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MacMost Now 913: Back to School With Your Mac

There are many apps that come with your Mac that you can use in school. The Dictionary app is more than just a way to look up definitions. You can also use it to browse and search the world's largest encyclopedia. The Grapher and Calculator apps come in useful, and the free Google Maps app can help with geography. But perhaps the most useful educational app is iTunes because of access to thousands of free lessons through iTunes U.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's go back to school with your Mac.

A Mac is a great tool for any student in addition to the obvious like surfing the internet, word processing, and using educational apps. But there is a whole bunch of stuff on your Mac that you may not think about could help you if you are an elementary school student, or even a college student.

Let's start by looking at the Dictionary app. In addition to the general dictionary function where you can look up a word you also have the ability to use a thesaurus which is useful for writing. Now the great thing about the dictionary app is not only is it a dictionary and thesaurus but is also is a great browser for wikipedia.

So if you want to find out something about anything you can just search for it here and it will load up the wikipedia page complete with links that you can jump to inside. So it is kind of like a web browser for wikipedia. And wikipedia, while not a perfect encyclopedia, is probably the best thing out there, probably a little more comprehensive than anything that you can buy and it is free and detailed and of course tons of media and cross references. So as a student resource it is fantastic.

Now if you need math help there are a couple apps that are already on your Mac. One is called Grapher and allows you to graph 2D and 3D equations; do all sorts of different things. Lots of functions and the ability to do all sorts of things. Check this out. I talk about it a lot in episode 704.

Also you've got the calculator app. Now big deal, it is a very simple calculator app. But you can actually change it to be a scientific calculator which is much more useful in different situations and in addition to that you can even go to a programmer calculator as well and there are a lot of different things that you can do.

For instance you can do currency conversions. You can convert units. Miles to kilometers for instance or even things like days to seconds. So it is very useful for students as well.

Now perhaps the ultimate educational tool that is built into your Mac is iTunes U which is built into iTunes. So run iTunes and go up to iTunes U and this provides a ton of different courses in all sorts of different formats for you to explore. It is particularly useful if you want help in a specific subject.

For instance if you need help in algebra you find that there is a ton of different things listed. You'll get results for apps for iPhone and iPad of course but then if you scroll down you will also see iTunes U and you can go and see all for that and you can see there are a ton of courses here by a ton of different schools and organizations. You can search for very specific things as well as something general like algebra and then see, in this case these are videos, see video explanation of a particular subject. So if you are having trouble, maybe don't understand your teacher or instructor on a particular subject, whether it is basic elementary school stuff all the way through high school and college chances are you can find one or many more different lectures, video lectures or sometimes audio, and you can try to see if that can help you as well. It is a huge almost infinite resource for students and it is all free and built into iTunes.

Now for geography you can't beat Goggle Earth. It doesn't come with your Mac but it is a simple quick free download. Just search for Goggle Earth. You can then explore the globe and it is very useful for learning geography. For instance if you are learning about a country in Europe you can zoom in here and see all the borders and you can turn on and off various different things of boundaries, places, etc. You can even get information about those places here. Sometimes there is links to wikipedia or galleries of pictures and things like that for places you are looking at. You can customize it. There is a ton of things you can do to customize what you see on the map.

Another thing you might be doing in school is being a member of a chess club or in college just playing chess with friends. You can better your game by using the chess app in your Mac. You can play against the computer. You can set difficulty level. Practice as much as you want and prepare for matches again real people.

So when you are having trouble with a particular subject or just want to go deeper than your classroom materials you can of course search the internet, search wikipedia, you can look in iTunes U, and also don't forget to search the Mac app store to see if there is an app that relates to that subject.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 2 Responses to “MacMost Now 913: Back to School With Your Mac”

    9/5/13 @ 12:59 pm

    Loved this video because I had no clue about the simple functionality my iMac could help me with in business along with school. Thanks Gary!!

    9/12/13 @ 2:31 am

    Thanks Gary for another great informative video ! Just on the topic of dictionary, something your followers may not know is the dictionary functionality built into Safari. Just double click/highlight a word, then right click on the word. A menu should appear on the right click, with the first option being to look up that word, which will the give a definition.
    You may have already covered this function in any Safari videos, but it’s also a helpful one to know for dictionaries.

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