I'm a high school senior who's been remote learning since last March. Here are 8 apps, including Reddit and Discord, that make it so much easier.

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  • Remote learning during the pandemic presents many challenges, especially if students are juggling other responsibilities.
  • To aid in virtual learning, there are apps and digital tools that can help students feel more focused and organized.
  • Below are 8 apps and websites, from Google Drive to Reddit, that can make learning remotely simpler for a high schooler.

When I was sent home from school in March at the onset of the pandemic, I didn’t realize I’d be learning remotely for almost a year. As a low-income student living in a two-bedroom apartment, I encountered unexpected challenges in virtual learning and feared I wouldn’t keep up academically.

Knowing I had to adapt to a new learning model, I quickly scoured the web for the best resources to succeed in remote learning. I already used many of the apps, including Reddit and Discord, but found unexpected new ways to use them. Some even helped me connect with other students to help each other study or offer advice on college applications.

I learned I don’t need to compromise my sleep or mental health to succeed in an online curriculum. By taking my education into my own hands and making a few adjustments to how I learn, I put my mother’s words into action: to salir adelante, or get ahead. As I finish my last semester of high school, these eight apps have made distance learning easier during a time of dramatic upheaval. 

Here are 8 apps I’ve used to maximize my productivity and boost my academic performance:

Google Drive

Get it on iOS and Android

The Google Drive app is a lifesaver for all students, organizing all of your files and providing easy access to your Google Documents, Slides, Sheets, and more. As an editor for my school’s newspaper, I use Google Drive to store all my files, notes, and homework. The cross-platform and multi-user compatibilities make Google Drive my most useful digital tool, accessible on my laptop, phone, and tablet. 

Discord with Fiveable, an AP exam prep platform

Get it on iOS and Android

Discord offers a plethora of e-learning communities. I’ve enjoyed being a part of Fiveable, an ed-tech platform and online community of students and teachers dedicated to conquering Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which, if passed with a 3 or higher, grant high college credit at many institutions. Last year, I earned almost all 5s (the highest score) on my AP exams with the help of Fiveable’s Discord community. I was able to access study guides, practice quizzes, and specialized livestreams that strengthened my AP skills and boosted my test confidence. 

Quizlet

Get it on iOS and Android

Quizlet is the only reason I’m passing my AP Government class. The iOS app organizes all my flashcards and allows me to save study sets for offline use. It also offers quiz and flashcard- matching features, which makes studying interactive — and even enjoyable. And, because the app is user-built, I’ve used other students’ study materials for personal reference: It’s the students who make Quizlet an accessible digital lifeline.

Reddit

Get it on iOS and Android

Contrary to popular opinion, Reddit is a superb resource to succeed in remote learning. I’ve joined the app’s popular r/ApplyingToCollege and r/APStudents subreddits, which provide a reservoir of free study material and a hub for like-minded students. These communities have strengthened my knowledge of the college application process and taught me how to troubleshoot glitches on the College Board’s e-learning website, AP Classroom. The prolific memes also present a nice study break on stressful nights. 

Otter

Get it on iOS and Android 

If you’re a high school journalist like me, Otter is a must-have. The app provides 600 minutes of free recording and audio transcription in addition to three free audio imports from other apps or files. Though I always need to edit the automatic AI transcriptions for clarity, the app greatly eases my workload and keeps my Zoom interviews organized. 

Reverso Context

Get it on iOS and Android 

As a French learner, I’ve quickly discovered my online language classes are much less immersive than in-person courses. Even though my French teacher advises students to avoid overusing dictionaries, I’ve found Reverso Context useful for showing cultural nuances I’ve only learned in the classroom, as the app translates words from real phrases published on the internet, showing different usages of a term in its appropriate context. The app also works offline and, aside from occasional ads, is a wonderful addition to any remote language course.

CamScanner

Get it on iOS and Android

To avoid teachers having to click through multiple files to grade homework, CamScanner combines everything (including photos) into a single, editable PDF to submit in one go. You can also export and convert PDFs into Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint for convenience. 

Kindle

Get it on iOS and Android 

The Kindle app offers cross-platform access to my books and gives me recommendations for other books I might like. Though most high schools, including mine, already provide physical textbooks, Kindle lets me bookmark items, highlight text, search online for selected text, and even share books via Amazon’s family-sharing feature. I’ve loved every page I’ve flipped through on the Kindle app — a reminder that remote learning doesn’t need to be as difficult if only we take advantage of the resources waiting for us. 

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