Welcome to the Student Innovator Blog

Welcome to the Student Innovator Blog

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The Student Innovators is a group of students passionate about using technology to help learning. They will be trying out apps and web tools alongside their studies and give feedback on the Student Innovator blog. They work together as a team to share their experiences so you know before you download which app is best. You are welcome to read their reviews and leave comments.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

TinyScan Review by Jessica

Name of App: TinyScan
Cost: Free
Device/s used: iPhone

Cover art
TinyScan Logo


What was good about this tool?
The application is fairly easy to use; just simply taking a photo ('scan') of notes and it saves as a PDF document. Great to use for college notes and you can easily crop the photo for the notes, so the important information is saved.
After you have taken the photo, you can adjust the contrast of the document, so you can see the text more clearly.


iPhone Screenshot 1
Image of screen shot of TinyScan on a iPhone

What was bad about this tool?
The issues I found with this application is that it has limited space for your notes, which can be an issue but you can get with purchasing the 'TinyScan Pro', an unlimited space for documents and also has other features which the free app doesn't have. Another issue I found with the application is that you need to position the notes/documentation so that you can precisely take a decent 'scan', although sometimes can be difficult to do.
In addition, you cannot print it. You can only do so with the 'TinyScan Pro', but again you can email it, open it in another application (such as iBooks), you can also fax it and save it to your Camera Roll in your phone. Another minor issue could be that it's black and white other than colour, the reason why it can be an issue is because someone might have coloured paper for viewing notes more easy (e.g. blue paper).

Overall Opinion 
Very good application and great use for work documentation or college/university notes. Difficult to position the documentation before 'scanning' it, but can also change contrast to easily view document. Would not recommend to someone who uses coloured paper to write notes on, as it would be in black and white. Other than that, very good and easy to use; would definitely recommend.

References

Image of TinyScan logo found from Google Play
Author: Appxy. Date published on website: 13th October 2014. Date added on this website: 26th November 2014. Website Link: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appxy.tinyscanfree)
Image of screen shot with TinyScan on iPhone found from iTunes
Author: Appxy. Date published on website: 18th September 2014. Date added on this website: 26th November 2014. Website Link: (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tinyscan-pdf-scanner-to-scan/id595563753?mt=8)






Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Evernote by Connie



Name of App: Evernote

Cost: Free

Device/s used: Ipad






What was good about this tool?  
Evernote is a word processing app, similar to Pages on Macs or Microsoft Word. This app, like many, can be used on portable devices and therefore you can carry on at home with work that you started in lessons. Notes/Documents can be stored in different Notesbooks. For example I have ones for my individual subjects. Documents can then be sorted by date created, date updated and the title. When it comes to actually creating the document there are many tools to help you. Inserting a photo is very easy, you can use photographs you already have or take one there and then to use. You can also add audio recordings which may be useful for quick notes and other peoples. Documents can be given a geographical location as well as 'tags'. These tags can be,  for example, similar themes or subject matters. So if you need to just look at theories in Psychology, you can tag them while making the document then search for just them in Tags when needed for revision. Or if you just need to revise the equations that need to be learned for Chemistry and Physics, you can find the right documents under Tags too.



What was bad about this tool?
Be careful to back up documents as in the two years I have been using it, it has once lost my documents but i did get them back as Evernote back them up to their online servers. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Idea Sketch by Ben

Name of App: Idea Sketch

Cost: Free

Device/s used: Hudl (Android), Computer (PC)

What was good about this tool? 
Idea Sketch provides support in creating mind maps, brainstorms etc... This tool is good to use as it not only maintains a clear and easy to read format, it is easily adjustable to suit any of your needs. This product is also free and easy to find on the app store. This app also saves paper, reducing your carbon footprint.

What was bad about this tool? 
Not everyone has a smart phone so this app can only benefit people with such tools. Although it enables you to do you notes quick and easy, I found it hard to save my work and also print it off. You can only use this app with IOS 8 (Apple) downloaded making it harder to use.


Overall I would use this app as it is easy to use/find also clear and for people with bad handwriting, it is a lifesaver.



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Biscuit Review by Louis

Name of App: Biscuit

Cost: Free

Device/s used: SAMSUNG Android

What was good about this tool?
I would say that Biscuit is a great dictionary app to use during your lessons. It includes lots of different languages such as Japanese, French and German, it will also give you the definition and translates into multiple languages. It also includes a labelling function so that you can label words that you use a lot. There is also a tutorial teaching you how to use the labelling function. I found that it is a great personal dictionary. I have recommended this app for my friends to use.

What was bad about this tool?
I found it really great and no bad features.



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Flipboard review - By Mustafa Mahmoud


Flipboard – your news magazine


Many of you would have heard of Flipboard. With over 200,000,000 downloads between Android, IOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone, most people would have at least heard of the app. But what does it do?

Flipboard (true to its name) is a free news magazine. More specifically it allows you to follow both people and categories, that then pulls assorted articles from its barrel of over 34,000 topics. These topics include almost anything, from world news to the latest twitter gossip, ensuring that at any one time you’ll have something to read.

This vast array of articles is probably Flipboard’s strongest suit, this, along with the fact that it is on any format short of a Symbian phone. If you do have a Symbian phone (and believe it or not, some people still do!) Flipboard have you covered with its dedicated website www.flipboard.com. Yes, it’s not merely there to redirect you to its native apps, it also serves as a news reader itself, meaning that if you don’t own a smartphone, or if it’s just on charge, you can hop on to the website and continue your reading.

How will it know what you were reading? Well Flipboard acts almost like a social network, in fact you can merge it with your social networks (a wide variety of them). This social network esque app allows you to like, comment, and save articles. And for those users who post particularly good articles, you can follow them too. If you’ve got the android app, you can place widgets on your home screen, displaying the newest articles.


Accounts you can connect with
Flipboard widgets

                  


The one major drawback is the feature that gave Flipboard its name ie. the flipping. When scrolling through the multitude of articles, or reading the articles themselves, it is all based around the fact that you flip the page horizontally…like a Flipboard. As amusing as this is however, it’s counter intuitive as it slows down your pace of reading, and generally means that you can fit less information on each page. Flipboard has changed the way in which we scroll down things, and frankly, it’s for the worse. The only other issue is that this app sticks closely to its description, meaning that it shows news and nothing but news, so unfortunately this can’t be used for studying, however it can be used to help with your overall knowledge of the subject you're reading about. Flipboard will help make you relevant and seem just that extra bit smarter.
video
                                                          Counter intuitive navigation


TL;DR

The good:

  •         News from over 35,000 articles
  •         You can link it with your social networks
  •         Available on almost any device
  •         You can like, comment, and save articles
  •      Daily notification
  •         Free!


The bad:
  •        Unintuitive article navigation
  •         Gives you news and nothing but news


In conclusion, Flipboard is a great app, worthy of you attention if you’re one of those people that likes to know what’s going on, no matter what it is, and uses this knowledge to aid you in your everyday life. I’m one of those types of people, therefore this app appeals to me.

The app can be accessed from here: www.flipboard.com

Written by Mustafa Mahmoud

RefME by Hayley

Name of App: RefME





Cost: Free

Device/s used: Apple iPhone & iPad

What was good about this tool? 
I found this app very effective as it automatically produces references from books just by scanning the barcode on the back page. I found this app very useful especially when doing assignments for my course as I wouldn't have to search through everything and struggle to produce the reference on my own all  I had to do was scan the barcode and it would produce it for me. 

What was bad about this tool?
I've not yet found anything bad about this app and I would totally recommend it to you all!


Monday, 17 November 2014

Wunderlist by Rory

Name of App: Wunderlist

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool? 
This App was good for organisation. You are able to put all your plans and needs into one App. It then reminds you what you need to do and when by if you set a date it the task to be completed. 
The good thing about this App as well, is that unlike on reminders on an iPhone, once you have completed the task you have set yourself, the reminder will disappear and stay in the records, meaning that you don't get confused about what you need to do, which i do when using reminders. 

What was bad about this tool?
 It is slightly confusing trying to understand how to work the App at first, but after having a fiddle around with it, it is just as easy as an other App. 

This App also allows you to create Emailing lists, meaning that if you are organising anything like a football team, cricket or any other social sports club, this could be a good app for sending mass emails out on and reminding you to so. 


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Review of Skype by Ben

Name Of App: Skype
Cost: Free
Device used: Laptop/ iPhone
What was good about this tool?-
Skype is good for people on low incomes if they have the internet or a phone which supports 3G this can enable them to talk to friends and family.It is video conferencing tool which is beneficial when having online sessions.
What was bad about this tool?
Skype is a good allround program but easily hackable especially when it comes through messaging, it lacks any major form of encryption which ends up making it a target for viruses etc... to download it. A recommendation is to have a good internet connection. 

It conclusion i would recommend this product for general messaging as it is cheaper than standard messaging calls.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Review for Khan Academy by Louis


Name of App: Khan Academy

Cost: Free

Device/s used: SAMSUNG (Android)






What was good about this tool?
It works really fast and it provides informations about lots of different subjects, for example mathematics and science (biology, chemistry and physics), plus more! For maths they have exercises and in-depth articles with cover topics such as algebra, trigonometry, statistics and geometry. I don't have any problems using this app and there are lots of videos related to the subject that you have chosen. I can track my learning and progress as it automatically syncs between the app and online, making it accessible anytime.

This app is great for revision and I can watch the videos offline too.

What was bad about this tool?
Nothing I really like this app!



  

Ginger Page - Review By Jess Morris

Name of App: Ginger Page

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

Image found on Ginger Page


What was good about this tool?

Quick, easy and helpful application for English. Detects any mistakes or errors in grammar and spelling, it can also suggest alternative sentence for you to use. It also has a personal dictionary, so it is easy and simple to use to find words that you often use. It also has a speech recognition, to ensure that sentence makes sense.
I was able to use this app for my English homework and it really helped me, I thought it was a easy application to use and recommend it to my friends and anyone.

Image found on Appadvice.com.
Author: Daniel Celeste. Date published: 27th May, 2014.


What was bad about this tool?

The issues with the application are that you are unable to export the document to Microsoft or as any other file format. The application only exports the text to SMS messaging, email or social media websites. In addition, the application has the issue where the detection may not be correct, and make an error in your grammar.

References:
http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/wp-content/uploads/ginger_page_pr-500x300.jpg http://appadvice.com/review/quickadvice-ginger-page


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Examtime.com review - By Mustafa Mahmoud

Examtime.com – trying to change the way we learn…only slightly



Studying for exams can be quite a difficult and stressful time. With all the different subjects and with limited time, discovering an efficient method of studying is very important. We’ve all tried the many different ways of studying, from flash cards to binge reading, all with varying degrees of success, entirely dependent on each individual’s preferences. Examtime.com tries to take the most popular forms of studying, and bring it into the modern world. “Does it succeed?” Well, let’s see.


The good:

·        Examtime.com, as with many websites nowadays, gives you multiple ways of signing up. You can sign up using your Facebook, google+ or email address, making the sign up process fast and easy.
·        Has a dedicated format for its mobile site, adapting the UI for mobile screens.
·        Allows you to view other peoples “resources*”

*what are essentially the notes


The main focus:

The website allows you to both read and create your own study “resources” in four different formats:
·        Mind map
·        Quiz
·        Flash cards
·        Note

Mind map


The mind map, as you can see, is essentially what it says. It allows you to view the information in an attractive way, possibly allowing you to soak in the information better. However for some it may just be an annoyance, getting in the way of the information.

Quiz


The quiz section is divided into three subsections: multiple choice, check boxes and true or false quizzes. This can be used to test your knowledge AFTER studying, and puts it in a way that is simple, easy to read, and in some cases, a lot more fun than just reading it.

Flashcards


The flashcards work almost exactly in the same way that it works in real life, except being virtual means that you can make it a lot more fun (as is evident in the screenshot). This also allows for it to be more portable as you can carry it with you and view it anywhere…if you’re using the mobile website anyway (we’ll get to that later).

Notes


The final format is in the way of notes. This is very simplistic, being shown like a PowerPoint presentation, with the information right in front of you. No distractions, no time wasters, just the good ol’ information you need to help you pass.


The bad:

As with all good things there must be at least a few quirks     
  • Editing any already available “resources” costs a monthly subscription, starting from £1.95 for the basics, going up to £3.95 per month for the premium plus subscription. Although it’s not a lot, it’s still money   
  • The resources that are available seem to be rather useless as it is hard to find what you are looking for, with the search system bringing up irrelevant results, and the category system being equally as vague.
  • It does not have a native app which causes a lot of loss of functionality when compared to what the mobile site can do.
  • The mobile site itself is hard to operate when trying to create or edit “resources”. The developers seem to have not taken the touchscreen into consideration when converting the site into mobile format (but at least they tried).


Conclusion:

This is just a simple look at the base layer of examtime.com with more features and customisation revealed as you dig deeper into the website. As for the main question as to whether this is a valid replacement for the vintage pen and paper, well that is entirely subjective. I personally (due to being able to memorise easier by reading my own handwriting) prefer the old way of the paper and pen, but check it out and see if you like it nonetheless.

Written by Mustafa Mahmoud

Click here to go to the website