Ah, back to school. There’s so much hope in the air. Students and staff alike arrive ready to make it a great year of learning. A common new-school-year resolution for students is to do a better job of tracking their assignments. Here you’ll find some of my favorite organization tools to help you and your students achieve just that.
A relatively new website for organizing the tasks that you need to get done. Pegby is set up like a corkboard with index cards stuck to it (left image above). The corkboard has three columns on which you can place your index cards: a column for things to do, one for things in progress, and another for tasks that are completed. Each index card can be assigned to a person, and you can attach files and due dates to it. You can use Pegby as an individual or share your corkboard with others. The founders of Pegby told me that they’ll soon be launching a program that will offer free, full-featured access to teachers and students with a confirmed educational organization email address.
A simple, free service for sending task reminders to anyone you choose, including yourself. To use Remind Post, enter the recipient’s email address, along with the task he or she needs to do, select a completion date, then enter your email address. Remind Post sends a notice on your behalf to the recipient who will confirm completion of the task. If that’s not done by the date due, Remind Post will send notices until the task is completed. Great for teachers and parents. Students could also set up reminders for themselves.
New Tab to Tasks
The task manager or “to-do list” feature in Gmail is also handy for keeping track of the things you need to get done. The problem is you have to be in your Gmail account to see the list. One solution is available in the form of a Google Chrome extension called New Tab to Tasks, which opens your Gmail to-do list every time you open a new tab in the Google Chrome browser. It’s a little reminder of what you need to do—before you drift back onto Facebook.
Free iOS app InClass enables students to take text, audio, and video notes. Students can also use it to snap pictures of hand-outs, slides, and other valuable information that they see in class. But that’s not all. InClass can also be used as a task management tool to help students keep track of their schedules and assignment due dates (see above right). To share their notes, images, video, and schedules, users can connect InClass to their Facebook accounts.
The Android app that I’m personally using to keep track of my own tasks is ColorNote. After testing a number of apps for a couple of months, I found that ColorNote had the best combination of simplicity and functionality. ColorNote offers a sticky note environment, a calendar option, to-do list options, and the capability to share your notes via email and SMS.
Of course, the best app or web service in the world won’t help you stay organized unless you actually use it. Therefore, it’s important to support our students in their organization goals by helping them learn to use these tools, as well as keep up our end by delivering adequate reminders on what needs to be accomplished.