11 top back-to-school apps for students, educators and lifelong learners

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Fall is in the air, and with it, school bells ring.

Many students and teachers — across ages and grades — are embracing more digital resources and tools to help them research, learn, lecture and study.

Instead of sharpening your №2 pencil, take note of these apps, which can help you complete tasks from calculating equations to keeping up with current events:

1. RealCalc Scientific Calculator

Forgot your calculator — or can’t handle the cost? RealCalc works like a hand-held scientific calculator, with unit conversions for temperature, distance, time, power, area, volume, mass speed, pressure, force, energy, and data sizes. It also has trigonometric functions and traditional algebraic operation (or RPN styles with the plus version).

RealCalc Plus also includes fraction calculations, decimal conversions, percentages, customizable constants and unit conversions, a 12-digit display and more.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free for basic version; $3.49 for plus version

2. EdX

Increase your knowledge with free online courses from Harvard University, The Smithsonian, MIT, Microsoft, UC Berkley and more.

Users can choose course material from subjects including biology, computer science, robotics, business management, innovation, English and others, and follow along with videos. You can also test your knowledge with quizzes and exams, receive tutorials and view course handouts.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free

3. FollowMyCal

Don’t miss out on campus events and study sessions with FollowMyCal. The social calendar app syncs with Google Calendar, Outlook and Facebook events, and offers users options to follow and create public calendars and private calendars.

Each event or calendar can be shared through social media, email and SMS, so you can get the word out about your club’s next fundraiser — as well as more easily organize your next group presentation or faculty meeting.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free

4. EasyBib

Enter a publication’s title or a URL into EasyBib, and it’ll generate citations in APA, Chicago and MLA styles. You can also scan a book’s barcode in the app to generate a citation, and you can also export all of your citations to an email.

EasyBib also has research guides that outline how to format in each style, so you can use the resource to help you with term papers and academic journal submissions — while also learning the proper style format.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free

5. Babylon

If you need help with your language course or are traveling abroad, Babylon can help you understand what you’re reading. You can even translate without internet access.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free to download; $6.49-$35 for dictionaries or premium version

6. Google Keep

Google Keep enables users to easily make lists and notes, which are then synced between devices. You can also add pictures and URLs to your notes, which makes it an attractive alternative to Evernote.

Available on Android and Google Chrome
Cost: Free

7. Mendeley

Mendeley is a PDF reader that also enables users to annotate and search across your articles. The app syncs with your mobile notes, so you can seamlessly use it on your mobile device(s) as well as your desktop.

The app also offers a bevy of other resources: Researchers can also collaborate with other academic pros, educators can distribute reading lists, students can apply for open science and tech positions and librarians can get publication engagement statistics.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free for basic version; Varied pricing for premium plans

8. StudyBlue

StudyBlue is “the largest crowdsourced study library,” and boasts 400 million study guides, notes and flashcards. You can use the app to create digital study materials or study using other users’ notes and flashcards.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free for basic version; $7 per month (or $84 per year) for StudyBlue Pro

9. Adobe Spark

Looking to make a splash with your next presentation? Whether you’re a student, teacher or faculty member, Adobe Spark can help you make captivating images and videos.

If you run your university’s social media profiles, you can also use the program and app to boost online engagement.

Available on iOS; Coming soon to Android
Cost: Free

10. TweetCaster

Dive into Twitter to interact with other students or educators, including searching for trends and joining Twitter chats to increase your knowledge and enhance your network.

TweetCaster helps you manage your Twitter account (or several accounts) and offers the ability to filter your timeline, mute people, schedule, add links to Pocket, Instapaper or Readability and more.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free for basic version; $4.99 for Pro version

11. Flipboard

Think of Flipboard as a mixture between a more visual version of Feedly and your own personal digital magazine service. The app will take your interests and passions — from cooking and snowboarding to math and history — and compile it in visually stunning magazines full of articles and videos for you to consume.

You can also access the social platform via desktop, and you can create your own magazines on any subject under the sun. Flipboard even created a blog post about how educators can use the tool, including as a syllabus, for class projects, to collaborate and more.

Available on iOS and Android
Cost: Free
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