Welcome to the Student Innovator Blog

Welcome to the Student Innovator Blog

About Me

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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.

Friday, 22 May 2015

My final thoughts - Mustafa Mahmoud

My Final Thoughts

Since I bought my first smartphone back in 2011, I have downloaded a new app almost everyday. Most of them i'd delete within the hour, but some stuck around. Every once in a while, i'd find a gem amongst the sand, a gem such as 'My Study Life' or 'Wolfram Alpha'. There are apps out there that I believe everyone should have, or atleast try out. The Student Innovators provided me with a platform to do so. When I first heard about the Innovators, I lept at the opportunuity; I wasn't dissapointed. The Student Innovators provided me a dual service: I could share with people the apps I believed to be worth sharing, and in turn, I discovered many other apps that i'd never heard of, recommended by my fellow Innovators. This is what being a part of the student innovators has done for me. It allowed me to take a hobby of mine and share the experience with others. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Student Innovator, and will continue to keep my eye on the blog for any new apps that could help me, in the future.

Mustafa Mahmoud

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Final Thoughts by Louis

I became a student innovator because I love using my phone a lot and I can search for apps that is useful for my classmates. Some of the apps really help a lot, for example MyScript Calculator which is very easy to use but extremely useful. You just have to 'write' a equation on the screen, and the calculator will show you the answer right away. I am still using Biscuit, which is a dictionary. What I like is that you can use its little quiz function and check if you still remember the meaning of the words that you have been checking.

The skills that I have gained this year as an innovator are useful for my future. For example I learned how to do some researching about apps and try them out. I will continue to use some of the apps that I have been looking through this year to help myself with future studies.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Final Thoughts by Connie

I became a student innovator because I think technology can be a great support in the learning environment, and by doing this I can help find the best app's for the job. I enjoyed reviewing the new apps that I can now use for my studies as well as friends using them too.

It was interesting to find out about learning and teaching, especially the Learning Walk Training where I get the chance to go on a learning walk and see the difference in student participation depending on how the teacher engages them. I also got to feed back to the head of Sixth Form as well as going around tutor groups so that our ideas and and reviews could be heard.

Doing something like this can really help improve your personal statement and possibly get you better offerers from your chosen universities. Also it shows prospective employers that you are not afraid to take up something new and helps you develop skills for the workplace. Overall I would say this is a very worth while project to undertake and hope it continues in the following years.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Final Thoughts by Liam

I become a student innovator to test out apps, recommend apps I use frequently and help others find the right app to help them. I have enjoyed this experience especially testing out some of the new apps.  I also enjoyed meeting up my Head of School, Owen, who liked the apps I had been testing and encouraged me to continue on. Finally I went to the Student Innovator party and got to meet the rest of the team. I will continue to recommend apps I use e.g Send Anywhere.

I wish to continue my work with the awesome Student Innovator team for September!

Learn English Grammar by Liam

Name of App:  Learn English Grammar

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool?
It does provide practice quizzes and tests to check your knowledge, however these come from a free sample pack. These questions are a mix of multiple choice, drag and drop and fill in the gaps. All questions show the answers to check if I have got them right or wrong.  But one problem is that I can skip questions, but they don't provide me with explanations if I am unsure. 

What was bad about this tool?
I would like this app to have more explanations regarding English terms e.g. difference between 'past perfect' and 'past simple'. This app does not provide a section to see terms and definitions , it only tests you on them. 

The app only provides a sample of questions from different topics. It also keeps asking me if I would like to buy the whole question pack. I find this very annoying. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Farewell and final thoughts by Hayley

Hi i'm Hayley ,

I have been a student innovator for the past academic year and it has really helped me to broaden my knowledge on how both apps and technology can benefit my studies. 

I found an interest in becoming a student innovator as it helped me gain confidence through meeting with other students from college and also taking on board their opinions as well as my own. I took part in learning walk which meant that I observed a lesson taking on board what technology was used and what other things could be put into place to benefit the students. 

I will most definitely take on my experiences as a student innovator into my future studies and if i potentially go to uni then i will make sure i use the apps in which i have looked into this year. 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Quiz Maker by Liam

Name of App:
  Quiz Maker

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool?
Whats good about quiz maker is that you can create your own quizzes easily and for free! When you are creating them you can add photos and voice messages. I can create quizzes on the go and test myself on my topics. The app is bright and colourful which makes it fun do my quizzes. 

What was bad about this tool?
This app is only available on Apple and you need to save and quit when editing quizzes you have already saved.

There is a full upgrade for this app, which allows you to unlock the cloud functions and more.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Gojimo by Connie

Name of App:  Gojimo

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPod

What was good about this tool?
I really like this app, its main purpose is revision. It has many subjects and levels to choose from as well as specific exam boards so that you're not revising the stuff that you don't need to! You can select your subjects so you don't need to go through the initial process every time and it keeps track of your progress. The quizzes can be done of a specific unit or a random selection of your course topics. You can choose the amount of questions in each quiz from 5 to 25. After each quiz it gives you your percentage of correct answers and you can see your results for each unit. Therefore helping you spot your weaknesses and improve upon them. When redoing a quiz, your results get added to your previous one which gives you an average overall for that subject and also an accurate interpretation of what level you're working at. 

In settings you have the option of being shown the correct answer after every question, none of the questions, or just the ones you get wrong. Also there is the option to do it under timed conditions, which will be useful closer to the exams. Its also useful as you can dip in and out with this app, and revise even when you only have a few minutes and of course having it on a mobile device makes it easier to take with you than all of your course notes!

What was bad about this tool?
Unfortunately there is a down side with the Psychology subject on this app as where the lecturers have discretion over which studies to use, this can mean that not every single one can be covered in the app. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

GCSE Algebra by Louis

Name of App:  GCSE Algebra

Cost: Free (partly)

Device/s used: SAMSUNG (ANDROID) 

What was good about this tool? 
I have been using this app during one of  my Maths lesson and it was really great.It solves equations and algebra quickly and accurately . Also, it includes a mock test which you can test your understanding in different topics.

I would recommend this app to those who are doing algebra because it really helps a lot on that and it is quite cheap to get the full version which is only £2.


What was bad about this tool? 

Unfortunately,the app is more likely to be a demo version as most of its functions can only be used in the full version.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Handle by Liam

Name of App:  Handle

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool?
This app helps to organise your schedule using features like to do lists, emails (send and receive) and calendars. You can add 'to dos' straight from the email feature, if you swipe to the left you have the option to read later, delete or archive, or if you swipe right create a 'to do', remind me or add to calendar. The 'to do' feature you can add a reminder and due date. You can also assign the 'to do' to a project, this is great for assignments or exams. 

The app uses its own calendar, you can use this to put in your class timetable and assignment due dates. 

All these feature sync together really well. I have found it really easy to move around the app to access these different features.

What was bad about this tool?
I have found nothing bad, I thing this app is a great for keeping my college work organised!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

MyHomework by Rory

Name of App:  MyHomework 

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone/iPad/iPod/Macbook (Online)

What was good about this tool?
This app was a tool to enable you to know what homework you have and the dates it has to be completed by. But it is even better as you could sign into the app and then connect with other students in your class and your teacher, so if you were to miss a lesson your teacher would be able to upload any work you had missed and any sources or textbook links you needed to complete your work. This would be extremely useful for holiday work or days missed due to illness and you could just nip on your phone to see what you'd missed rather than having to email your teacher back and fourth to see what you need to do.

What was bad about this tool?
There aren't really many bad aspects to this app as it is an established app with regular updates meaning that the app is constantly getting better rather than staying stagnant. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Pocket review – by Mustafa Mahmoud

Pocket review

By Mustafa Mahmoud

Pocket is a good productivity app that allows you to save webpages, similar to bookmarking, however these are webpages that you can access offline. There are two modes to view the webpages, article view, and web view. Web view displays the page in the same way that a webpage would, with all the pictures and layout being the same. Article view breaks it down to its simplest form, with the text becoming the main focus of the page. There is a good amount of customisation available, including editing text size and colour. You can also request the app to read the page out to you.

This app works best for those studying from websites or blogs for example, with the app both caching and simplifying the page, making the information accessible and easy on the eyes. The app is free, with a premium option available (although the free version works just fine) and is available on android, iOS, Kobo and your web browser.

you can access the website by clicking here

you can download the app from here:

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

ExamTime The App, Review - By Mustafa Mahmoud

ExamTime The App - now called Go Conqr

A step in the right direction

By Mustafa Mahmoud

A few months ago, I came across a website called ExamTime. I gave it a generally positive review, with my main issue being the lack of a dedicated app. The creators of ExamTime have now brought out said dedicated app. The question is, “how well does the app work with its given functions?”

The app itself appears to be well polished and is nicely designed, with everything being clear and clean. All four forms of revision are ported over nicely, with no layout issues when trying to view them. For those who haven’t read my previous review, the four different forms of revision available are:
  • Mind Map
  • Quiz
  • Flashcards
  •  Notes
Signing into the app, I was able to retrieve my old notes, bearing no compatibility errors, which is nice to see. The app is a nice addition to the platform, allowing for an easier viewing of the notes on the go. The only issue now is the fact that you can’t create or edit any notes on the app. While this is understandable as it would be quite hard to do, it detracts from the overall experience. This means that if you simply want to add a few sentences or some extra questions, you’ll have to go find a computer. In a day and age where mobile phones have such dominance, this is slightly disappointing. However the existence of an app shows their dedication to the platform, hopefully meaning we may see the ability come to fruition in an update. The only other issue is the abundance of loading screens, with no clever tricks attempting to mask them, although that’s mainly me nit-picking (it shouldn't be an issue to most people).

Overall the app works well, it offers a good way to revise on the go, and best of all, it looks nice. It may be missing some features, but it’s a step in the right direction.

To read my original review, which goes into more details about the functions, click here.

ExamTime is available for android and iOS and can be downloaded from here:

To view the website, click here

By Mustafa Mahmoud

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Poetry App by Connie

Name of App:  The Poetry App

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPod

What was good about this tool?
This app has a collection of poems, some of which may be useful for AS Literature. It covers Goblin Market and Sister Maude by Christina Rossetti also The Patriot, My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover By Robert Browning. Its useful to always have them to hand for revision for example Goblin Market is so long it takes 20 minutes to read making it more portable. Also by having it on an Apple device it is very easy to get word definitions. Part of the app is actors giving narrations of the poems, this would be very good as you can get a greater understanding of the poems meaning. However I have tried to download and play this feature yet it still does not work.

What was bad about this tool?
The ability to download more poets and their poems would be useful as at the moment you are very restricted to the ones that are already pre-programmed.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Google Keep Review - By Mustafa Mahmoud

Google keep review

The best note taking app?

By: Mustafa Mahmoud

There are hundreds of note taking apps out there. Many in fact have already been reviewed by my fellow innovators. However in amongst the abundance of apps, there lies Google Keep. So what exactly does it do differently that makes it my, and hopefully your, favourite note taking app?

Keep (or Google Keep) is a Google product, and is therefore weaved quite well into the android ecosystem. There is no iOS app unfortunately, but this means that Google was able to focus on android specific features, such as creating widgets, working with android wear, and syncing with Google Now. It has 4 core features however: taking notes, making lists, voice notes, and picture notes. With all of those, you can set a reminder if you wish, to ensure you don’t forget it.

To use keep, you must have a Google account, and although some may not like that, it allows Keep to sync across multiple devices. This means that if you write a shopping list on your tablet, you can go to Asda and tick off the items from your phone. There’s a Chrome app as well as a website, meaning that you’ll be able to reach for your notes on most devices. The app itself has a simple layout (single or multi-column), with each note being able to be customised in terms of colour. The notes themselves can be rearranged, allowing you to put your more important notes near the top. Notes can also be archived, for those notes that you no longer need. The simple UI makes it easy to use, and nice on the eyes.

There may be many alternate apps that do way more than Keep (such as Evernote), but for what it does do, Keep is the best. So if you’re looking for a simple, reliable and good looking notes app, Google Keep is the app for you.

You can check out the website here, and you can download it from here:

By Mustafa Mahmoud

Grammarly by Hayley

Name of App: Grammarly
Cost: Free
Device/s used: PC 
What was good about this tool?
This web page is a very simple grammar checking tool. The main selling point of this web page is that you're able to copy and paste paragraphs of text into this tool and it will check all grammar in those paragraphs for you within seconds and change the mistakes that you make. I found Grammarly very effective when writing my assignments as before submitting them for deadline I could check my paragraphs through Grammarly to remove any mistakes that I had made. Grammarly is also very easy to use.
What was bad about this tool?
You can only access Grammarly on a computer with internet access therefore, if your computer doesn't have internet connection you're unable to use this tool.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Send Anywhere by Liam

Name of App:  Send Anywhere

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone/ Android/ Macbook

What was good about this tool?
You can send any file from any device to any other device. You can send a photo, video, text or a file through this app. The way that it works is that when you want to send something you go on the app or the website, then you select what you want to send. This then gives you a unique code that lasts for 10 mins. After you have typed it on the other device it automatically sends it.

I found this much quicker than email and can easily share and access files, images etc on all my devices.

What was bad about this tool?

I don't think there are any faults with this app, I think it is great! I would recommend everyone to download!

Dragon Dictation by Liam

Name of App:  Dragon Dictation

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool?
You can speak in to this app and it will convert it into text. It has a great setting which can 'detect end-of-speech', this detects when I finish talking and then processes my speech into text. It also links with my contacts and recognise names. If they input the wrong word I can go back and change it using their suggestions or keyboard. 

I can send the text through SMS, email or copy to clipboard, in addition I can share via Facebook or Twitter.

It helps people who struggle with spellings and can help with writing assignments.

What was bad about this tool?

Some words with similar pronunciations the app may not convert the word you have asked for e.g. 'same' and 'sane'.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Free Graphing Calculator by Louis

Name of App:  Free Graphing Calculator

Cost: Free

Device/s used: SAMSUNG (Android)

What was good about this tool?
I like this app as it has lots of different equations and graph types I can use. In addition, it has a scientific calculator and normal calculator functions. The app also has a unit converter which can be used for subjects such as Physics, as it converts acceleration, angle, energy, force, mass and more! It also has a triangle solver where you can work out angles and length. It forms the triangle to the measurements given on my homework  questions. 

I also like the inbuilt maths dictionary which can explain the definitions on a wide variety of mathematical terms. 

What was bad about this tool?
 No tutorial on how to use the app, therefore you need to know which type of graph you require. If it had a tutorial it would be a great app but without it can be a little confusing.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Letterspace by Connie

Name of App:  Letterspace

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPod

What was good about this tool?
This is a simple note taking tool/app. Its main selling point is that you can use hashtags to group different notes together and search your notes using these hashtags. There are many different fonts to choose from and it is easy to change the size too. This is better for note taking in comparison to Inkflow which was better for diagrams and labels. I think this app is best for taking down quick notes and maybe idea developments as the hashtags can link them together. Letterspace can be downloaded to all Apple products with up to date software and so it can be synced across devices.

What was bad about this tool?
You do not get seperate 'Notebooks' and so all notes go into one list. This can be difficult if you want to use this app for multiple subjects. Also the font only comes in black unless you want to pay £1.49 per colour!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Qrafter Pro by Liam

Name of App:  Qrafter Pro

Cost: £1.49

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool?

I use this app to create QR codes for images, URLS, emails and to text, I do this all on my phone. I can also scan already made QR codes from this app. Once created I can send my QR code to my camera roll, send by email or share on Facebook or Twitter. I can also change the colour of the QR, which can help to make each one unique. I can keep the QR code secure by creating a password encryption. I can also scan already made QR codes straight from my camera and can adjust accordingly by setting it to single scan or batch scan. 

I have found it useful using QR codes to direct people to websites or text. It also keeps a history of the past QR codes I have scanned.

The app also has an inbuilt help feature and can let you know which type of QR codes your phone can scan.

What was bad about this tool?

I have not found anything bad about this app yet, I think it is great!

Natural Reader by Liam

Name of App:  Natural Reader

Cost: Free

Device/s used: iPhone

What was good about this tool?

Natural Reader is a useful app for those who struggle to read from the internet. I have use it to to copy text from the internet and emails, I then paste this into the app and it reads it out to me. I can also type straight into the app. I can choose the voice or download more, also I can change the speed of the voice to make it faster or slower. 

This app helps me when reading articles online from my phone, I can click 'listen now' it convert it to a readable format and I can pick the paragraph I would like it to read. 

What was bad about this tool?

The only thing bad about this app is that you can only edit the text once when I input my own material.