Organization skills are necessary for students of all ages and stages. For students transitioning to post secondary education, organizational abilities can be areas of concern as special education teachers, paraprofessionals no longer are available to support the student when they enter college or tech school. What tools might help students with organization challenges?
As always, it is important to determine just what kind of organizational challenges exist for the students. Organization skills can fall under the broad category of executive functions and can be categorized in many different ways. Here is one way organization skills can be categorized to help with identifying specific areas of challenge:
- Time awareness and time management
- Planning and prioritization
- Information and material management
- Spatial organization
Some of the challenges seen with students transitioning are the ability to manage, estimate time, plan and prioritize to complete their homework. What kind of apps or can support students with time management, prioritization and planning challenges?
Apps that provide calendars, reminders – persistent reminders by day, hour, repeated through specific days of the week (such as in M-W or T-TH schedules), with different types of reminders or alerts (visual, audio choices or vibration) and color coding features to help with prioritizing are all features that can help with time management, planning and priorization. Although technology can help, behavioral strategies to establish routines and habits for technology use are also important. Continued support to help establish routines with use of tools are needed at home as well as generalized to school for students to become successful with time management and planning apps or tools.
Here are some choices of apps that focus on time managment and planning for special needs students in high school or post secondary environments:
iStudiez Pro – (Free/Lite version and Full version $2.99 compatible with iPhone and iPad) – Here are some of the features provided in the app according to the decription on iTunes:
…ORGANIZING YOUR SCHEDULE Unique built-in planner lets you input and easy manage all types of schedules including classic, alternating (A & B weeks), rotating and block schedule. Not only you can enter most common course details, but also add instructors with all related information such as office hours, affiliation, phone number and email address. As well you are welcome to add holiday periods and even cancel separate classes in case of outstanding events. In addition, you are supplied with an expanded set of icons designed especially for iStudiez Pro to mark your class types and extracurricular activities. Color labels are available for your convenience to mark each particular course.
…FOLLOWING UP WITH YOUR HOMEWORK Special section is dedicated to keep track of your homework and assignments. Whatever is the way you are used to manage your tasks, you will find it all in iStudiez Pro. Either you want to organize your assignments by date, by course or by priority, or sort them into pending and completed, you have all options at your hand.
…SUMMARIZING IT UP FOR YOU Once your schedule is added, the summary of current classes and tasks is automatically reflected in Today view. You’ll see list of events and assignments including all details such as event type, location, time left, class instructor, number of tasks pending and what’s next on schedule. Courses reflected in Today view are easily modifiable in each and every detail. Today icon always sticks you to the current date!
…TRACKING YOUR GRADE/GPA This option is based on assignments (support of weighted/non-weighted assignments), and GPA calculator is available both for current and past semesters. Support of most world used grading scales (letter grades, percents, points).
…KEEPING YOU ALERT You will always be up to date with pending tasks and upcoming classes and events with iStudiez Pro. The app boasts Push Notifications feature which allows you set general alarm time for your classes and separate alarms for each of your assignments and homework. Setting the alarms is quick and smartly integrated within the interface of the app, so prepare to be the most resulting fellow ever with no special memorizing efforts!
…GUARDING YOUR DATA No way you will ever lose your data if something’s wrong with your device. iStudiez Pro takes care of you and offers the option to back up your data by sending it to your e-mail address with tapping just one button!
iStudies Pro provides almost all of the needed features. It does not provide audio recording in the app and the alert choices appears to be limited. Strong features it provides is its integration with iCal and the notifications and badges that can be turned on in the iPad iOS5 settings which provides an immediate to do listing that alerts you to events or assignments due. The calendar can also be synchronized with your iPhone iCal also with correct setting turned on, a bonus when using multiple mobile devices.
myHomeWork – Free app for iPhone and iPad requiring $1.99 to create an on line account to allow alerts and access to an online calendar account. This app provides features for homework, classes and a calendar views and reminders. Here are listed features posted on iTunes for myHome Work app:
With myHomework you can easily know what’s due and when so you will never forget a homework assignment again.
The free app includes: – Track your classes, homework, tests, assignments – Time & Block based class schedules – Beautiful calendar display – iPhone Retina display support – Multitasking support – Universal (Both iPhone and iPad)
myHomework is also available on the web so you can quickly sync and access your homework from your computer at myhomeworkapp.com
In order to set alerts you must create an online account for $1.99 which allows you to: – Sync to your iPhone, iPad and Android devices – Access anywhere, anytime at myhomeworkapp.com – Receive homework reminders on your device (notifications) – Facebook Single Sign-On
No alerts are allowed without creating a myHomework online account. Alerts can then be added to your notification and badges presented on your iPad.
Conover Functional Planning App – (9.99, compatible with iPhone and iPad) is described as a visual approach to daily planning. Utilizing video modeling, the Functional Planning System can be used to plan out a user’s entire day. Think of it as a cross between a video playlist and a calendar app. Activities can be scheduled, and step-by-step videos prompt the user through the completion of the activity. Alarms can be set and even made to be recurring for daily tasks. Videos for many activities are already (available through in-app purchase) as part of our Functional Skills System video library, which has over 4,000 images and videos to choose from.
You can also use the capabilities of the iPod touch and iPad to completely customize the application for the user – use the camera to shoot your own pictures and video and use the built-in microphone to record your own audio.
VoCal – (iPhone/iPad, 5.99 full app with unlimited reminders and removal of ads) Although not a complete calendar system, this voice created audio reminder system and a voiced calendar that could be used in conjunction with the above apps as an easy method of creating an alert for school based or personal needs. Considered a voice calendar, it is easy to record your voice, setting an alarm for quick creation of a voice alert on your iPhone or iPad. Here’s a description of its features:
Remember everything, forget nothing with this voice ‘to-do’ list. Simply speak your personal memo, set the time and date, be reminded in your voice. No need to type text!
Using Apple’s local notification technology, VoCal fuses a Dictaphone, Calendar and Alarm system into one. Speaking is quicker and more accurate than typing and speech recognition can sometimes get it wrong. VoCal makes a personal memo quick, easy and naturally has no spelling mistakes!
1. Tap the record icon, record a reminder using your voice ✔
2. Set time/date for the reminder to alert you ✔
3. Tap save and close the app ✔
From everyday ‘to do’ lists, to repeating annual reminders. VoCal will prompt you for any task or duty in your life. Your alerts are delivered even when the app is closed! VoCal now includes a ‘snooze’ feature. Delay the job, but never forget it!
Vocal can sync back to your iPhone calendar which can in turn be synced elsewhere. You can also send recordings via email.
Interested in more organizational app reviews for secondary or post secondary students with special needs?
Here are some great app reviews to check out:
- Inov8 Educational Consulting in their series on apps for students with special needs Part 9 featured a review for college students with LD:
- The University of New Hampshire Disability Services list of iPod, iPad and Android Apps provides a great listing of a variety of apps suited to secondary and post secondary student:
Any suggestions for time managment apps for secondary and post secondary students? Please share!