Jennifer Lockman, a journalism major at UCLA, contacted me about her thoughts on how technology has changed the way she and other professionals write. It’s been a while since I was in college so I am excited to share her ideas with you:
Technology has definitely changed the art of writing and the means we can use to get our points across. Not so long ago everything involved handwriting (and then typing) a draft, spending hours on revision and proofreading, and eventually submitting a finished text to an editor’s red pen. Thus, doing this kind of work well still takes skills, talent, and perseverance. Luckily for us due to the evolution of technology, everyone with an Android device or access to the internet can get the help needed to write and polish a paper. Whether you’re writing a college paper or the next Great American Novel, there are multiple apps available to help you with the entire process.
If you’re a writer, you need a note-taking app you can rely on. Thus, you can spend more time brainstorming and less time waiting for inspiration to come. Plus, you can jot down your thoughts on the go.
Evernote is one of the most downloaded apps on the Android market. Its logo is an elephant not by chance. This animal is known for a good memory. The app is created for the users not to forget anything important. Hence the symbolism. Evernote allows you capturing, organizing, and storing almost any type of digital note with your phone.
FiiNote is one of the hottest note-taking apps right now. It offers Android users a special feature: combined handwriting and keyboard. You can even paint illustrations! Additional features include voice typing, photo and video support, calendar, alarm and a to-do list.
Similar apps: ColorNote, FairNote, Google Keep, Springpad, SE Notepad, Mindjet Maps.
We all got writing assignments in school and college. So, you know the importance of deep and careful research in tailoring an excellent academic paper. It’s no less crucial for nonfiction because the story must be believable. In nonfiction, accurate research can make or break a writer.
The official Wikipedia Android app is designed to help users quickly find and explore information on Wikipedia. You can make a voice-integrated search, create reading lists, see articles related to your GPS location, and more.
Instapaper and Pocket
These apps belong to a “read it later” type. They let you save any stuff you find on the web, from articles to videos, for easy access later. Instapaper and Pocket are similar. So, you’ll have to choose your favorite based on your personal preferences. They both offer a reading mode free of excess ads and images, an offline reading mode, and text-to-speech options.
Other helpful apps: Flipboard, Khan Academy, Curiosity, TED.
3 Create content
Typing on your smartphone is not as convenient as on your laptop. But you can’t take your laptop with you everywhere you go. Do writing a great experience with the right software.
iA Writer has an integrated file browser that helps to simply organize and access all your documents. The black screen keeps your eyes from strain. Syntax highlighting shows you all nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs or conjunctions in the document. There’re also such features as auto-correction, word and character count, a preview mode, fast syncing, etc. This app is used for writing essays, screenplays, novels, white papers, business proposals, and other types of documents.
The app is equipped with a minimalistic dark theme that is easy on your eyes. It’s important as writing takes a lot of time. Monospace Writer is not as feature rich as iA writer, but it has its fans. You can use hashtags to organize related articles. Formatting options include the most essential styles: bold, italics, quote and bullet. You can export your content to a Markdown or Plain text.
JotterPad is a well-designed writing app with valuable features. The distraction-free interface allows a writer to focus on turning thoughts into text. It supports Markdown and has export options to PDF and DOCX. The app includes a built-in dictionary, extended keyboard, phrase finding, word and character count, and more.
Alternative tools for writing: MarkdownX, Writer Plus, Google Docs, Documents to Go, Microsoft Word, Evernote, My Writing Spot
A great vocabulary is an essential tool in a writer’s toolbox. You must empower your writing with the best words and stay with the newest words.
Advanced English Dictionary & Thesaurus
This app has a lexical database with more than 1.4 million words. The dictionary doesn’t follow the standard format. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are gathered into groups of synonyms. The dictionary provides the definition, the examples of usage, synonyms, antonyms, and even hyponyms of the word.
It’s important for a writer to stay in sync with the current language. Update your vocabulary with Urban Dictionary. The app contains words and phrases that are used by young people. You can actually define any word, whether it’s slang or not.
Other helpful apps: Merriam-Webster Dictionary, WordBook, Oxford Dictionary of English.
5 Edit and proofread
Polishing your works has never been easier. Android apps are easy-to-use and save time on editing.
Ginger Page is a powerful productivity-focused app. It automatically detects and corrects all grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. The sentence rephraser will offer you the synonyms to replace boring words. Your writing will sound more exciting.
You may be good at spelling. But there’s always a possibility of typos in your work. Spell Checker will find all spelling mistakes and offer suggestions from inbuilt dictionary, which is formed from Wikipedia’s most widely used words. You can correct your content without an internet access.
Classic Text to Speech Engine
This app converts a document into a naturally audible voice file. Why should you listen to your work? It allows you to spot errors you’ve made in your writing. You’ll notice missing words and misspelled words. You’ll also be able to hear the rhythm of your speech and polish the flow of the work if necessary.
Other editing apps: GrammarPal, eAngel Proofreading, Text Editor.
Whichever apps you choose, you are guaranteed to improve an overall writing experience on your Android device. So, go ahead and test them all to find which work best for you.
Jennifer Lockman is a student at UCLA majoring in Journalism and blogger at EssayPro. Her expertise includes general education, e-learning, business, writing, and lifestyle.
More on writing with technology:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.