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Logging back on: Nine digital tools for students of all ages going back to school

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Aug. 28, 2023 By Amanda Salazar

While the end of summer may be sad for some, it also marks the beginning of back-to-school season for Queens’ more than 260,000 public school students and students at the 14 colleges across the borough. This school season, students can make their transition back into the classroom a little easier with the help of educational and organizational apps.

Here are nine digital tools for students of all ages this school year.


If there’s one app you take away from this article, it’s Evernote. Evernote is an organizational app that acts as a centralized location for all of your notes, calendars, schedules and lists. The app allows for the embedding of photos, emojis, PDFs, audio and links right into note documents. You can also insert charts and checklists inside note documents — which means you can keep your notes and a to-do list of assignments all in one doc. On top of that, you can drop your deadlines and your class, work and extracurricular schedules into the calendar function.

No, not the marine mammal. Otter is an audio recording and transcription app that offers live transcription services as audio is being recorded. You can also import audio files to be transcribed. This can be helpful for note taking during class lectures or to have a record of group project discussions. It can also be used to record and transcribe interviews for social science, communications and journalism assignments.


A classic student app, EasyBib is a website that can formulate bibliographies and in text citations for you. Whether you need MLA, APA or something else, EasyBib has templates for multiple reference styles. If the source is a web link, EasyBib will even fill the template in for you automatically and notify you if any components of the citation are missing. You can create individual works cited or create bibliography documents to group related citations together. Never again will you have to Google the format of an APA citation or an MLA annotation.

Rate My Teachers/Professors

Ever wish your teachers came with a rating? Well, now they do. Rate My Teachers and Rate My Professors are websites that allow you to publicly rate and review high school teachers and college professors, respectively. All reviews are anonymous, so users can feel free to be honest about their experiences, and come with a rating out of five stars. Each reviewer is also asked to provide which specific class they had with the teacher, whether it was remote or in-person, if a textbook was required and what grade they received, in addition to the open-ended response. All of the reviews are averaged into an overall rating out of five stars to help you make an informed choice between teachers.

myHomework Student Planner

Planner books can be instrumental in having an organized day, but they can be bulky and if you forget to bring it with you, you’re stuck without your calendar. MyHomework Student Planner is a virtual planner app, where you can upload your schedule. The free version allows you to track projects and assignments, set deadline reminders and sync between devices — something your paper planner could never do. For $4.99 a month, the app allows you to embed documents and import homework without ads.


News-O-Matic is a daily online newspaper for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Subscriptions are available through the app. Five articles are published every weekday, each in three reading levels to accommodate different ages and translated into Spanish, French, Chinese and Arabic. Committed to improving childhood literacy and interest in news, News-O-Matic stories are all accompanied by bright graphics, numerous images, subtitled videos, comprehension questions and an interactive map that shows where in the world the story takes place. The news site covers current news in age-appropriate terms, in addition to publishing history- and place-based stories, recipes and crafting articles.


Index cards too old fashioned for you? Brainscape is a flashcard app that allows you to make digital flashcards and sync them between devices. You can also view flashcard sets created by other people. The app will quiz you so you learn the material. After each question, the app asks you how confident you are on knowing that question and will repeat questions you don’t feel as confident in. At the end, it gives you a mastery score so you know how close you are to full memorization.



Mathway is a website and app that helps you solve math problems. The program will help you get to the answer and give you a step-by-step explanation of how to solve the problem, plus it has just a generic calculator. In addition to just basic math, the software can help you with algebra, pre-algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus, statistics, finite math, linear algebra, graphing and even physics and chemistry. With its range of capabilities, Mathway is useful for math students of all ages.

World History Trivia Quiz

With a simple layout and user-friendly design, World History Trivia Quiz is an app that quizzes you on history, general knowledge, trivia and fun facts. Despite the name, the app also includes American history, not just global history. Apple App Store reviews say the quiz is challenging, but fun and hard to put down once you start. You can use it to prepare for history exams or just to see how much you know. Fun fact: cards are interspersed throughout the quiz questions and once you finish all of the app’s questions, you earn a digital Certificate of Completion.

Editor’s Note: Amanda Salazar, who wrote this article for BORO magazine, writes crafting articles and recipes for the children’s newspaper mentioned in this story, News-O-Matic.

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