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education

For most people, science classes were a memorable part of their education, but the reasons for this differ from person to person. Some individuals found the talk of nuclei and cell structures to be some of the most engaging and relevant information they had ever encountered. Others simply appreciated it as a good background to some of their most engrossing and creative daydreams.

Both camps could, in general, agree on one point, however — science is better seen than read. Obviously, practical considerations prevent the classroom dissection of a whale, or the physical inspection of lava. Modern technology can provide the next best thing, though, in the form of interactive on-screen experiences.

A shining light in this field has been an iPad app, named, quite simply, The Elements, which provides detailed descriptions, interactive 360º imagery and high quality videos of the periodic table’s constituent parts. Now, it has arrived in the OSX App Store, priced at $19.99. Given that a major part of the original iOS app’s appeal was the ability to “touch” elements on a display, can the desktop environment really provide the same, insightful experience?

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After the holiday break, and with students heading into the new semester, many of us are trying to catch up on research for writing projects. Keeping track of sources for accurate citations is an important but time consuming part of research. Consequently, there are quite a few apps available to help organize citation libraries. Literature is a new app that seeks to provide a low cost alternative to other reference managing apps.

Currently, Mac users can choose from four main apps to organize their reference libraries: Endnote ($249.95), Papers ($79), Sente ($129.95), and Bookends ($99). Mendeley is also a viable free alternative with many useful features. At $19.99, Literature cannot compete with the feature sets available at the high end of this app category. Instead, it attempts to create a streamlined alternative that will attract users wary of the high price tags listed above. Let’s see how well it can fill in this segment of the market.

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Outer space is big. From our vantage point, it’s mostly just dots in the sky that we see at night. But there are billions of stars, asteroids, comets, and planets out there. You can see of them when you look up on a clear night, more if you use a telescope, and more still if you use SkySafari, an app that shows 46,000 stars and many of the best-known galaxies and nebulae with images from NASA and other expert star-gazers.

SkySafari isn’t the prettiest app around, but it more than makes up for it with the majesty of the stars and reams of encyclopedic information. It’s deep enough that serious astronomers can use it as a reference tool, and suitable for the rest of us to explore and learn about outer space.

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At school the only subjects to truly capture my attention were the sciences. I was always utterly enamoured with space, the not so final-final frontier. Today, many years later, I realise that space is far from a singular topic, but, rather, a subject in a constant state of flux further sub-divided into many schools of thought far beyond my level of comprehension. Such a vast topic can be understandably daunting—especially for young students—but everybody has to start somewhere; somewhere like the solar system.

Solar Walk utilises a fully-explorable 3D model of the solar system to make the subject interactive and informative helping to encourage seedling scientific minds. By introducing new found lovers of space to the fundamental make-up of our celestial home it can help build a solid platform of knowledge that can be used to undertake a deeper, more complex interest in the cosmos. Join me after the break to find out how Solar Walk stacks up!

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I teach high-school students in a one-room schoolhouse in the state of Vermont. I am not an English teacher, science teacher, home-economics teacher, or history teacher; instead, I am a generalist. I teach my students a little bit of everything, and for the really hard stuff, the students work with outside mentors. But of all the things I don’t teach, the one subject I really don’t teach is math. When it comes to math, my skills and knowledge simply don’t add up.

That’s why I wanted to play a game called DragonBox+. Advertised as a “revolutionary math game” for learning basic algebra, DragonBox (I hoped) would help me brush up my skills while also giving me a tool to use with my students. Of course, with high-school students (especially most of my students), any hint of “math” turns them off. If DragonBox does what it says it can do, then maybe my students can get tricked into learning algebra. That’s something I had to try.

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In the summer of 2009 I began working on my Master’s degree part time. In addition to my degree I also work full time and keep up with other activities (such as writing for this site) all while trying to have some semblance of a life. In December I should complete my Capstone project and graduate.

It’s taken a lot of careful management of time and more importantly energy to keep moving to this point. When I moved to a MacBook as my primary computer last summer, I had to redo my workflow and evaluate the best tools to keep up with my courses. Here I’m going to look at a few of the tools that I’ve used to keep my notes, organize my assignments, complete assignment, and work on my thesis project. (more…)

Medical school students have it tough – lots to study for, tons of rote memorization, and hundreds upon hundreds of pages to read every single week. Luckily, developers have noticed this problem, and there are plenty of apps out there to help make the average medical student’s life easier. These applications range from detailed, intriguing reference applications to applications that help ease the pain of all the studying require to succeed in medical school.

This roundup contains first and foremost a section dedicated to some of the best reference applications available for students of medicine. Applications range from a medical dictionary to ways to study up on muscles, drugs, and much more. I’ve also included some study and organization tools in the roundup. Knowing how expensive medical school, textbooks and even some of the applications are, I’ve tried to include free alternatives whenever possible. Read on to learn about some of the best applications for medical students on the Mac.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on May 24th, 2011.

Macs are becoming much more popular with college students nowadays, owing to Apple’s generous student discount (around 15%) upon purchase. But once you’ve bought your shiny new computer, you’ll be wanting to know which are the best Mac apps aimed at college students and which ones to download or buy.

Up until a few years ago, Mac users had very little choice of software as they were seen mostly as a niche platform and therefore only ran specialist software.

As I was in exactly the same position when I bought my Mac, I’ve now created – for all the students out there – a list of 25 superb applications recommended for you. I’ve tried to keep this list relevant to any major and, in order to save on costs, I have tried to include free software wherever I can.

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In this great age of computers, typing is an absolutely necessary skill. Only being able to peck away at keys greatly inhibits any efficiency you might have, whether you’re typing a document for work, a term paper or even just an email. Luckily, there are a number of apps out there to improve your typing skills, from lessons for beginners or games that work with advanced typers to continue improving your WPM.

These programs encompass a wide range of functions. Some of the programs are very full-featured, including lessons from the very basics, games, tests and drills. Other apps come at a much lower price, and they tend to focus on only one type of exercise, whether it’s lessons or a typing game. Read on to check out some  great Mac apps dedicated to improving your typing skills.

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Beyond the hype and fanfare of last Thursday’s iBooks Author launch, some wannabe authors have been left with a sour taste in the mouth after delving into the terms and conditions of Apple’s new app designed to help newbies create textbooks for the iPad. Anyone who creates a textbook with Apple (and who charges a fee for it) must distribute it solely through Apple and agree to a wide range of extra terms and conditions, including the fact that you are required to enter into a separate agreement with Apple itself before any distribution of your work takes place.
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