic environment at the collegiate level. While the numbers are poor across all racial groups, black and Latino students are far behind their white counter parts. Nationwide only about a third of high school students are prepared for college level math and reading.

According to a report from National Assessment of Educational Progress  32 percent of white students and 47 percent of Asian students scored at proficient or above in math. Only 7 percent of Africans-American and 12 percent of Latinos students scored as proficient.

The gap was also seen in reading with 46 percent of white students and 49 percent of Asian students scored at or above proficient, while only 17 percent of black students and 25 percent of Latino students seen as proficient. 

The stats indicate that less than half of all students have the necessary skills to succeed in college. So, as you see, all students not just African-Americans, need help. So in the age of technology we turn to apps to make the transition to college a successful one.

Regardless of whether you’re a middle schooler or working on your doctorate you can find an app that will make things a little easier for you. You may need help taking notes or keeping a schedule. There is an app for that.

Google Keep

Taking notes is the first step to study and key to retention of classroom information. Google Keep is a note taking app that helps the student to keep track of information. It is also a key tool if you are part of a study group. Using Google Keep group members can take and modify notes together, in real-time.

Keeping good notes and being part of study group is great. But only of you know how to schedule your time and avoid those parties. Time management is another key to a good education and good grades, oh ,and avoiding those all night cram sessions.

Google Keep is free and available for Apple and Android.

Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft launched the new To-Do app to replace the Wunderlist app. Basically Microsoft bought Wunderlist in 2015 and has decided to upgrade it with new features and a new name. To-Do lets you create simple to-do lists, set reminders, and keep track of projects.

One of the new features of Microsoft To-Do is the “My Day” feature. My Day encourages users to focus on daily tasks by refreshing the list every day. How you may ask? The app connects with the student’s Office 365 and Microsoft Outlook . Microsoft has included an intelligent suggestions feature to recommend tasks for each new day based on upcoming items or old entries. For the sake of fun Microsoft also lets you assign an emoji to easily tell tasks and suggestions apart and will sync across whatever devices you’re using To-Do on.

To-Do is free and available for Apple , Android, and Windows 10.

My Study Life

Students have a tendency to fail to plan. Its called being young. Time management is not a strength of many college students. My Study Life is a reminder and planning tool that can be key to academic planning and success. The designers of this app claim that it was built from the ground up with academia in mind. My Study Life app supports weekly and daily rotation timetables as well as traditional weekly schedules. Students can receive notifications regarding incomplete assignments, upcoming classes and exams using the app. Its all about time management and task reminders that syncs across all devices and works even when the student is off line.

My Study Life is free available for Apple, Android  and Windows platforms.


If you can’t write effectively you won’t make it in college. Yeah, you could pay someone to write your papers for you but what happens when you  get a job? You need to learn to write and write good. That’s where Scrivner comes in for the college student. Scrivner is an extremely popular app used by many writers and scholars. This app requires a little patience to learn all its capabilities but once you get there it is a beauty to work with. It can organize you project and does just about everything else you need to research, write papers, master or doctoral thesis, a novel or what every you instructor requires. But don’t bother buying the app if you don’t have the program on your laptop or desktop computer.  You can buy the program for Apple or Windows laptops and desk computers here.

Scrivner app for mobile costs $20.00 an is available for both Apple and Windows platforms.

Google Slides

Every student will eventually be tasked with creating a PowerPoint slide presentation. And when you get that first job you can bet someone will ask for one.

Regardless of your major you will have to work in a group and you will have to combine multiple PowerPoint slides from other students. And of course not everyone will come through with their slides. Don’t bother arguing with them. Simply tell them to use that smartphone to download this app and get to work no matter where they are. Google Slides allows you to monitor their progress through your own Google Slides app. The app will update the presentation whenever a change is made.

Google Slides is free and  available on Android and Apple.


Students that are looking at studying math or engineering, astrophysics, or accounting or some other number focused field need a good calculator app. WolframAlpha is dedicated to help those students who are and are not hardcore physics geeks. The company likes the name “Computational Knowledge Engine.” If you check out the home page you will see that it claims to be able to handle everything from basic math to socio-economic data to meterological calculations to physics! WOW!

WolframAlpha is $2.99 and available for Windows 10 and Apple

Now you know.



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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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