Did you get a new smartphone or tablet (i.e., iPad, Kindle, Nexus) over the holidays? If so, you may already be trying out some of the many mobile apps.
Mobile technologies are more popular than ever. The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports "as of September 2012, 45% of all American adults own a smartphone" and "as of August 2012, 25% of American adults own a tablet computer." These numbers likely increased through gift giving in recent months.
I was fortunate enough to receive a new smartphone and while the games and music features are a lot of fun, I'm also busy exploring some of the mobile apps for productivity and professional development. Here are just a few of the items available and ways you might use them to assist with schoolwork, professional development activities, and even a job search:
- Bamboo Paper: This one is becoming one of my favorite tools for note-taking at conferences and meetings. And new features – allowing you to send and share your notes via Evernote (another helpful app), social media and more, as well as take and insert images – only expand the possibilities.
- TweetDeck: Recommended by both TechRepublic and PCMag.com, Tweetdeck allows you to create single screen sign-in and access to multiple social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook. Maintaining your online presence and engaging with others in your professional network via these platforms can be overwhelming, but is made easier by apps like this one, which pull everything together.
- Google Drive: You may already be using Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) to collaborate and share documents and presentations. The mobile options allow you to truly take your work on the road. Consider the potential for creating a career portfolio, and resume or CV, for both sharing and updating anywhere. Take a look at tips for student portfolios recently posted by EdTechTeacher blogger Greg Kulowiec.
- 2Do: Effective time management is a critical professional skill that is also essential to online learning, and there are many apps available to help you organize your work. The 2Do app allows you to create and sort task lists, set reminder alarms, and synch with your other computers.
- Bump: Share your contact information with others by simply touching your mobile device to theirs. Complete your Bump profile as a digital business card and think about how you might use this to share your information at a face-to-face professional networking event or career fair. Recent updates also make file sharing easy.
- Genius Scan: Using your device's camera you can scan, enhance, and create PDF documents that you can also share via other applications, including email and Twitter. Suggested by Edudemic.
- Indeed.com: This is just one of several job database apps that provide an easy way to search posted vacancies, save favorites, and view recent additions. (See also Monster and CareerBuilder.) You might also enjoy some of the other "must-have" apps for a job search suggested by CareerRocketeer.
When selecting new tools, think about how you might use them to streamline your tasks and ease access to the information and resources you need. Is it helpful or will it add to your list of things to do? Is it easy to use or will it take a long time to learn and integrate into your workflow? Focusing on the function will also help you make decisions about future apps, when your favorites evolve or are discontinued, and when new ones are developed for you to try out.
Most of the apps listed above are free and available for multiple mobile platforms (i.e., iOS , Android, Windows) as well as for use on your desktop or laptop computer. Take a closer look to see which ones both meet your needs and are available for your new device.
What are your favorite mobile apps? Tell us what you are using and how it's helping you be more productive.
Image credit: ebayink, Flickr, CC:BY-NC-ND