Top 10 Free Digital Tools for Students
First of all let’s be clear. The programs I am suggesting are free to use, you don’t need a license, and there is no trial period. Of course some offer upgrades for a cost, but that is up to you.
This is my number 1 item that I use constantly. It allows me to have a copy of my files on my hard drive and a duplicate in the cloud. It works seamlessly and much better than other cloud based storage. If you have an android phone, you can even back up your photos and contacts to it. You get around 15 GigaBytes for free. If you install it across all your devices, you can access your stuff anywhere. You can also share files and folders with named people and give them different levels of access. I could not live without this!
For more info, see https://www.google.com/drive/
This got me through University. It is free with a Google account and the files are compatible with most office applications. You can even save in Microsoft Format. You can use the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs. Ideal for students on a budget.
My favourite free Project management Tool. It is not as fully featured as MS Project, but I don’t need it to be. It allows me to visually plan projects with multiple objectives that are displayed visually. The files are also compatible with MS Excel and MS Project. It runs on Java, so can be used on most platforms. It can be run from a flash drive so doesn’t need to be installed on your machine, perfect for using on shared PC’s.
For more information, go to http://www.ganttproject.biz/
This is a fantastic video conferencing, virtual classroom tool. It allows me to have 1-to-1, face to face contact with students on the other side of the world. Although I pay for extra seats, the free version lets you have 3 people in a meeting. What is more, you can record what is shown on the screen, which is great for evidence gathering, if you are doing apprenticeships or other competence based qualifications.
For more information go to https://www.webex.co.uk/
This is a free app that comes with Windows. It is much more precise than using PrtScr function and allows you to copy sections of a screen, such as a window or document. Ideal for snapping evidence from a screen and putting in a document. It also allows you to save the image as a file, so no need to open MS Paint to crop it and save it.
This is ideal for when you want to record discussions directly onto your laptop, using the built in mic and speakers. I use if for recording meetings and sounds for videos. The editing features are over and above what I need, but it is much more useful than the recorder app you get with windows.
For more information go to: http://www.audacityteam.org/
This is a great program, although rather old and doesn’t work with Windows 10 as far as I can tell. However it allows us to simulate circuits and play around digitally with equipment that would be far too expensive to have lying around. We can conduct almost all experiments with it, as we would in a lab
For your free download, go to: http://www.eltronicschool.com/2013/09/free-download-electronic-workbench-512.html
This is a fantastic planning tool. Depends on how your mind works, i suppose, but it allows me to create mind maps digitally, which can be shared. So whether you use it to take notes on a specific subjects or just use it to plan an assignment of essay, it is a great tool. Free for up to 3 maps, just pay if you want more.
For more info go to: https://www.mindmeister.com/
Want to create great info-graphics for an assignment or a killer slide? This app has loads of built in designs that are easy to use and change. We use them to create adverts and other info-graphics in house. For more info go to: https://piktochart.com/
Screencast -o- matic
I don’t use this one as we use Camtasia Studio, which we pay for and has more features. However this is ideal for apprentices or learners on competence based IT courses. You can grab the screen and a web cam image at the same time and it saves as a video, and it is free! Some of our students use it which is how I know about it, everyday is a school day around here. Especially useful if your evidence is screen based and you use lots of different software, maybe on an IT helpdesk for instance.
For more information go to: https://screencast-o-matic.com/home