Summer is coming to an end (sob!), and soon the students among us will head back to campus. What can you do to make this school year easier, happier and more productive? Here are some fun tech tools to make you not just OK with going back to school, but actively excited.


Professionals have LinkedIn, musicians have Soundcloud, and academics now have Scholabrate. Imagine a medieval library, where scholars scurry to and fro, whispering over the sound of quills scratching. Scholabrate offers the same camaraderie for modern scholars. Using ScholaTeam, students and professors on any level can now collaborate privately or publicly with fellow researchers. They can even message each other via an internal chat system.

Scholabrate also allows academics to create their own personal online brand, through a dashboard that highlights their connections, training, endorsements and personal tags. After all, all scholars can upload their papers onto the Internet, but what do they get out of that? Scholabrate gives academics the glory they deserve.


Ahh, the bibliography: that tedious list of works cited, the last act before the curtain finally falls on your exhausting paper. Mine were usually written an hour before the deadline. Unless you have a perverse enjoyment for typing your references with each semicolon perfectly in place, EasyBib does the job for you so you can go back to sleep. Just tell EasyBib what you need to cite – a journal, a book, a film, or a website – and then pick your poison: MLA, APA, Chicago, EasyBib has you covered.


Emaze allows you to amaze with awesome presentations and websites. When you’re giving a presentation, you’re telling a story, and you need a good visual to accompany you as you spin your yarn. Emaze provides you with all the tools you need to create a magnificent presentation: smart templates, automation and easy sharing.

You can also use Emaze to create a website for a class project or a campus organization – a good skill to put on your resume when applying for that internship. Emaze is available on all devices, so that you never need to go offline. With a little tinkering, your Emaze will feel like an actual movie – and nothing is better than watching a movie in class!

Write or Die

For those of us who put the “pro” in procrastination, the usual methods of getting things done are useless. We need a productivity tool that is truly evil. That’s where Write or Die comes in. This isn’t your normal, sissy pomodoro technique timer – with Write or Die, if you don’t write that essay, there are consequences. Set your word count goal and your time limit, and then choose your punishment. Write or Die can give you positive reinforcements whenever you reach a milestone on the way to your goal (kittens purring, Tibetan bowls and other relaxing pictures and sounds), or negative reinforcements if you get distracted (spiders and creepy crawlies appear on your screen). For a little extra motivation/masochism, try Kamikaze Mode: you’ll start losing vowels if you don’t focus on your work!