When I thought about what apps might be useful in class, I started by thinking about what tools I use when I am in the process of writing papers and if those would translate to the class and be helpful to my students.
This habit is not entirely related to paper writing, but I do read a lot of online blogs and articles. A lot of the things I read are unrelated to class/academic issues (like what Katy Perry’s most recent outfit was), but I do happen across many interesting articles and essays on world issues, technology, education, and other issues that can relate to what my students read and discuss in class. Aside from printing out articles to give to them or posting the link on Blackboard, I think using a bookmark sharing service that all of the students could access or add things to could be beneficial in showing them the broad amount of quality writing on the Internet. We use Delicious for this seminar, but I use Springpad for my personal use. I prefer Springpad because it is a cleaner interface and you can organize and bookmark things pretty easily into different folders, and those folders are shareable. Springpad is also available as an app, and since it is a website too, you can access it from any computer.
I also found this recent article about writing apps from techrepublic.com. The five apps they list are designed to make writing projects easier. The apps seem to focus on long writing projects and creative writing projects, and these apps are really programs for your computer instead of your smartphone, but for writers who tend to get very distracted during the writing process (i.e. me), these apps might be useful in that they put the focus on the writing process. The app that looks the best is Scrivener. What this app does is offer an easy-to-use interface that streamlines and organizes the writing process. It looks like users can organize writing into folders that could be chapters of a book or an entire project. The app also offers outlining features and a way to organize research. For my students relatively short papers, an app like this would be overkill, but it does give me ideas of how to help my students make the research process simpler (and how to eliminate distractions during my own writing process!).