By Teachers, For Teachers
It’s the age-old question: How can I get my students organized?
Since the dawn of the classroom, teachers have been battling dog-ate-my-homework excuses. But now, with technology in the classroom so prevalent, some savvy companies have figured out how to help.
Here’s a quick rundown of some great apps that will help your students get – and stay – organized this year.
1. Remember The Milk (Free)
Remember the Milk is the task-managing software to use if you find the phrase “task-managing software” a little intimidating. Students will benefit from this simple, kid-friendly way to keep track of their assignment and to-dos. Adding a task is as simple as giving it a name, and checking it off is as easy as pressing a button.
The app does have some useful additional features, but what’s nice about Remember the Milk is that you never feel like you’re getting lost in the minutia—the dates, notes, locations and tags all seem like they’re there to make it easier for you to get your stuff done, not to make it more complicated. You won’t find a better free app for keeping your kids on-task.
2. Notability - Ginger Labs ($2.99)
Notability is a simple, yet feature-rich, note-taking app that your students will love. Available exclusively on the iPad, it has an intuitive user interface that anyone who can use a pen and paper can pick up easily.
The core of Notability is the virtual notebook. You can have many notebooks to organize your work in. Open one up, or start a new one, and you’ll be presented with a page. Next, simply tap somewhere on the page and start typing. Or select the pen tool and write the old-fashioned way. Of course, most kids don’t have the best handwriting, so the handy scrolling zoom panel lets them write large letters that turn out small and neat.
Aside from writing and drawing, notability lets you add pictures and audio to your notes. One feature is so useful and natural that you almost don’t notice how useful it is -- you can record audio that automatically syncs to your notes. Just double-tap any word in your notebook, and the audio will skip to the point in the recording at which you wrote that word. Reviewing a class lecture just got a whole lot easier for your students.
Habits Pro is a neat little app that does something pretty unique -- it keeps track of all the little daily or weekly activities that you want to turn into habits. Break down different habits by categories -- the app starts you off with “Live a Healthy Life,” “Be Social,” and “Exercise Your Mind” -- and then just add tasks to each one.
Suppose you’ve told a student he or she needs to make up a homework list to keep track of their assignments every day. The problem is, the list is only really effective if they’re checking it at home. This is where Habits Pro can help. Add “Check Homework List” to the students’ tasks, and the app will remind him or her to do it every day and will then check it off. The app helps the student not only complete individual to-dos, but build lasting habits. Your students’ checks are recorded, and the data is turned into charts and graphs that show which habits are taking hold and which still need work. The only flaw in the app is a slightly clunky user interface.