“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” - Stephen Hawking
The number of computers per student in schools has increased drastically in the last few decades.
Nearly 90% of UK households now have a computer, which means that children will have access to useful programs and tools that can help them with both their schoolwork and their homework.
Students starting primary school will also be very quickly introduced to computers and how to use them. There are plenty of free programs that they can learn how to use. Secondary school pupils can also study computers either through IT or computer science.
Generally, students will use a computer more often at home than at school. They’ll also be given work and projects that can only be completed by using a computer or the internet. They can use their computer to create documents that can be read on any computer.
The digital age has certainly affected the world of education and there are many programs and tools designed with education in mind. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all these tools are easy to use.
Whether you’re using Windows, macOS, or Linux, here are some of the tools you should be using.
For teachers, their students must submit work that can be easily read with as few spelling errors as possible.
Whether it’s an essay or a presentation, computers allow us to create documents of a very high standard.
Almost every student will need to use an office suite. Microsoft Office is one of the most comment and can create documents in a variety of different formats including PDFs.
The suite is quite easy to use and includes the following programs:
- Microsoft Word: For creating and editing text.
- Microsoft Excel: For spreadsheets, formulae, and calculations.
- Microsoft PowerPoint: For presentations with images, sounds, texts, and video.
- Microsoft Outlook: An email client.
- Microsoft OneNote: For taking notes.
Don’t forget that you can enjoy a free trial before you pay for Microsoft Office.
If you’re looking for a free office suite, you can use LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
Google Docs is another useful suite that you can access online. This suite is good for collaborative projects as you can easily share and edit documents in real-time.
Generally, students will opt for the suite that works best for them. Don’t worry too much about committing to one as it’s very easy to change to another.
You can always start with one of the free ones and move onto Microsoft Office once you have the means.
Encyclopaedias and Dictionaries You Can Take Everywhere
Dictionaries and encyclopaedias can be a student’s best friends. Gone are the days of carrying heavy paper versions around with you as you can now find digital versions on your computer.
You can take an entire library with you.
Here are some of the best digital dictionaries to help you find definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and related terms.
Popular digital dictionaries include:
- Collins Dictionaries
- Google Dictionary
- Oxford Dictionary
- Macmillan Online Dictionary
- Cambridge Online Dictionary
- The Free Dictionary
- Merriam-Webster Online
Some encyclopaedias can be downloaded and you can also use the internet to access a wealth of information.
Foreign Language Dictionaries
In addition to English language dictionaries, you can also find plenty of dictionaries in other languages and bilingual dictionaries with translations from English to a foreign language.
Learning a new language can be tough without having access to dictionaries. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online and it’s very easy to find a definition of a word. Just search the term in your preferred bilingual dictionary. If you don't yet have a favourite, you might check out Reverso.
There are also apps and programs to help teach you foreign languages. Consider checking out Rosetta Stone, Babbel, and Duolingo, for example.
If your spelling isn’t great, a spellchecker is an essential tool. Everyone from primary school pupils to university students can use a spellchecker on their work. Of course, you need to know whether it’s been corrected to the right word.
A lot of office suites come with built-in spellcheckers but there are also other tools you can use. More comprehensive tools can also offer grammar checking.
Desktop-Publishing for Excellent Layouts
To improve the presentation of your work, creative students might enjoy desktop-publishing.
Adding a cover page to an essay or dissertation? Looking to break up the sections of a larger project? Not sure how to spice up your work?
There are some useful tools that you can use to make some beautiful visuals for your work.
This is an open-source desktop publishing solution. It’s very comprehensive and is great for manipulating visuals and text and you can also easily import and export your creations.
For those familiar with the Adobe suite, InDesign is a fantastic tool as it does almost everything and can create magnificent visuals. You can also find templates on the Creative Cloud to work from or just for inspiration.
You can also use the following programs:
- Google Slides
Some students hate maths and hard sciences. With complex and abstract concepts, maths and science can cause a lot of problems for some students.
However, these are subjects that you have to deal with throughout schooling so consider trying some of these software solutions.
This is a dynamic maths program that can be used for algebra, geometry, and statistics. It can make complex maths problems more interactive and engaging.
Used by students and teachers alike, it can be easily downloaded. Teachers love it because they can use it to visualise mathematical concepts.
ChemMaths can be used for scientific calculation functions, unit conversion, and graph generation. There are over 100 equations that this program can solve.
Discover the World with Google Earth
Geography is one of the subjects that you’ll study for most of your schooling. You need to rigorously learn and study some facts and figures.
Textbooks can be quite dry, but with flashy visuals and interactive elements, software and programs can make homework and schoolwork much more entertaining.
Google Earth can show students the planet in 3D. With satellite imagery, aerial photos, and a view from the streets, you can look at almost any part of the planet.
This interactive map and globe can help students discover fascinating parts of the planet.
What’s the landscape like in Mongolia? What do they grow in China?
You can find out in a matter of seconds!
Of course, these aren't the only apps to help you with your homework and in many cases, the best ones will be specific to the subject you're studying, the assignments you have to do, or your level. After all, apps that are suitable for kids in primary school probably won't be great for students in secondary school, college, or university.
Similarly, homework or study apps aren't a magic bullet and should be used alongside other resources like books, websites, games, and multimedia resources like videos, documentaries, and even educational podcasts.
The apps you use should also cover what's being taught in the classroom. An app can quickly become useless if the content doesn't line up with what the kids are being tested on so make sure that the resources you pick are appropriate for the curriculum, too. While there's nothing wrong with outside learning and going beyond what you're taught in class, when it comes to exams or graded assignments, you don't want to be wasting time learning things you don't have to.
Think about why you're using the app and only choose apps that will help you meet your learning goals.
If you or your child needs some extra help with their homework or learning from home, consider getting in touch with one of the many talented and experienced tutors on Superprof. There are thousands of tutors offering tuition in academic subjects, arts and crafts, foreign languages, musical instruments, and even study skills and homework help so you're bound to find one to help you out.
You can get face-to-face tuition, online tuition, or even group tuition. Each type of lesson comes with its pros and cons so think carefully about which will work best for you, your preferred learning style, and your budget.
Fortunately, a lot of tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free so you can try out several different tutors and learning approaches before picking the one that's right for you.