Ever since elementary, when we had computer labs and wheeled projectors, technology has expanded our learning into interactive and animated experiences. Our generation grew up in this digital atmosphere and we thrive in our online spaces. Schools became more enthusiastic about utilizing technology for our learning and I appreciated the chance to trial as many apps as I wanted. Today, while attending college, I apply many websites and apps, daily, to work towards my study routine.
How has technology impacted me? If I were to list all of them, we would be here a long time. However, the most important way technology has changed me is through productivity. I would not be nearly as ambitious now, if I did not gain inspiration and valuable resources from the web then. Due to the internet’s vast network of information, I learned about subjects that were not provided by my school like photography, integrative medicine, and the German language. My choice in careers would also have been based solely on what community members told me. Technology influences my choices through showing me what is possible.
There are many apps I tested in high school and the best ones percolated into my daily routine today. I was an avid user of google and all of their apps like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive. Since being at college, I use Microsoft Office apps like Outlook and OneDrive. These are easily accessible on my computer and boosts my productivity. I also use my IPad as a tool for learning and reading. To highlight my favorites, apps like Quizlet, Evernote, and Overdrive have exponentially helped me study and organize.
Quizlet is a large platform for anyone who wants to master a collection of terms. As a user, one can create their own set or study off of a set that has already been made. To fully grasp a Quizlet set, one can learn, flash through cards, write and spell, be tested, or play Match or Gravity.
After years of using this app and web page, I have found small features of Quizlet that allow me to maximize the technology. When creating a set, one can change the settings so definitions of an unlearned term will be recommended from past users. In my experience, adding photos that correspond with the definition will contribute to faster memorization. I also group sets together into a folder so when the final exam approaches, I can study all the terms together.
I utilized Quizlet almost every day when I was studying for Anatomy and Physiology. After assembling all the terms, I may spend an hour making the set. Then, I will study it for five to six hours periodically, until the test the following week. Other subjects like General Psychology, Introduction to Nutrition, and German, for me, were best retained with Quizlet.
Making physical flashcards can work for some students, however, that is not the best way I learn. When I used to make flashcards for vocabulary or geography, it took me hours just to write them out and I disliked throwing them away after a few uses. If there were a hundred or more terms to memorize, I had no feasible way to study them with typical flashcards. With Quizlet, there is no need for tedious scribing or wasting paper.
Evernote is one of those applications that you know wants to see their users succeed. The dates on my notes within the app can be traced back to 2014 with my inventory of National Geographic magazines. Each note, up to a hundred, can be found easily because they are organized into notebooks, which are categorized into stacks. Evernote still transforms my schooling to this day, five years later.
As a student in high school, Evernote assisted me with recording all my speeches, U.S. history notes, and senior capstone research. With the multiple transitions, from middle school to high school to college, I appreciate that my data on Evernote can always be found when I log in. Under the notebook titled Helen’s Exchange Emails, I have stored the important conversations between my German exchange partner and I in 2016. Within the Artist Statement notebook, I can see all my reports from drawing class as well as have them handy when I use those pieces. Organization, reliability, and ease are what make Evernote an essential tool for my education.
When the formidable Senior Capstone became a large part of my last high school year, I stored almost everything into a notebook. If I took a note about what to gift for Christmas, I could quickly do that. From my smallest tasks to long projects, Evernote shows that simplistically is best. On average, I will study from it for two and a half hours bi-weekly. After five years with the application, I do not have an estimate for my duration on Evernote.
The alternative to Evernote is to record everything on notebooks, something I already do, though not on such a large scale. I prefer to not have a plethora of notebooks on the bookshelf for two reasons. The first, physical notebooks take up a lot of space and I cannot travel with them easily. The second is about modifications. A notebook cannot be mixed around and rearranged. If I wanted to change the layout of a notebook, I may need to buy a binder, which would cause more materials wasted.
Evernote gives me many more gadgets to utilize then traditional paper and pencil. I can copy and paste directly if I wanted to save an article or study a set of words. On the IPad, I can draw or upload photos onto a note. The best feature of Evernote is the present option. I can keep notes on it from class and then present it to others during study groups. This application has changed the way I study and my readiness to achieve during exams.
My life was never the same after I discovered audiobooks. What is more amazing than to learn at same time one is walking or running? They are perfect for lengthy car rides or a day spent cleaning. At my local library, I was ecstatic when discovering their selection of audiobooks on CDs, however, everything transformed when I found out how to have them on my device. All I had to do was download Overdrive from the App Store. Overdrive is an online program and app that offers ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schools.
Making Books Comprehensible
During summers and breaks from school, I used to constantly have earbuds in, listening to books. For the most part, I did not use their ebook option for it was tough to read electronically. My audiobook selections could range from classics like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre to nonfiction like Ghost Map and Outliers. One summer, I finished all the Harry Potter books by either reading them or listening to them. Overdrive helped me to explore genres that I could not comprehend through reading like scientifically based books. It solidified my passion for learning and with this app, I could learn anything.
Using Overdrive for School
While school is in session, I take every opportunity I can to listen, as well as read, my required texts. Audiobooks help me to fully understand the context of each book better than if I just read them. If I never stumbled upon Overdrive, I would be forced to read every book that I was interest in, and so, I probably would not have. Overdrive gave me access the millions of books that I could enjoy as if someone was teaching me. Success is in the balance of both reading, listening, and watching. I utilize all three methods to comprehend subjects in school and of my own interests.
Overdrive is the perfect resource for getting ahead and fully learning from a text. On average, I spend three to seven hours a week listening to Overdrive. Each book can be up to nine hours, however, I have found a feature on the app that changes everything. I can quicken the pace of the reading, leading to less time spent, or I can slow the reader down, for better understanding.
What I would Change
Each of these three apps have been exceptional resources for my learning and study habits, though, they are paired with other apps because they miss certain features. Quizlet, Evernote, and Overdrive are hard to critique, nevertheless, here are my suggestions for their improvement.
Quizlet has been around since 2005. When I first logged on during my Sophomore year, I marveled at the varieties of activities provided in one program. Yes, I still use flashcards and testing, though it would be nice to see an upgrade of their games. Match and Gravity are not practical when the definitions or terms are quite lengthy. If I were the content creators of Quizlet, I would add or replace those games with a new way to learn.
Evernote supplies simplicity. Whenever I used the program, I did not change any formats because I was unaware of them. After contemplating a way of improving Evernote, I thought it would be helpful to have a calendar note format or one for lists like Google Keep. When I looked at the settings for notes, I found they do have templates. These templates range from goal keeping to budget planning. Since they already provide my one suggestion, I cannot find more to critique Evernote on.
Overdrive makes reading and learning all that more enjoyable. They are a library of knowledge and that is it. They may receive more users if there was a social aspect to their application. An idea would be to have forums so users can share their recommendations and form a profile of the books they want to display. This is just a proposition, for Overdrive may prefer to leave the social aspect to programs like Goodreads.
When taking a moment to look at each application, I found more and more features that I love. It was difficult to suggest anything at all for they were so planned out. These apps know who their audiences are and they work well at supplying their users with everything they need.
To the Creators
The applications, Quizlet, Evernote, and Overdrive, are not only highly commendable programs, but they strive to make student’s lives easier. Through reviewing how each one has helped me, I can see they do not ask for anything in return. I have used them extensively and not once did I pay for their services. Some of them have premium subscriptions, but it is not required of everyone.
The technology available to us today is more of an innovation than a time-waster to me. Some people, by their own choice, resent the internet and what it offers. They dislike it for how powerful it can be and they fear the amount of time spent behind a screen. I see how their apprehensions can be valid. Though, with applications like Quizlet, Evernote, and Overdrive, both productivity and knowledge increases. Creators of these apps want students to learn efficiently so they have more time for friends and helping others. Because of these creators, students all around the globe get to access information, study techniques, and organization tools right at their fingertips. I owe a lot to their work and I thank them all for helping me achieve my best.
To the Teachers
“Technology alone isn’t going to improve student achievement. The best combination is great teachers working with technology to engage students in the pursuit of the learning they need,” This quote from Arne Duncan says it all. I praise each of these apps in being greatly advantageous, however, any accomplishment in school is an effect of all of my teachers’ unwavering work. A few teachers even introduced me to these resources online. They were the catalysts of all the opportunities that came my way. I am grateful for their time and energy put forth for their students’ educations.
The impact and influence of technology on not just my studying, but my life, is so profound. After reviewing each of these apps, I learned more about how I learn, and the techniques that work best for my success in school. The thoughtfulness and expertise of each program goes without saying. They all excel in the field they are in. Now that I have found them, I will continue to use them during my time at college and even after. Thank you for reviewing my application.
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I am pursuing a degree in Dietetics/Nutrition at Viterbo University. As a dietitian/nutritionist, my dream is to guide individuals to respect themselves through teaching them healthful habits. My philosophy is to focus on the client as a whole person, not just their symptoms or ailment. Each person I counsel will come from different stages of life and backgrounds. The community around them, their mindset, and daily habits are important, therefore, crucial to finding the root cause of their situation. I will utilize nutrition and lifestyle changes to bring better physical, mental, and environmental health to the client. It is my goal to one day prevent diseases on individual and community levels. Being in college gives me experiences that are vital to my credibility as a nutrition/health consultant and monumental to my personal growth.
Viterbo University is known as a great school with an exceptional dietetics/nutrition program. Here, I am learning all I can about research, science, and mostly nutrition. As a student, I am exploring topics of interest such as wellness, disease, and public health. There are a lot of opportunities that were not available in my small hometown and I have taken advantage of them. Experiences like visiting health practices/clinics and meeting a public health professor/researcher, have expanded my interests towards community health. There is so much to experience and I am excited for the knowledge that awaits me in the coming semesters.
With the scholarship money, I will use the entire amount for my tuition costs.