We live in a digital age where information serves as the most powerful commodity around. With smartphones at the fingertips of students, utilising them to enhance our experience when learning has never been more important. I have compiled apps I use on a near-daily basis that add value in many different ways, equipping me to seek more satisfaction out of my studies and become a better dentist. Whilst there is a whole bunch of apps and software suitable for those with tablets/laptops, I have concentrated on the best apps for dental students through the use of their smartphones.
There is no better way to start a list of the top mobile apps for dental students without this must-have. ‘Immersify Dental’ is an application that combines accessible technology with expert content, 3D visuals and interactivity to create a one-of-a-kind resource for the modern dental student. It uniquely uses augmented reality with interactive, intricate, anatomical and realistic models, layered into your own room for learning. It’s packed full of engaging games and dental quizzes designed to reinforce key dental topics like charting through their ‘Chartistry’ practical to tooth morphology with voice-over lessons and comprehensive in-depth dental knowledge.
With limited clinical time lately, supplementing and enhancing my understanding and practice using the Immersify Dental app really does cement key dental concepts, being much more engaging than traditional textbooks. The best part is it’s completely free and supported by a huge host of ambassadors and a dedicated team of content creators growing it at an astronomical rate.
Spotify – Podcasts
Spotify isn’t just the supreme music streaming platform service (sorry Apple Music fans ), but it has an incredibly vast selection of podcasts ready for on the go listening. Podcasts are accessible and a memorable way to learn new information. As dental students, we are already spending huge amounts of time on our computers, reading textbooks or writing notes. Changing up the ways we consume information means we are actively learning content rather than passively.
There are some great podcasts that provide an insight into dentistry as a career – my current favourites are ‘Protrusive Dental’ podcast by Jaz Gulati and ‘Dental Leaders’ podcast by Prav Solanki and Payman Langroudi. When I want to wind down or listen to something to take my mind away from studies, there are podcasts covering absolutely anything and everything you could think of. Spotify has a free service, but a premium one with a few different payment options with student rates.
Out of all of the note-taking apps out there, Notion is my go-to. The platform provides an easy-to-use and friendly interface, but don’t mistake this for meaning that there is a lack of features! Notion is brilliant for timetabling and managing various projects, and I have found a huge benefit to using it outside of my studies as well. I have been making a conscious effort to switch from paper notes to electronic notes, and Notion is super streamlined, especially with the use of a ‘toggle’ feature. It is easy to organise notes and know where to go to find specific content, even if I studied it in previous years. Creating an interactive to-do list has helped me to keep on top of all my priorities, as well as keep balance in my dental student lifestyle. Notion makes organising your classes and lectures an easier process. Notion has a range of different paid options, so definitely check them out if interested.
Forest App (Flora)
We all know phones are addictive, distracting and a great way to derail your study time. That’s why no list of the best apps for dental students can go without one of these. The Forest app is a fun method to help you beat your phone addiction and overcome distraction. An added benefit, it helps to reduce your screen time.
The app rewards you for leaving your phone alone, allowing you to stay focused on more important (and mentally taxing) tasks, for example when studying human diseases. Forest also tracks your focused moments, building up a reservoir of good habits and willpower that you can use to beat procrastination and get through the challenge of studying for dental school successfully. It works by planting a virtual tree that will die if you spend too much time procrastinating.
I’ve used it countless times to help me stay focused on assignments, or even just to force myself off my phone. You can even join a room with others you know to plant trees and keep each other motivated. If you rally up enough hours, you can even cash in your points for a real-life tree planted! While you have to pay £1.99 for Forest, Flora offers a similar service and is free.
If you’re a flashcard type learner, then this is a must-have. I have lost count of the endless number of flashcards I have used over my educational journey, and it can feel like a nightmare to misplace a card or to have to keep them together over your degree. This is where Anki is great – everything I need is on one platform. If you have never used flashcards before, the spaced-repetition technique it offers aids fast and long-lasting memorisation. Anki utilises this technique and helps to break down large modules into digestible material. Whilst it is free for computers/laptops, it does charge for smartphone usage.
With a wide variety of apps out there, you are sure to find something to aid your studies. From experience, I’ve found that I get the best use out of apps that allow me to better my practise of dentistry, as well as strike balance with my student lifestyle. These apps are just to name a few, but I am always up for suggestions! Let me know how you find these.