Gearfire is publishing an article about his favorite academic programs for Windows and I’m posting a sister article for Mac users. Personally, I don’t use academic-based software that much. I do have these three applications on my computer and use them sometimes, but so far this semester, I haven’t had too many assignments or a difficult class. I use NeoOffice the most out of any program, for word processing and spreadsheets, but I also use Skim. There are other programs out there, but with my experience, these are great for students. Note taking is usually done in a text editor/word processing program anyway.
Genius is a flashcard-based application to help you memorize things. I use this, especially for political science in memorizing hoards of vocab words. It organizes info using the “Leitner “learning cardfile” system, and it quizzes you using a spaced repetition method.” Based on performance, it repeats certain words.
Schoolhouse is the homework manager for Mac. It sorts and organizes assignments, tests and projects. The smart notebook feature introduced in other Apple software is there, as well as classcasts so you can publish subscribable assignments on the web. My favorite thing about this software is the grade calculations. You can input all of your grades for each class and it keeps track of your average. It’s much better than trying to do it myself. Schoolhouse integrates a calendar/GTD program with keeping track of school work as well, which makes this an excellent tool for students.
Skim is a PDF reader (yes, I know, Preview is wonderful!) that lets you write on them so you don’t have to print out notes to take notes. I use this for my political science class (well, when I actually went to his class, I haven’t in over a month.) The professor gives us a copy of the powerpoint in pdf format and I use Skim to write all over it. It saves me from the cost of ink and paper.