apps for education, volume 1: organization and time management

I can’t remember how I discovered that apps can be used for education and very successfully for special education, but I remember being stunned. I, not owning an iPhone or an iPad yet, had no idea that apps were anything more than tech toys for teens and grown-ups. I was pleasantly surprised. And hopeful. So hopeful that I allowed Santa to bring the kids each an iPod touch so that we can also use them for education and ADHD symptom management.

I have spent hours and hours researching apps for education and symptom management. I have a list of 43 apps so far and I haven’t finished researching apps for reading, social studies, and science yet. The possibilities are mind-boggling. In fact, the possibilities are so phenomenal that schools like North Rowan High School in Salisbury, NC are providing all their students with iPods in the classroom. I hope this is mainstream education in all schools in the near future.

Since the list of educational apps is so vast, I am breaking this information down into a series of articles and recommendations. I hoped to have Luke using some apps on his iPod in the classroom by now so I could report on some first-hand experience, but mother nature had a different idea — we’ve only been to school three days since Christmas!

Today’s list, Volume 1, is Organization and Time Management. Of course, there are hundreds of options in this category because these types of apps are also desirable for adults. Here I am going to focus on those appropriate for children, especially special needs children, and appropriate for managing their education.

** Remember, everything for iPhone also works on the iPod Touch and most of these are available for the iPad as well. I will have a post just on apps that are exclusive to the iPad later.

iStudiez   $2.99 (there’s also a Lite version for FREE)

2009 Best App Ever Award Winner in Education category!

A student’s life is a dizzying mix of activity and just plain craziness! Take charge of your schedule and put iStudiez Pro to work for you! Take advantage of iStudiez Pro easy navigation and never miss another course, lecture and lab, track tasks and deadlines, plan homework, arrange assignments and much more!

{I just downloaded this one today and should have read the reviews first, seems it has a bug.}




iHomework    $1.99
iHomework is featured in the iTunes section “Special Education”

iHomework is a student’s best friend during the busy times of the school year. Keep up-to-date with your school work, grades, to-do’s, teacher’s information, and almost everything else you need during the school year. iHomework is the only school organizer that can be with you anywhere you go, whether that be on your iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, or Mac!

Be Alert! with Local Notifications
With iOS 4, iHomework allows you to set alarms for Assignments and Reminders. Be notified of an upcoming test or paper even when you don’t have iHomework open. You can even set how far in advance you want to be notified. No network connection required! Unfortunately, there is no “snooze” option.

Keep track of all the upcoming work for the school year.
Repeating assignments let you quickly enter work due every day, week, or month.
Record your grades for every assignment and let iHomework figure out what your report card is going to say.
Add partners to your group assignments and have quick access to their contact information.
Email assignments to your friends (when they forget to show up to class).
Organize your information however you like it.
Keep track of your work on iHomework’s built-in color coded calendar.

Reading and Books
Keep track of any reading assignments you have during the week. Link the reading with a course and any assignments that are related. Bookmark definitions or important paragraphs so you can go back to them anytime.
Your list of books is a great place to keep notes about your text books (like how expensive they are) and the author.

Remember what you need at the grocery store with Reminders.
Keep reminders around so you don’t forget those daily to-do’s that you need to get done.
Great for anything in your life that isn’t school work – keep everything you need in one convenient app!

Keep track of your course information and teacher contact info. Mark the location of a course on a map – great for new college students on a large campus.
iHomework will calculate your grade using a simple point-based grading system or a very highly customizable weighted system. Keep track of your schedule for the year – you’ll never “forget” to go to class again!

iHomework lets you record class times no matter what kind of schedule your school is on.
Whether weekly or block schedule, iHomework lets you enter your schedule and keep track of all your courses.

Keep track of your teacher’s contact information. Teachers are saved locally but allow you to important information from your Contact list.
Quick access to teacher’s office hours and email – so you can email them when you forget to turn something in!

iHomework is the only school organizer available for iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, and Mac. Add your work on the go and sync it with your laptop when you get the time.

Time Timer   $4.99

The Time Timer clock is a long-standing favorite of special educators and is now available as an app.

Time Timer delivers an innovative and practical way to address the universal question of, “How much longer?” It’s disappearing red-disk allows individuals to actually see time, making the passage of time obvious and tangible.

Simply set the Time Timer to the length of your activity. And as time elapses, the red-disk gradually gets smaller.

Use the Time Timer iPhone application to:
-> Keep meetings/ presentations on time and on track.
-> Help your kids focus on their homework, stick to practice schedules and assist with start/end of day routines.
-> Provide a sensitive time management solution for individuals with ADD, ADHD, Autism and other special needs.
-> Manage progress toward goals and agenda items.
-> Encourage autonomy and independence.

The Time Timer iPhone application offers three operating modes to suit your needs:
-> TRADITIONAL (Set red-disk between 0-60 minutes, repeat up to 99 times).
-> CUSTOM (Set yellow-disk between 0-12 hours, repeat up to 99 times).
-> CLOCK OVERLAY (Set between 0-12 hours, with analog clock face).

IEP Checklist   FREE

IEP Checklist is a tool for parents and teachers to consider as they develop the IEP. Not every item on the checklist is required by special education regulations. For more information, consult the Federal regulations and other information that can be found at

The IEP Checklist is sponsored by The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC).

{There isn’t a lot of information about how this app functions on iTunes. I downloaded it and spent a few minutes familiarizing with it. It breaks down the law surrounding the IEP into manageable tidbits by category: IEP Team Members, Notifications, Current Performance, Annual Goals, Service, Support and Aids, Special Factors, Student Placement, State and District Assessments, Other Considerations, Transition Plan, Secondary Transition, Prior Written Notice, Additional Reviews. With each piece of the law and your child’s rights, there’s a section for notes. 

This app will allow you to better understand this complicated law and your child’s rights. 

Since Luke is finally getting an IEP, I plan on spending a lot of time reading this when Luke gets back to school Tuesday (I’d read it when he goes to bed but he uses the music on his iPod as a sleep timer and can’t go to sleep without music).}

Picture Scheduler   $2.99

{*** Read the reviews before purchasing this app — it appears there may be bugs in it. Watch for an updated version to correct the issues, as I think this is a phenomenal app for kids who are visually oriented.}

Picture Scheduler is tasks organizer for people with disabilities.
We have been asked if our app Audio Notes, could be more optimized for creating and organizing personal tasks for individuals with disabilities. We thought that it would be great to create an app, which can help thousands of people who rely on visual and auditory supports to do their common tasks easily.
We started to collaborate with Dr.Toni Van Laarhoven – an associate professor at Northern Illinois University. Years of her experience with working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities helped us to create a great new application.
Although this application was developed for individuals with disabilities, it is useful for all.

? create picture, text, video or audio task (or combine them)
? automatically create backup task for later restore
? import video files from device or via iTunes file sharing
? shows fullscreen picture (optional)
? enable “Hide” mode, so you will never delete the task, only hide it
? unread tasks are marked and show badge icon
? sort tasks into categories
? local notifications – app shows alerts even if it is closed

Routines  $2.99  (there’s also a Lite version for FREE)

Routines app is checklists for the repeated tasks and chores in your life. Use Routines app to keep track of you recurring tasks, keep them from cluttering your calendar, email and other todo lists.

With build-in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly checklists, Routines app makes it easy for you to follow your tasks and serves as reminders to the important todos in your life.

? Overwhelmed by routine houseworks? Use Routines to keep track of the chores and never miss a thing again.
? Need to cultivate good habits? Use Routines to ensure you are ‘doing it’ until it becomes a habit.
? Learning a new skill? Use Routines to setup recurring period for the learning and practice.
? Always miss your monthly report deadline? Use Routines to remind you of the important tasks at hands.

Keep recurring tasks separate from your big todo list and calendar with Routines. Try out Routines and find out how this approach has helped others to focus better and improve their productivity.

? Enter recurring tasks into one of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly checklists. Keep routine tasks separate from your calendar and other todo lists.
? Tap the list title on the top navigation bar to toggle different list views. Each list has different views with different grouping of the tasks.
? Easily add context to tasks. Define your own context and use it to organize your tasks, for example separating todos for home and for work. Each task can be assigned to one context.
? Tags are keywords that help describe the tasks. Assigned one or more tags to each task. Define as many tags as required to suit how you organize your lists.
? Tap on the filter bar below the top navigation bar to filter the list display by context and/or tags.
? Highlight Current feature gives a background color to tasks that fall within current period. For Daily checklist, the period is current hour. For Weekly/Monthly/Yearly checklist, the period is current day.
? Auto-Highlight will color task title in orange for tasks that fall within a range from current period. You specify the range from the app settings.
? Turn on Read-Only Mode to lock editing/creating new tasks. This prevents accidental error and gives peace of mind when your routine tasks are all in place.
? Create up to 3 alerts to send you notifications minutes/hours/days before the task or on the date of the task itself. Requires iOS4.0 and above in order to receive notifications.
? Publish your routine tasks to the Calendar app and view the schedule on Calendar app together with other events and appointments.
? Routines is an universal app optimized for iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, the same app work for all iOS platforms.

Free version of Routines is limited to eight tasks.

RxMindMe   FREE

RxmindMe is the iPhone Prescription Reminder App for your iPhone! Get reminders on your phone no matter what App you are running!

RxmindMe is a prescription reminder that uses multitasking to alert you every time you need to take a prescription. We allow you to enter all your prescriptions, setup reminders, and track when you have taken them.

– NINE different types of reminders: **NEW** Every “X” Number of Days **NEW** ,Hourly , Daily, on specific dates, weekly, on a particular day of the month, as needed, or on a particular week of a month, or as-needed reminders
– Prescription Quantities now count down as you mark your reminders as ‘Taken’ will automatically update the prescription quantity!
– Export all your prescription data with ease! (Export Data in More menu)
– Take picture of your prescription (Devices with Cameras Only)
– Email Prescription History (Both email and Comma Separated Value – Imports into Excel and Numbers)
– Family Members for Medications
– The entire FDA Drug Database to search for your medications
– SECURE – All of your prescriptions are stored on your iPhone, no information pertaining to your prescription is EVER sent to our server
– All reminders are reoccurring
– Easy to use interface to turn reminders on – off – or delete them
– Historical tracking of your prescriptions and when you took them
– Now uses Multitasking to give you your notifications, allowing you to be using other applications and receive reminders
– Input of all your prescription information (But, you don’t need to input your prescriptions to setup reminders)
– Passcode to prevent wondering eyes on your phone to see your prescriptions (Don’t you hate it when people ask to borrow your iPhone?)

Pocket Picture Planner   FREE


Pocket PicturePlanner is the innovative mobile app that lets you view a visual calendar of scheduled activities created in Picture Planner on your Macintosh or Windows computer.

Schedule your activities by selecting from either stock photos and symbols or your own imported images, and then sync them to your iOS device. Now you can view your activities, get reminders, and track activity completion on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. It’s that simple!

An ideal self-management app for children, users with autism and other cognitive disabilities, elders, second language learners, and anyone who likes working with pictures or who prefers a simple user interface for scheduling activities and getting reminders.

• Multi-modal visual schedules: all icons have graphic image, text label, and text to speech
• Activities organized into simple categories: What are you doing? With Who? Where? • How will you get there? How much money do you need? What to Bring? What Clothes to Wear?
• Scroll through step by step elements of each activity
• Get Push Notification activity reminders
• Mark activities as completed and sync back to desktop Picture Planner
• Work with your own customized images on your Mac or Windows desktop and then just sync to your iOS device

The simple interface of Pocket Picture Planner makes staying on schedule easy. Buttons speak their names. Activity steps lay out the detailed information necessary to complete an event. This innovative mobile app brings assistive technology for self-management to those who need it most.

Note: Pocket Picture Planner is a free download that displays demonstration data but requires a licensed copy of Picture Planner 3.0 in order to synchronize new schedule data.

IdeaSketch   FREE

{This is great for organizing ideas and planning!}

Idea Sketch lets you easily draw a diagram – mind map, concept map, or flow chart – and convert it to a text outline, and vice versa. You can use Idea Sketch for anything, such as brainstorming new ideas, illustrating concepts, making lists and outlines, planning presentations, creating organizational charts, and more!

Share Your Ideas
Diagrams can be saved to the Photos app, which are then synced to your desktop computer. You can also copy-and-paste diagrams and outlines into any other app on your iPhone. You can even upload diagrams to your Facebook account!

Idea Sketch is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. You’ll be creating and editing diagrams and outlines right away.

No Drawing Required
Just enter your text and move the shapes around, Idea Sketch handles all the drawing.

(requires iOS 4 on the iPhone)

iRewardChart   $3.99 (Lite version available for FREE)

** Proud to be featured under AppStore “Busy Parents” essentials, and “Special Education” section **
* CNET’s top5, AOL’s (ParentDish) top10 parenting app, as seen on NBC-TechNow *

iRewardChart makes it easy to reward your children for good behavior and keep them motivated.

1. Type their name,
2. Select a few tasks from our list of suggestions, and
3. Reward their accomplishments with a single tap in the weekly chart


When stars have been earned, your child can pick from the default list of suggested rewards, or you can setup your own custom rewards especially tailored for each of your children, like “$2 Pocket Money” or “One Hour Of TV”.

Children love to feel responsible, challenged and respected. But most children don’t like being told what to do… iRewardChart also allows you to set up abstract goals like “Patience” and “Sharing With Others”, so rewards teach the virtues you want your child to learn.

CNET: “Five must-have iPhone apps for parents” “iRewardChart Gets Your Kids To Shoot For The Stars… And Behave” “This allows them to get excited about the stars they earn, and it reinforces the importance of good behavior.” “The developers have done a nice job combining the chart and rewards into one app and I think the idea of a star payout is clever.” “If you’ve got a star chart front and center on your fridge right now, this might be the app for you.” “Overall, the app is useful and fun and, when used with your children so they can see their progress, it can be a real motivator.” “At the end of the day, this is an excellent way of keeping your children motivated.”

{Now, I don’t believe reward charts work for most children with ADHD but, if they work successfully for you and your child, this would be a great app.)

Of course, there are dozens more apps for organization and time management. Here I’ve posted a few that I found to be highly regarded among special educators. I hope to have Luke using some of these at school and to have a positive report on that in the future.

What apps do you use for organization and time management?  

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at

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adhd and school, classroom accommodations, gifted and adhd, homework, learning disabilities, organization, parenting/FAMILY, Penny Williams, special education (IEP) ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at

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