Turning to Tech for Homework Help

Have you seen my Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume EVA to FRA? I’ve been searching for that reference book since 1948.

Back-to-school stories have sparked my memory of those glossy pages and the frantic hunts that took place the night before a homework assignment was due.

Nowadays, missing volumes, or your lack of calculus acumen needn't challenge. To the rescue, come Google References, Mac OS X, iPhones, and the Internet.

Turn to your Google search button for these aides:

1. Calculator. To use Google's built-in calculator, enter the calculation you'd like done into the search box. Let's say, $2.87 (my last gas price) x 5.13 (gallons purchased). Do the math and you'll learn how much I paid for a half a tank. (1990 Honda Civic)

2. Unit Conversion. You can use Google to convert between many different units of measurement of height, weight, and volume among many others. Just enter your desired conversion into the search box and the site will do the rest. Their example, 10.5 cm in inches. (Answer: 4.13385827 inches. See how easy that was?)

3. Public Data. This feature is more useful for high school and college students. It provides trends for population and unemployment rates of U.S. states and counties. Type "population" or "unemployment rate" followed by a state or county, and you’ll get your answer.

4. Fill in the Blank. Sometimes the best way to ask a question is to get Google to ‘fill in the blank.’ Add an asterisk (*) at the part of the sentence or question that you want finished into the Google search box. (FYI. George Clooney was born May 6, 1961.)

Mac OS X

1. Dictionary Definitions. To see a definition for a word or phrase, type the word into the Spotlight at the very upper right hand corner of your screen. A definition, as well as Mac's built-in Dictionary application, pops up. You'll find the word's meaning, as well as a Thesaurus. (My example, since I used "searching" in paragraph one, I wanted to avoid a repeat in two. Hence: "hunts.")

iPhone users can turn to a variety of free apps for their homework buddy.

1. The free app, My Homework, is one popular example and it's currently the no. 2 most downloaded education app in the App Store. It lets students keep track of their classes, homework assignments, projects, and tests, with a simple (the developer's description) user interface.

2. College students may be interested in iStudiez Pro, which is more tailored to university studies. This app helps you keep track of lecture and lab sessions, tasks, homework, scheduling, etc. At $2.99, it's currently the no. 1 most popular paid education app in the App Store.

No smart phone? No problem. Go to the Internet and check out these websites:

1. Math.com provides everything a student or parent needs to know about Basic Math, Everyday Math, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, and Calculus. It even offers math tutoring.
2. At Homeworkhelp.com, students are taught how to learn. This site’s curriculum developers "are experienced classroom teachers who help students understand concepts, not just memorize them."

3. Point your mouse to Studentquestions.com, submit a question and offer an optional commission. The question will be automatically emailed to all the tutors, instantly alerting and giving them an incentive to give you homework help (non-commissioned questions are only posted).

Now that I’ve helped you out, you can do me a favor. Check your closet, bookshelf, and under the sofa cushions. Did I happen to leave my EVA to FRA at your house?