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The Best Back-to-School Apps & How University Students Are Using Backchannels to Communicate

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The best back-to-school apps for student success include StoryShots, Essayist, Photomath, Bookly, Peach, and Evernote.  

We highlight some of the best apps to help students succeed in today’s learning environment, including a revolutionary piece of math-solving tech that is changing the way both learners and educators interact with complex equations. We also touch on an intriguing trend of students using unofficial backchannels of communication to get the most out of their learning experience. 

The 6 Best Back-to-School Apps to Help Students Succeed


There are nearly nine million apps available for download worldwide, it really should not come as any surprise that a growing number of them are geared toward the education sector. Moreover, every year we see an uptick in how many quality applications are available to help students succeed.

For example, this back-to-school season features a number of helpful apps that are soon likely to be regularly used tools to assist students. Here are six of the best apps to help any student settle in to a fresh year of learning:

1. StoryShots – A text-summarizing app aimed at breaking down books into bite-size pieces, StoryShots is designed to help students learn about a particular topic or person in a short amount of time.

2.  Essayist – Just as the name indicates, Essayist is a tool designed to support students in essay creation. This app, available for iOS only, can automatically apply popular citation styles and assists with formatting in-text citations, references, page headers, footers, and even title pages. 

3. Photomath – Perhaps the most interesting app on this list, Photomath is an app that scans both basic and advanced math equations and displays a step-by-step solution to help teach students how to solve them.

4. Bookly – A tracking and management app designed to help users keep track of their reading goals by establishing daily reading times, monthly reading times, and even end dates for each book a student might be looking to complete. The app also generates stats on reading time and time spent per page, allowing students to better manage their time and research goals.

5. Peech – Another impressive piece of EdTech, Peech is a text-to-speech reader that turns any text file, PDF, book, or web article into audio form. Not only does this make learning much easier on today’s busy students managing work, family, and their studies, it also helps those dealing with accessibility to learning. Peech could also be useful in supporting learners with dyslexia and vision impairments.

6. Evernote – Regardless of what part of the learning journey a student is on, time management and organization is essential, which is why every student should download the Evernote app to their phones. Evernotne is a note-taking and task management app that helps keep students on top of assignments, dates, and upcoming exams.

As more apps continue to impact education, you can count on our roundup blog to stay on top of all the latest. If you need more EdTech news, be sure to register for our free Edusity monthly newsletter.

How University Students Are Using Unofficial Backchannels to Communicate


Discussion boards and online forums for sharing ideas, submitting assignments, and interacting over course work are major parts of university course offerings.  However, students are increasingly creating unofficial online channels using platforms like Discord, GroupMe, and Slack to open up alternate lines of communication. 

This practice, which has been ongoing for years, intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic when students sought ways to connect outside of official platforms. These private channels serve as spaces for students to ask questions, discuss professors, and sometimes share homework and test answers.

While some professors view these channels as outlets for students to socialize and relieve stress, others worry about academic integrity violations. Some instructors have even started setting up their own Discord servers or joining those created by students.

These unofficial channels provide a forum for students to discuss logistical questions about assignments that they may be uncomfortable asking their professors, and they offer a way for students with social anxiety to interact more comfortably with classmates online.

However, these platforms can also lead to reduced class attendance and disengagement from in-person lectures. Realistically, this is a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it is one that administrators and educators will have to closely monitor – as will we.

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Flip Livingstone

Flip is a senior multimedia content creator and professional writer with a decade of experience in the world of sports media, lifestyle and wellness.
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