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:
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
Now that we’re a few weeks into the school year, you and your kids are probably coming to terms with the homework load. There’s no app to help your kids carry their books, but there are apps that can help you and your child keep track of all those homework assignments. There are even a few that can lend a hand when your kids need help with math formulas you’ve long forgotten.
iPhone, Android, iPad, Windows 8, Web, Kindle; Free
MyHomework lets you track homework assignments and classes. When you add an assignment or test you can indicate the class, due date (time optional), and priority level (color-coded as low, medium or high). You can set up reminder alerts, which are saved to your calendar. You can then see your homework assignments by your calendar or in a queue by class, priority or type.
Another function allows you to add classes, either by time or by period, so it’s helpful for middle school, high school and college students.
Teachers can sign up to use the app to send students announcements, and hand out syllabi, reading lists and other materials to students who also have the app.
My GradeBook: Student Grades (Also called My Grades and Homework)
iPhone, iPad, Android; $0.99
Maybe you want to track your child’s grades as well? My GradeBook focuses on tracking grades as well as homework assignments. It’s a bit friendlier toward grade-school students.
Start by adding courses, indicating the instructor, term, units or credits, grade style (points-based or weighted) and grade scale. Once you’ve added all your classes, you can add assignments by clicking first on the class, then on the notepad icon. You can assign a due date and time plus notes. Mark the assignment as “submitted” once it’s completed.
When it’s graded, simply add the points earned out of the total and My GradeBook will calculate the overall class grade based on all graded assignments. Then it calculates overall GPA. My GradeBook also syncs to DropBox to backup your data.
Other options to consider for tracking homework include:
So far so good. Now about that math homework? A few apps can help your middle and high school students when your own memory of algebra fails.
iPhone, iPad, Android; free
Gone are the days when you could only graph on a clunky Texas Instrument calculator. This app is a graphing, scientific, matrix and statistics calculator. Not only is there an app, you can also use it online.
iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook; $2.99
This app solves equations. Just plug in the problem.
Is this too much homework help? Creator Conrad Wolfram answers that question in his TEDx talk. Basically, it depends on how you’re using it — and how important it is to your child’s teacher that they learn to calculate by hand.
The app can be used to walk students through problems so they more clearly understand equations and the steps needed to solve them. It’s probably more helpful to students in advanced math courses than for 6th graders.
What about when homework includes studying for a test?
iPhone, Android; free
One helpful tool is StudyBlue. This app allows you to create your own flashcards and use flashcards used by classmates and friends. It optimizes study by tracking which cards have been mastered so students can focus just on what they still need to learn. Cards can be text, images or audio.
And you’re set! Now if only there were an app to make homework more fun.