11 Best Online Study Tools to Start the 2021 School Year Right

middle school girl and man look at laptop

There is a special energy in the air as the first day of school approaches. Whether it’s the traditional first day of school, you’re transferring schools, or your student wants to get a “fresh start” in terms of their study habits, it’s important to make sure they have everything they need to start the school year off right. 

What does a calculus tutoring app, a digital library card, and an online planner have in common? They’re all great digital study tools designed for 21st-century learning. As a K–12 online school with over 20 years of experience ourselves in digitizing the learning experience, we’ve compiled an ultimate list of online study tools that will help your student study better, get organized, learn more, and develop critical skills for the (unknown) jobs of the future

Whether your student is enrolled in a brick-and-mortar school, homeschooled, or new to online school, here are 11 of the best online study tools and resources to help your student get organized and crush the 2021–2022 school year!  

11 Best Online Study Resources for K–12 Students 

1. Hoopla 

Android, iOS, and desktop. Free. 

Recommended for students in elementary (with parental guidance), middle, and high school. 

Does your elementary student have an insatiable reading habit? Or maybe your middle schooler is looking for a documentary on science? Whatever their need, they can access your local library anywhere with Hoopla. By using your local library card, Hoopla lets you digitally borrow eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, and more from your computer, mobile phone, or tablet. It’s like having  a public library at your fingertips. 

2. Pearson Prep 

Android, iOS, and website service. Free.  

Recommended for students in elementary (with parental guidance), middle, and high school. 

Digital flashcards are some of the best study tools, but this is not just your average digital flashcard tool. Pearson (the parent company of Connections Academy) has designed Pearson Prep. It is an intuitive, free website and mobile app that helps you create online flashcards. Its intuitive interface learns to automatically prioritize what you don’t know (yet), customize your study sessions, and lets you decide when you’re ready for exams—helping you study with confidence. 

3. iStudiez 

Android, iOS, and desktop. Free with paid upgrade available. 

Recommended for students in middle and high school. 

One of the highest-rated student planner apps, iStudiez is a great online study tool. It lets you color-code your classes, add fun icons, and toggle views so you can plan your time for the upcoming day or week. It can even calculate your GPA for you with its GPA tracker tool. Just input grade and point value as you receive graded assignments back. 

4. OneNote 

Android, iOS, and desktop. Free. 

Recommended for students in middle and high school. 

A text-based notes tool that lets you search and find your thoughts quickly. Microsoft’s OneNote lets you jot down notes, add an image or table, and create to-do lists all on the same page. For organizational purposes, you can add tags to anything, and it syncs across devices and platforms. This makes it one of the best note-taking apps out there for students, and we all know note-taking is an important study aid. 

5. Pearson Writer  

Android, iOS, website service, and internet browser extensions. Free 30-day trial with paid upgrade available. 

Recommended for students in middle and high school. 

Be a better writer with everything you need all in one place. Whether it’s acing an essay or improving writing skills, let your middle and high school student try this digital study tool for writing. Pearson Writer has proofreading software, online study guides for research, writing, and grammar, helps you cite sources, manage writing projects, and even provides writing tips. There’s a web version and mobile app, as well as internet browser extensions. It’s free for the first 30 days, and then $9.99/month after that. 

6. Forest 

Android, iOS, and internet browser extension. The mobile apps are $1.99, and the browser extensions are free. 

Recommended for students in elementary (with parental guidance), middle, and high school. 

The Forest app is a productivity app that capitalizes on the pomodoro technique—a time-management system that recommends people work with the time they have (instead of against it). The pomodoro technique recommends your student to break up their school day into 25-minute chunks, which are then separated by five-minute breaks. Referred to as pomodoros, these intervals and their accompanying breaks help instill a sense of urgency. They get your online student to take breaks away from the computer, and they remove the burnt-out, digital fatigue some students may experience at the end of the day. This productivity timer gamifies the experience by “planting a tree” and watching it grow on your phone or internet browser. If you leave the app, (i.e., get distracted) it will wither and rot away. Over time, you can grow a forest, earn coins, and even plant real trees. This makes a great online study resource for students of all ages, and is great to keep in mind as online students plan their flexible school schedules

7. Aida 

Android and iOS. Limited use is free with paid upgrades available. 

Recommended for students in high school. 

For the mathematically inclined high school student, calculus is infamous as an imposing challenge. Aida is the first tutoring calculus app that not only guides you to the answer, but it helps you understand how you got there. This online study aid uses AI to monitor you “showing your work,” helping you find the steps you got right, and which ones you need more practice with. Over time, it learns and adapts to your strengths and weakness, and if you ever need extra help, it has a video library with 200+ tutorials. A limited interface of the app is free, and all access plans start at $2.99/month. 

8. Cold Turkey 

Desktop. Free with a paid lifetime access upgrade available. 

Recommended for students in elementary (with parental guidance), middle, and high school. 

School from home requires focus. Download Cold Turkey onto your computer and block websites, applications, and games during set blocks of time. This is one of the best study websites for students in that it will boost their productivity, reclaim their free time, and will keep them (almost) 100% distraction-free. Of course, it can’t make any promises that your pet Fluffy won’t be a distraction here or there. 

9. EasyBib® 

Free website service with paid upgrades available. 

Recommended for students in middle and high school. 

This bibliography generator makes citing your sources a breeze. The free version of the Easybib online study tool provides Modern Language Association (MLA) support, and the paid version includes 7000+ writing styles, including the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) and American Psychological Association (APA.) It even includes plagiarism checks, grammar review, and live expert checks within 24 hours for real-life feedback on your work. 

10. Desmos 

Free website service. 

Recommended for students in middle and high school. 

This free graphing calculator is one of the best study tools, and it’s on a mission. Desmos wants to make math available to billions of students around the world by providing their free graphing calculator. Whether you don’t have access to a graphing calculator, or need one in a pinch, this math study resource is a great addition to your online school toolbelt! 

11. Project Gutenberg  

Free website service. 

Recommended for students in middle and high school. 

This online study resource provides free eBooks for texts that are no longer under copyright. Need a copy of Hamlet, like, yesterday? Project Gutenberg is a great study help website for students. It currently has over 60,000 free eBooks that are available on the site, and more are being added all the time. 

Still need help with studying? 

While the list above is a great list of online study resources for your K–12 student(s), there still might be nuanced lessons or hard subjects they’ll have to tackle. 

Whether your student is enrolled in a virtual school, is attending a traditional brick-and-mortar school, or is homeschooled, check out this article on study help tips for tough classes.   

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