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How I Use My iPad to Keep Up with Online Classes: Apps + Other Resources

The Fall 2020 semester taking place online was not ideal for any of us I am sure. However, as we all do our part by social distancing and, hopefully, wearing a mask, here are some tips, tricks, tech, and resources I have been using to stay on track with my online learning this semester. I hope this helps if you have found yourself struggling! 

Throughout this semester I know I will need to move around a lot, so something crucial I decided to do is go completely virtual, by only using technology to store things this semester. For example, I am no longer using paper notebooks or printing anything out. I know for this semester keeping paper copies of anything will be detrimental to my progress. I will end losing track of everything and that is where things begin to go wrong. So, here is what I am using to keep myself organized and prepared for my classes.

To start, I have my iPad. I recently purchased an iPad with part of my refund from last semester, and it is the best investment I made. This is where my completely digital semester begins. I also found that it can be way cheaper to purchase a few apps once rather than purchase school supplies for every semester. 

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What Apps I Use on my iPad 

GoodNotes: This is my favorite app. It costs $7.99 on the app store but is worth every penny. You can keep as many notebooks as you need and organize them into as many folders as you would like.

While I do not currently have any folders, I will make a one to store all of this semester's documents, and put all my current notebooks in there. The best part about this app is that you can also make a customizable planner because they have so many page templates to choose! Another amazing thing about GoodNotes is that you can download it on your phone and look at any notes you took. This is helpful to me when I want to look at the schedule I made in my planner. You can also insert PDFs right into your notebooks which is something that comes in handy when your teacher gives you one to fill out.


Files: The files app already comes with any Apple products and is a good way to store PDF copies of PowerPoints, readings, or other stuff from lectures. The best part about this app is that you can access all your materials from your phone or computer, as long as they are Apple products. You can also mark up the PDF in the Files app. All the different colored highlighters help me out when I go to take notes. Talking about notes, another reason I love having this app on my iPad is I can split-screen the Files app with my GoodNotes app and take my notes that way. It makes it easier than having to look from screen to screen. Another awesome feature the app included is how you can click and drag things right into GoodNotes! 


Calendar App: This might seem self-explanatory but something that keeps me from forgetting everything is my calendar app. Put whatever events you have in your calendar and set reminders for them! I set a reminder for half an hour and five minutes before an event to make sure I make it to whatever I need to. 

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Other Resources

Book Marking Web Pages to your Home Page: Something I did for D2L is bookmark it to my home page, so it looks like just another app on my phone. This is helpful when trying to go there in a rush. You can do this with any website by going to the share icon in the right-hand corner of the Safari browser, scrolling down, and clicking "Add to the home screen". 


All we need to get through this semester is some organization and hard work, which can look different for everyone. However, I hope what I shared will help you with your journey. 

West Chester University '23 Psychology and Languages and Cultures Double Major Latina Writer from Philly Bookworm, Multimedia Artist, Theatre Enthusiast, Avid TV Show Binge Watcher
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