Burn Your Agendas: Five Ed Tech Organizational Tools For Teachers and Students

If you’re a teacher, it’s likely that you asked your students to take out their homework pads and to jot an assignment down.  If you’re a parent, it’s likely that your student has an agenda of some kind (perhaps you even sign the thing), and it’s probably in bad shape (if not misplaced or destroyed).

But kids aren’t the only ones struggling with organization and task management.  Let’s face it – your agenda may be in tatters as well (presuming you use an agenda and not a conglomeration of napkins, index cards, and scraps of brown bags).

Fortunately for all of us, there are a number of incredible apps that promise to help manage (and gamify) your time, your tasks, and your “things.”

(0) Got an iPhone?  You’re already equipped with a to-do list (“Reminders”) and a high quality calendar (“iCal”) that effectively to all of your devices.  You can even use Siri to program these items for you (i.e. “Siri, schedule Hamlet reading, act five, tonight at eight”).  Got an Andriod?  Reap the same benefits with Google Calendar and sync across your Gmail accounts!

(1) “CARROT” – I’m admittedly obsessed.  This app is essentially a gamified to-do list.  Simply load up your tasks and watch “her” put you to work.  You can expect all of the positives (i.e. points, unlocking features, leveling up) and negatives (i.e. public shaming via Twitter for not staying on top of your work!) that come with efficient task and behavior management!

(2) “iACHIEVE” – If you dig “CARROT,” you’ll appreciate what iAchieve has to offer.  Rather than operating as “task management,” this app simply allows you to input tasks, assign values, and monitor your behavior via dynamic status bars.  An easy and flexible way to gamify any aspect of your life.

(3) “GOOD HABITS” – There are a slew of apps available that offer streak management.  This happens to be one of my favorites.  Input a habit (i.e. “grade an essay every day” or “post to my blog” or “finish all of my homework” or “read for English!”).  Then, if you engage in that behavior, mark the day.  After two or three consecutive days, you’ll notice a chain across multiple dates… Something that the crazed inner-workings of your OCD simply you won’t want you to break…!

(4) “IFTTT” – This app is an absolute gem.  Not sure how it isn’t most popular, but in an effort to maintain its undercover reputation, I’ve tucked it this far down the list.  IFTTT stands of “If this then that,” essentially giving you the power to automate many facets of your phone (and your life).  For instance, you might program: “If I get an email from my boss, then text me letting me know! ORIf it’s a Tuesday, then remind me to take out the recycling!”  For the purposes of task and time management, I’ve found the GPS-based reminders to be the most helpful.  That’s right – you can program reminders based on your physical location on the planet!  That means: “If I arrive to my home, then remind me to complete chapter five” … “If I am at the library, then remind me to research Stravinsky” … “If I am leaving my house, then remind me to bring my art project with me!”

(5) “REMIND 101” – I’ve seen the popularity of this app skyrocket over the course of the past year.  You might not be the first to the party, but it’s not too late to dance.  This app allows students to sign up and receive alerts from their teacher – that means HW reminders after school, extra credit during dinnertime, and pop quizzes before bed!

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