Today, a student’s life revolves around technology. The education sector has become wise to this fact in recent years, and has begun to cash in on the vast student population keen to integrate their studies and their technology, and sink their teeth into a comprehensive suite of applications for making this a reality.

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Google Scholar

The innovative Google Scholar tool provides millions of students across the globe with quick and easy access to the resources they need for referencing papers and essays, or just simply some interesting reading. Google Scholar can be found at http://scholar.google.co.uk/ and, like the majority of Google’s services, Google Scholar is free to use. Beginning with the beta version in 2004, Google Scholar now boasts the index to most of the English and American peer review journals available today, as well as a number of non-peer reviewed books and publications.

This powerful tool enables any student to quickly find the information they need to complete effective study into a particular area, without having to trawl through dozens of journal sites looking for the article required. This feature couples Google’s mighty search engine with the power of peer reviewed research to give a tool which will become invaluable to any student once they stumble upon it for the first time.

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iTunes U

iTunes U was first proposed on 30th May 2007, and has grown to become major hit in the academic world. The highly secure software Apple provides enables institutions to request authentication from students before gaining access to the resources they provide, but also gives the opportunity to publish material to a wider community, to enable sharing of educational material with the world. In terms of content, the possibilities really are limitless. Videos of lectures or labs can be submitted with the click of a button, and the accompanying PDF documents deposited for access by students.

All you need to access iTunes U is the iTunes program on your computer. Click on iTunes U, and the program will do the rest for you, turning your computer into the gateway for the rich pool of learning material made available by institutions from across the world.

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Moodle

To many students, lecturers can seem distant, and the lecture content boring and even irrelevant. Moodle is a fantastic resource for provision of an interface between students and lecturers, allowing a wealth of lecture material to be available to every student on the move as well as giving students a rare opportunity to interact directly with the experts who deliver their course material. Logging in with a unique user name and password allows complete security, and individual profiles can even be generated to display each student’s current modules, open threads, and email address. Moodle provides a concise way of uniting a year group beyond that of sharing a lecture theatre. The interactive forum allows students to pose questions or topics for discussion, and allows other students to contribute their thoughts, as well as lecturers to weigh in at the appropriate times.

Itself a virtual learning environment, Moodle allows lecturers to upload lecture slides, and even link to videos and sites where further content can be found. Not only this, but Moodle can be employed to host quizzes and class tests to test students’ knowledge, and can even be used for submission of essays and assignments when configured correctly. Moodle has revolutionised the way students learn by providing a wealth of raw material to fuel this learning, and accommodating an interface between students and lecturers scarcely present in the past. Moodle has been servicing students and lecturers for free for over ten years, with the first version released on 20th August 2002. www.moodle.org has all you need to get you started with this innovative system.

Recent developments in technological learning solutions have been vital in boosting student interest and participation, as well as student-lecturer interaction. This allows students to get a much richer experience our of university or college life, and affords lecturers a much more hands-on method of monitoring students’ progress and keeping on top of their queries. The technological advances in this area will no doubt prove revolutionary in the world of academia.

This piece is contributed by Sarah Davis on the behalf of Essay Hunters.