EduTech is a new 9to5Mac weekly series that will focus on technology’s application in education, lower and higher level, both for productivity and enjoyment. If you have suggestions for topics or specific questions you’d like to see answered, feel free to let me know. Catch up on past installments here.
In this week’s installment of EduTech, we’re going to break down the best apps on iOS stay organized, keep track of assignments, and more. Some of these apps are specifically made with education in mind, while others were developed with a broader focus yet still offer benefits to educators and students alike.
This is arguably one of the best applications of technology in education. Keeping track of things like assignments, due dates, and tests used to be a tedious task that required the use of a physical planner to truly stay on top of things. With iOS, however, there are many apps that make it easy to stay on top of your work. Read on for my full list…
The Homework App
One of the most popular scheduling apps on iOS is simply called “The Homework App.” Available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, this app features a minimalistic design that offers support for your class schedule, homework schedule, and more.
On the main screen of the app, you see a broad overview of what you have going on, including the number of classes you have that day, the assignments you have due, your schedule, and more. From there, you can dive deeper into the specifics of what you have going on with sub details for assignments, color coding, and more.
The Homework App also offers a widget in Notification Center, as well as an Apple Watch app for on-the-go tracking. There’s also notification support to ensure you never forget a due date.
The Homework App is free on the App Store.
myHomework Student Planner
This app, while still simplistic, offers a few more customization options than The Homework App. On the home screen of the app is a basic overview of all of the homework you have due, while you can filter it by class, priority, and type.
One thing that sets myHomework apart is its support for classes that occur every other day, like in a college environment. While The Homework App does support this, you have to set up each day individually as opposed to telling the app the alternation schedule. myHomework, however, allows you to choose which days a class occurs rather than assuming it occurs every week day.
myHomework Student Planner offers iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch support. It’s available for free on the App Store.
Returning to the simplicity over features theme, Class Timetable is an incredibly simple app that allows you to keep track of classes and assignments. The home screen of this app is a simple list of your classes for that day, while a separate Tasks window shows your assignments and when they are do.
Class Timetable is color coded and supports a color coded week view when you rotate your device to landscape view.
While Class Timetable is free, there’s a “Pro” update available via in-app purchase for $0.99. With that upgrade, you get class notifications, timetable export, task reminders, and more.
Class Timetable is available on the App Store and supports iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
My Study Life
My personal favorite planning app is My Study Life. In my testing, I’ve found this one to be the most feature-rich apps available, while also offering a simplistic and easy to navigate design.
One of my favorite features is the “Tomorrow” preview at the bottom of the app’s home screen. This preview shows how many classes you have on the next day, the tasks you have due, and if you have any exams. My Study Life is also smart about handling exam and class interferences, alerting you of the conflict and allowing you to add revision tasks.
You can view your upcoming tasks and classes with month and week views, as well as detailed daily views with building numbers, times, and more.
My Study Life is available on the App Store for free, but there’s no iPad or Apple Watch app at this point.
While this app wasn’t developed with education specifically in mind, it’s still one of the best planning apps available. Available on both iOS and macOS, Fantastical is a beautiful calendar app with cross-platform syncing, Apple Watch support, and iMessage integration.
We’ve covered Fantastical extensively in the past and I continue to recommend it. You can import from other calendar services, sync between your various devices, and much more.
As for education-specific purposes, you can enter assignment due dates, exam dates, meetings, and more.
Fantastical 2 is available for $2.99 on iOS and $49.99 on macOS.
Another app that wasn’t developed with education specifically in mind, but yet still is one of the best apps for assignment tracking and remembering test dates. OmniFocus is task management app that allows you to enter in a task, assign a due date, and receive notification reminders to complete that task.
The app centers around being easy to use and allowing you to get things done as efficiently as possible. For each day, you’ll see a number that represents the number of tasks that you have due that day.
The app is also location-aware, meaning you can assign a location to specific task and be reminded of it when you approach that location.
OmniFocus is available for iOS, Apple Watch, and iPad on the App Store, while there’s also a macOS app.
Other to-do apps
To-do apps are a great way to remember tasks you have to complete. While OmniFocus is my personal favorite, there are a variety of other options, some of which are free, available on the App Store.
For education, to-do apps are relatively simple and work best for remembering assignments and exam dates rather than class meeting times. For many students, however, assignment and date tracking is the central need.
Below are some additional recommendations for to-do list applications:
Those are just some of the apps that make it incredibly easy to keep track of assignments, classes, tests, and more. Everyone has their own methodology for tracking such dates and it’s really up to you to find the best app that fits your needs.
If you have any additional recommendations for organizing your school work and schedule, let us know down in the comments.
Check out previous installments of EduTech:
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In a day and age when tablets like the iPad are increasingly being adopted as educational tools, digital textbooks and homework portal apps are part of daily life for many students. But what about work and productivity apps? More than 200 programs are categorized as productivity apps in the App Store, but the overwhelming majority of them are targeted to adult business professionals.
Fortunately, there are a few apps out there which are ideally suited to the needs of teenagers. If your child is having trouble keeping track of homework or struggling to balance work and play, one of these apps just might help.
1. Calendar apps, like Google Calendar or Calendar for iOS, are an incredibly versatile tool for teens and adults alike. Keeping a personal calendar is an important life skill for young people to develop, and calendar apps on smartphones and school-issued tablets are an easy and convenient first step. Students can use them to track due dates for homework and long-term projects and schedule set times to work on these tasks.
Perhaps more importantly, though, keeping an up-to-date calendar can help teens understand how much time there actually is in a day. The modern American high schooler is under a lot of pressure to demonstrate well-roundedness to college admissions officers by participating in sports and clubs, but it’s easy to go too far. When students have too many extracurricular obligations, homework often falls by the wayside. If school time and all activities are charted on a calendar app, though, it’s easy to see when a new commitment would be too much – the calendar actually provides a visualization of how many hours would be left over for homework (not to mention free time and sleep!).
2. 30/30 is a free iOS app designed to help people stay on-task and balance work and play. Users populate the app with their tasks and to-do lists, which can be color-coded according to criteria like due date or class. They can then select any task and focus on it for a given time. The app will count down the selected amount of working time, followed by a selected amount of break time. The default settings are 30 minutes for work and 30 minutes for free time, but both are adjustable.
30/30 is great for students who find themselves losing hours to online distractions every night. The app provides a structured balance between homework time and free time, making it more difficult for teens to lose track of just how long they’ve been procrastinating. And if a student with poor time management skills is aware of the problem but unwilling to fix it, then 30/30 can make it easier for parents to enforce limited break times.
3. Wunderlist is a free app for iOS and Android which is also available as a desktop program and a Chrome extension. It is one among many to-do list apps, but it has certain attributes which make it particularly suited for homework tracking and study planning. The app allows users to set due dates for tasks, and reminders can also be set apart from due dates – for instance, a reminder to start working on a project well before it is due.
And then there’s the collaboration feature, which has an open-ended design so as to be useful in a wide range of situations besides workplace projects. When a user has been set as a collaborator on a list, he or she will be notified when any reminders or due dates come up for items on the list. So if parents or guardians are set as collaborators on a student’s homework to-do list, they will get notifications when the student should be working towards an impending deadline.
(And of course, if the student has a history of simply ignoring homework assignments, parents can add assignments listed on class websites and create the necessary deadlines and reminders. While this isn’t an ideal long-term solution, it will go a long way towards ensuring the student knows that his or her parents know about those assignments and expect them to be completed.)
4. MyStudyLife is a student planner app available for iOS, Android, Chrome, and Windows 8. It mirrors the functions of a traditional student planner, minus the pen and paper – a feature which makes it well-suited for students who would rather write on a touchpad than on a page. And of course, it also has features that physical planners lack – most importantly, it will automatically provide reminders about upcoming tests and unfinished tasks.
MyStudyLife lacks the parental collaboration option that makes Wunderlist so useful, but it makes up for it with convenience. Unlike Wunderlist, it is specifically designed to be used by students, so its structure makes it easy to categorize assignments by class.
5. HabitRPG is particularly useful for teens who can’t seem to stop playing video games long enough to finish their homework, but anyone who enjoys working toward challenges might potentially find it helpful. It is a to-do list and habit-building app which takes the rather unique approach of presenting daily life as a video game. Users can “level up” by completing tasks and checking in for positive habits; when they check in for negative habits or fail to complete tasks by set deadlines, they gradually lose their level progress. Completing tasks also yields in-game “gold” and items, and at higher levels, users can team up to complete “quests” by checking off items on their to-do lists. This is the same basic structure shared by popular video games like World of Warcraft, but unlike those games, HabitRPG has little potential to be a time sink – there is very little to do in-game besides checking off items from the to-do list.
HabitRPG does not have parental collaboration options or a schoolwork-based design, but its emphasis on building good habits gives it an advantage over many to-do list apps. If a habit like starting homework before dinner will be recognized and rewarded, the student will have a greater incentive to actually follow through and develop that habit. So for teens who enjoy games, HabitRPG can help to build strong study skills over time while also encouraging them to keep up with their schoolwork.
Know any other productivity apps that are great for teens? Share them in the comments!
Tags:Android, apps, iOS, ipad, iPads, productivity, tech, technology, teens