Best Study and Productivity Apps for Human Physiology and Anatomy Students

October 28, 2013
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With the increased usage of tablets and emergence of smartphones, there has been a large increase in development of educational applications that can help student productivity. To complete my kinesiology degree, I have extensive courses in human physiology and anatomy. Historically, students were expected to rely on back-breaking textbooks on anatomy and physiology, which are not really the best way to engage with the material as they are text-heavy and 2-dimensional.

With the increased usage of tablets and emergence of smartphones, there has been a large increase in development of educational applications that can help student productivity. To complete my kinesiology degree, I have extensive courses in human physiology and anatomy. Historically, students were expected to rely on back-breaking textbooks on anatomy and physiology, which are not really the best way to engage with the material as they are text-heavy and 2-dimensional.

Many people are visual learners, and find it far easier to study skeletons in lab or the respiratory system in models so we can begin to understand the application of theories and topics to real structures. In surveying my classmates, I’ve discovered that more and more people are eschewing textbooks and are using mobile apps and spending extra time in labs in order work with real skeletal models. Skeletal models have the benefit of being hands-on, while mobile apps can offer animated explanations. These methods are the preferred method by my peers by a wide margin.

Although there are a lot of mobile apps for anatomy, some of them are very expensive (up to 30 or 40 dollars per app), and many students cannot afford to spend this much on apps. The most common apps are actually rated some of the highest. Doing some research I’ve come to the conclusion that Visual Anatomy Lite and Learn Muscles: Anatomy Quiz & Reference are the two most common, affordable, and effective (for their price of course). Many students use these apps mainly due to the fact that Visual Anatomy Lite is free, and Learn Muscles: Anatomy Quiz & Reference is only about $3 on iTunes.

anatomy apps

Visual Anatomy Lite

physiology study app

The quality of these apps far exceed the prices. Not only are you able to access different systems, muscle groups, or bone structures, you could also choose to watch videos or even engage in some quizzes to test your knowledge and understanding. My favorite part of having apps like these is the fact that I am able to quiz myself and begin to familiarize myself with test-like situations, since early comprehensive mid-terms and sporadic quizzes are a key component of our grades.

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Since both anatomy and physiology are two massively complex and very important topics for anyone in the field of health, medicine, or rehabilitation, the amount of time spent studying and reviewing is critical to create understanding. The best part of these apps is that you can access them at any time from any of your devices, and are able to have videos, quizzes, and in depth details within a few minutes instead of spending 30 minutes flipping through chapters and pulling out information. Also, those textbooks are very heavy, so it’s much more convenient to carry your tablet or mobile device around than a hulking textbook, and better for your back. The visual displays are easy to navigate and provide a decent breadth of knowledge(the more expensive apps have more in depth imaging and information systems). Do some exploration and test out a few apps as they are all different, and try and find something that works for you.

Evernote

Evernote

Many students are choosing to record lectures (with the permission of their lecturers) so that they can be assured they have all the details and can focus on the lecture. Evernote is the most popular in my classes because it allows for easy voice recording, that can be synced with other devices such as laptops instantly. You can record the lecture and take notes on it simultaneously. Again, the syncing option allows you to view these notes on any of your devices that has Evernote, which is also very convenient when you need to review on-the-go.

Ultimately, the syncing and voice recording capabilities of this app help make it a popular choice for students. We are always looking for apps that help us make life a bit less chaotic, and this is one of the best when it comes to note taking and recording lectures.

Lastly, when it comes to communicating with peers and forming study groups, social network platforms such as Twitter and Facebook easily are the most common, and therefore the most popular mobile apps. Since they are so widely accepted and used, it makes it very easy to communicate with group members when it comes to collaborating before assignments are due or midterms are around the corner. Facebook is usually easier to use, as you can simply make a group chat.

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Facebook and Twitter have a reputation for being a time sink, and people consider themselves addicted to various social media platforms. However, due to the sheer size of users, you can find all your peers on them making them the best way to connect a group of people for studying or group assignments. Whether it is creating a closed group for discussion, or having a group message, or even using the video chat within the chat application, Facebook has many tools that students use to collaborate. Having a Facebook app on your phone makes it very convenient and easy when you receive alerts for new group messages or posts, as you can participate in new group developments instantly. As a result, Facebook is used for more than just staying connected with friends and family, and is widely accepted by students to be a great tool when discussing and working on group assignments.

Another popular group chat app, called WhatsApp, is also quite useful, especially since it’s cross-platform. Usually Facebook dominates when it comes to group work and communication, but WhatsApp has slowly been making some ground as many may choose not to share information on Facebook or Twitter. Also, since it uses WiFi, those who do not have mobile service can still participate in group chats.

Ultimately, as students, we will not use apps that do not help us be more organized, or provide us with convenience. The most popular apps are those that allow us to connect with peers, or research information in an instant. The emergence of the smart phone has been a very powerful tool in the lives of students as almost anything can now be accessed on a portable device. Next time you see a student tapping away on her smartphone, don’t assume she’s wasting time, she may be taking a quiz, answering a question in her study group, or collaborating on a project.