Some of my best ideas for posts come from questions I get, either at the Reference Desk or while out and about. Last week I was at an Orientation event when a parent came up and asked me what apps her daughter needed on her iPad. An excellent question, but very difficult to answer on the fly. After thinking a bit more, these are the types of apps I use on my tablet almost every day. The named apps are iOS, because I have an iPad, but you should be able to find them, or something similar, for Android devices. (And yes, I am a little annoyed that Lifehacker had the same idea yesterday, but they have some excellent suggestions.)
- A .pdf Reader: You will need this to read all of those articles your professor put up on their class site (and by “read,” I mean skim). Make sure you get something that will let you annotate, underline, and highlight. I personally like GoodReader, but I use Bluefire Reader for books. There are dozens out there, so pick one that fits your needs and your budget.
- A Notetaker: Yes, most tablets come with a notetaking app, but they’re not usually very good. My top recommendation is Evernote. It has a lot of word processor-like features (bullet points!). Best of all, it syncs across devices through the cloud. You put it on your tablet, your phone, and your laptop and Voila! Access to all of your notes all of the time.
- A Listmaker: Once again, your tablet probably has one, but may I suggest Wunderlist? It’s made my life much saner.
- A Sketchpad: Sometimes, no matter how much you try to explain something, you still need a picture. Put something on your tablet that will function as a whiteboard no matter where you are. I like Paper by 53, mostly because it makes everything I draw look awesome, but Sketchbook Pro is better for more detailed things.
- A Slideshow: You will have lots and lots of presentations. Lots. Get something to practice them. Hey, with the right dongle, you might even be able to present while holding you tablet in your hand! Now, GoodReader actually works pretty well for flipping between slides (if you save them as .pdfs), but SlideShark will let you do everything you can in Power Point or Keynote (except edit). This is especially handy if you want your tablet to work like a digital picture frame.
Emily Thompson is the host of EdReach’s show LiTTech, a show for the innovative librarian. LiTTech highlights the innovative news, gadgets, and resources for the literary educator. You can follow her on Twitter @librarianofdoom.