It’s September, it’s time to head back to University after a great three month summer. This year you’re prepared: you’re armed with a laptop or tablet running Windows 8.
You've been using it for fun and games over summer, but now it's time to get serious – you’ve got something in your hands designed for connectivity, that will make learning that much more interesting.
It’s that time. Fresher’s excitement is over and lectures are beginning. Here are six ways in which Windows 8 can help you.
1. Organising your study time
The best students are often the most organised ones. They will spend enough time studying, while leaving time free for society events, sports club training and big nights out. That's why on the most basic level, the default Windows 8 calendar app on your start screen is key. You can keep track of what you're doing using month, week or two-day views, notifying yourself about appointments when necessary.
If you want an organiser app specifically aimed at students, a good choice is My Study Life. This stores lectures and tasks (such as assignments details and revision) in the cloud. Because the data is synced, you can access this information using Windows phone or a web application. Having the potential to access your information on any device or platform is important, there will always be times you won't have your gadgets with you.
2. Recording your notes and keeping track
So you’ve got your timetable sorted and know where you need to be during the days, weeks and months ahead. It’s now time to get down to lectures and seminars, and you need to start noting down information as you go. If you're a digital native, you might prefer typing notes to writing them. There's a free Windows 8 app for that: OneNote.
OneNote isn't just a glorified word processor – there are numerous features to assist you in creating and organising notes.
· It lets you draw in your notes with a device pen or finger using a compatible device
· It works in the cloud, meaning you shouldn’t be losing information
· It lets you organise the notes the way you want, crucial during exam time
· It works with Windows 8 search, so you can find that vital note quickly
3. Reading and research
The problem with physical books is that you have to carry them. Academic books can often be clunky and heavy–particularly when you have several to carry. And how frustrating is it when you need a certain book for an essay which isn't available, as it’s already been checked out by one of the 400 students in your department?
Many forward-thinking educational institutions are offering e-books for purchase or loan. To read them, there are already several book readers available for Windows 8 such as Kindle, Nook and Kobo. Because these books are held in the cloud, you have the option of reading them on different devices. And with eBook Treasures, you can see original books from authors like William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.
If you're looking for information on the web, you can browse using Internet Explorer 10 which is optimised for touch-screen tablets. If you'd rather look up information through an app, Windows 8 also offers Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica to look for knowledge.
4. Writing your essays
We’ve all heard the traditional incomplete assignment excuses – the student portal crashed, computer corrupted, notes left in your best mates halls, etc. . . . With Office 365, losing your work shouldn’t be an issue due to it working in the cloud.
· Office 365 is cloud-based, so all your documents are held there. If the worst happens to your computer, you’ll still be able to access your files from elsewhere.
· Students can subscribe to Office 365 for four years at a special rate of £1.25 per month, allowing you to install Office 365 on two PCs or Macs, as well as two mobile devices.
· If you happen to be using a PC without a copy of Office 365 installed, such as a library, you can still use Office through Office on Demand, a streamed version of Office 365.
5. Communication with your loved ones
Email is vital for communication while at University, and the Windows 8 email app is available for use straight from the start screen. Here you can add different email accounts, such as Outlook.com, Gmail and Yahoo, which means it's the only email client you'll ever need to use.
If you're living away from home, Skype is a great way to communicate with friends and family, using real-time messaging, phone or video call. Windows 8.1 will have Skype tightly integrated – so you won't have to download the app because it'll be part of the Start Screen Line-Up.
The majority of University students use social media for communication. Windows 8 has a Twitter app which offers the same Home, Connect, Discover and Me tabs you'll find on a browser, but which also makes use of Windows 8 features such as Snap view, photos and Live Tiles and notifications.
6. Leisure Time
Once your day of study is out the way, it’s time for the second University past time - to have some fun! Windows 8 is great for that – cook up a great meal for your flatmates using the Great British Chefs app, or host a great pre-drinks with Cocktail Flow map. You can also keep the parents back home happy by keeping a close eye on finances – use financial apps such as the NatWest app to keep track of your money.
Enjoy semester 1!