Studying at an American university in Rome gives students the opportunity to earn credits – or their entire degree – in the unique setting of an ancient yet cosmopolitan city. And while John Cabot University students do indeed appreciate the value of historic monuments and works of art, they don’t hesitate to leverage modern technology to optimize their learning experience!
Technology is changing the way we engage with the world around us, communicate with others, and develop new knowledge. It also opens new doors for students who process information in diverse ways. In light of how much technology has come to influence what we learn and how we learn, we’ve put together a list of innovative tools students can use to stay organized, study more efficiently, and explore inspiring new material.
Take Advantage of Free Apps
Many students today own a mobile device of some sort, providing them access to millions of apps that can help boost organization and time management. Even better, students who study in Italy won’t have to choose between buying their morning cappuccino or a three dollar app, because so many of today’s best apps are actually free!
Dropbox is an excellent and simple Cloud storage application that students can use to organize their course work. Users can upload documents, pictures, videos and more to their Dropbox account, and then access these files on another computer simply by logging on to the Dropbox website. If students are working on group assignments or preparing for a test, they can retrieve the information they need anywhere, anytime – from the library, a local café, or their residence.
Any.do is another useful management app that allows users to sync data from their desktop onto their phone, set reminders for tasks, and make comments and notes on uploaded work. Instead of carrying around a schedule or agenda, students can hold important information like course notes and due dates in one convenient place. And as a testament to its reputation, Any.do actually won the award for Android Best App of 2012!
A note-taking technique scholars have sworn by for decades is the Cornell Notes Method. With this technique, a page is divided into two halves: one half lists the main concepts of the lecture and the other half lists questions about these concepts which can be answered through studying.
For students who prefer organizing their notes digitally, the website Evernote takes notes, acts as an agenda and hosts a platform for sharing ideas with other users. This way, students don’t have to search through papers and notebooks, and can easily collaborate on group assignments online.
Create an Academic Computer Desktop
While digital technology can definitely help us learn, it’s no secret that laptops can also be distracting. Netflix, Facebook, YouTube – it can be tempting watch cat videos or message friends online when you really should be studying. To tame procrastination, a Lifehacker.com user created something called the “Minimalist Academic Desktop.” The desktop has no icons, only a small taskbar at the top with everything a student will need to study, such as Google Scholar, a library search bar, and the Office Suite. All this, along with the calming multitoned desktop wallpaper, can help even the most easily distracted student remain in study mode.
Take Advantage of Free Online Lectures
Students who study abroad in Italy love to learn. They are inspired by opportunities to travel, chances to learn on-site, and are always looking for new ways to expand their knowledge. There are several websites that offer free online lectures (and even courses) from Ivy League universities like Yale and MIT. Whether you’re looking for some additional information for an essay, or want something educational to listen to on a Sunday afternoon, websites like Open Culture and Coursera can offer insights into almost any topic you could imagine.
What are some other life hacks that could assist your fellow students?