Top 25 Mobile Apps in Academia

by Staff Writers

Everyone seems to talk endlessly about the role smartphones and other mobile technologies play in today's classroom, especially when it comes to the best apps to get teachers organized and keep students learning. Higher ed has not inoculated itself against the spread, and ranks from the university president down to the lowliest of fresh meat tote around a smartphone or a tablet these days. Some, of course, benefit the faculty more than others, and the following prove pretty popular among professors these days.

  1. Dropbox:

    Thanks to the magic and wonder of cloud computing, professors on the go can access their files from other devices they've connected to their personal networks, meaning they never leave an important digital document at home!

  2. Documents To Go:

    Available for nearly all smartphone and PDA platforms, Documents To Go offers up the full suite of Microsoft Office programs, and saving a file on one device makes changes to all connected ones as well!

  3. Lab Guru:

    iPad-owning science professors sign up for the popular Lab Guru to draw up experiments and tote them into the field or onto the counter for note taking and sharing.

  4. Attendance:

    Educators with iDevices love this app for doing exactly what the name says it does – assist them in keeping track of what students attended what classes when.

  5. Evernote:

    Sort digital files into scrapbooks and make sure all necessary class materials sit in the proper place with one of the mobile world's most lauded organization applications of all time.

  6. The Elements: A Visual Exploration:

    Even non-chemistry buffs absolutely adore The Elements iPad app, which illustrates the periodic table with richly detailed photos and comprehensive information about all the basic components of everyday (and not-so-everyday) matter.

  7. TED:

    Professors love using the intelligent, open source lectures available through TED to supplement their classroom lessons (on myriad topics, to boot) and even learn a few things they themselves didn't know before.

  8. Twitter:

    Whether used for backchanneling or sharing reminders and helpful online materials, Twitter has established itself as an essential tool for the 21st century classroom.

  9. Science 360:

    Android and iDevice owners listen to audio and watch video on all the sciences here, making it an absolutely perfect resource for sharing with students and boosting personal knowledge.

  10. Quick Graph:

    For math professors, Quick Graph provides mobile computing's most detailed visuals when it comes to calculating equations in two and three dimensions.

  11. Keynote:

    Keynote allows users to whip up multimedia presentations for lectures, conferences, and more on their iDevices, because sometimes PowerPoint just won't do at all, dahling.

  12. TeacherKit:

    This app serves as an educator's personal assistant in many ways, keeping track of nearly everything they need to stay on task, record grades and attendance, and plenty more – but only for iDevice owners, unfortunately.

  13. Teacher Aide Pro:

    Android-enabled academics who can't use TeacherKit turn to the award-winning Teacher Aid Pro to accomplish the exact same goals mentioned above.

  14. Google Apps:

    More of a spacious suite of multiple apps rather than just one, these offerings by Internet juggernaut Google enhance any classroom with access to an Android, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Phone, or other mobile gadget.

  15. Blackboard Mobile Learn:

    Because so many colleges and universities provide access to Blackboard – especially for its online classes – it makes perfect sense that allowing easy mobile access appeals to tech-savvy educators.

  16. eClicker Polling System:

    Make great PowerPoint and Keynote presentations even more effective with an app transforming iDevices into centers for making drawings, taking polls, scrolling through slides, and other fabulous features.

  17. Wikipedia:

    Despite its open editing structure, Wikipedia generally hosts the most accurate available information, and plenty of professors head there for research … even if it's a clandestine peek!

  18. CourseSmart:

    CourseSmart provides smartphone and tablet fans a painless way to read thousands of textbooks without potentially breaking their backs and shoulders with heavy bags!

  19. Bento:

    Developed for iDevices, this app streamlines the project-planning and creating process, as well as serving as a pretty nifty little general organizer.

  20. Edmodo:

    If social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter don't provide enough privacy for discussions and sharing classroom materials, Edmodo might fill that gap because it specifically targets teachers hoping to work closely with their students online.

  21. QuickOffice Pro:

    For $14.99, iDevice and Android owners enjoy access to the full Microsoft Office suite, where they can create, edit, and share documents while out and about.

  22. Box:

    Another dazzlingly popular cloud application allowing for file retrieval from any computer hosting it, with ramped-up privacy for anyone concerned about losing important documents to 1337 ]-[4>

  23. iAnnotate:

    Making notes, bookmarking, and highlighting is inevitable in academia – or, at least, in academia where work actually gets done – and this offering renders the process easy when it comes to PDF files.

  24. Mendeley:

    Professors inundated with research (and in possession of an iPhone) download Mendeley to keep their research compiled and organized, as well as network with other professionals and educators.

  25. Popplet:

    Mind map out those presentations and papers with Popplet, a quick and easy tool for visualizing how everything could fit together for the most effective and memorable lectures imaginable.