In Victoria, Australia school has finished for Term 1 and it is currently Good Friday, so I don’t really have anywhere to go. Plus it’s quite cold. So I thought I do some writing for my blog and maybe a couple of videos later. So without further ado, here is the article:
So you now have a laptop, netbook, etc. with Windows that you plan to use for school. Of course you need to install your stuff that makes that new PC yours. So I presume you already have your favourite web browser installed, desktop background and all your social stuff (Spotify, Skype, etc.). You probably have programs that you need for a specific course, if you don’t know you can probably install it after you know what to install. What I’m going to show you is the tools needed for a lot of classes. Some of these are free, some are not. But they will help you at school, on almost any subject.
Although I write Office Applications I am just referring to the suite of programs that help you at school.
Word Processing - This one is a no brainer, if you want to type out your reports, essays, etc. This software is absolutely necessary. There are a couple of free alternatives and they do work for most things and you can also save money. Google Docs has a word processor which looks like a nicer Office 2003, there are a couple of things you can’t really do but it is more than sufficient for most things. AbiWord is there if you want a free word processor that is light but is also offline, same layout as Word 2003. If you want something that is full featured then you need to get LibreOffice, although it is a bit slow it works really well and is the most recommended if you want something that is full featured.
Slides Presentation- This selection of software is a bit limited but they work, I do recommend the Google Docs slide presentation software because it’s nice and simple, the LibreOffice version is a bit odd to use but it works. There is also an interesting web service that does away with slides but is still used for presentation, it’s called Prezi. I haven’t used it though.
Microsoft Office - It was obvious I was leaving the elephant in the room so you know that there are other alternatives other than Microsoft Office. This is without doubt the one office suite to get, no other suite compares at all. There are many useful applications and it’s likely that the teachers will be using this rather than the other ones. In my experience it’s better to get the offline version for Students, it’s a bit cheaper than the others.
Evernote - One of the two heavyweights in this area, it is a completely free service that has a quite a few unique features for you to use. Along with the standar notetaking stuff such as notebooks, tagging, searching it has a unique feature. Say you want to search a picture that has text, Evernote can do that with it’s OCR feature. Their mobile apps are simply the best in my opinion for a multi platform area. The desktop version is OK though.
OneNote - Part of Microsoft Office this costs a bit of money but I think it is worth it. The thing that sets it apart from the competition is that it’s from Microsoft. As such it has that awesome text editing and was truly designed for the desktop. It’s organisational structure is better for school because you can divide it to more than just notebooks and tags. Their mobile apps are a bit lacking and isn’t as good as the other programs.
Online Cloud Storage
This place is a very competitive area and I will only list a few because there are so many to list, The main criteria to be classified in this area is that you have to be able to access it on many computers and phones, all of these devices are synced to the cloud. I will show you three.
Dropbox - The original and is a really nice service. Although the other services may have some better features and more storage space (you get 2gb) this is worth mentioning because it works really well. You can also extend your space more than the other services by doing activities and referring people to their service.
Google Drive - This service is by Google itself, it integrates 5gb of free storage and it’s simple but great online office suite. The interface is very Google like and your files can be converted from Office to their office suite. It’s also cheaper to upgrade your storage than Dropbox. This is a great service, you may have to be careful because Google may data mine your stuff, after all it is an advertising company and search engine
Microsoft SkyDrive - The current service I am using. It gives you 7gb of free space but if you were a member before you could have stayed on their 25gb plan (which I am). Also it is cheaper than all 3 services mentioned to upgrade your storage. It’s also got a lite version of their office suite, which is a huge bonus. I also use it because I can sync my OneNote notebooks their. Their interface is very Metro-y.
If you are taking maths then this is an absolute must, while the engine is free some features you may have to pay for. This does everything your CAS calculator can do and it also gives you the step by step instructions to solve a problem, though you have to upgrade to premium if you want to learn more than 3 solutions per day. Still, it is very handy.
This is one of the best ways to learn maths and other subjects online. The guy who makes the videos is a great teacher and If you want to revise on subjects this is it. First you watch the video lesson,he has hundreds on maths, science, economics, etc. Then after that video there maybe an exercise for you to complete. I use this when I need to revise on something or I just want to learn.
Adobe Creative Suite
If you are doing anything creative than this is the software suite to get. Although it is a little pricey your school will probably have licenses for you to use. Some applications such as Photoshop will help you if you are doing art, After Effects and Premiere Pro for media, Lightroom for photography, etc.
I hope this list helped you, even if it was a little bit. These programs are the necessary programs for me, if you have any essential programs write a comment on what you like. Sorry for not having any images, I don’t feel like taking screenshots, cropping, uploading. I just felt like writing so I can do something productive.