Over the past couple of months I have went from one extreme to another when it comes to providing assistive technology (AT) consultations. By far the number one reason I am asked to provide AT consults is to assist in finding appropriate communication systems for students who are non-verbal. However, recently I have been brought in to help with a number of students who suffer from ADHD or similar disorders. These students may be performing well (many are straight A students), but struggle with time management, prioritizing, scheduling and other skills that are necessary for success. Because of this I thought I would use today’s post as an opportunity to list a few task management apps that students who struggle in these areas may benefit from. Since many of the students I work with have access to a smart phone or other mobile device such as an iPod, most of the listings below are found in App stores, but some have a web based or installable software version as well.
A quick disclaimer… These are just a few of the many options available at the time of this writing. These are not recommendations, just options. As opposed to listing 10 apps that do the same thing, I tried breaking them into categories. The one you or your student finds most beneficial will be dependent on individuals needs.
Basic Task Management Apps:
These apps are very basic. Create a list (grocery list, class assignments, etc…), then add items to that list. You can also add reminders in case you forget to check.
Reminders App for iPhone – Free: The reminders app comes with iOS 5 and is very basic, but user friendly. Create lists, then add items to those lists. Once an item is complete, simply check it off. Complete items will be sent to a “Completed” list so that you can retrieve later if necessary.
– .99 cents at time of writing – Clear is another very basic app. You can manage multiple lists and prioritize items on those lists unlike the Reminders app. Somehow this app is just fun to use. It has a very clever interface and is easy to manipulate. The standard theme shows items at the top of the list with a red background (these are a higher priority) and gradually changes to a lighter color as you get further down the list. To move an item, just hold down on the item and move it whichever direction you would like.
Apps better suited for projects:
The basic apps mentioned above are great for basic things. For example, if there are 6 or 8 things I need to get done today I can list them all on one list, prioritize them in some cases, then check them off as they are completed. However, many things require multiple steps or collaboration. For those purposes, these apps can help:
Wunderlist – Free – Although Wunderlist does’nt allow you to create sub-items it is not short on features. Wunderslist is free and is available as an app, web based application or installable software on a mac or pc. Once you setup an account your lists sync to the cloud and are available on any device you use. In addition to the basics, you can also share lists with other users, which is great for group work. You can also email items from Wunderlist, or send an email to Wunderlist with items to add. You can add notes, change the look and much more.
ToDo by Appigo – $4.99 – ToDo – ToDo is a more robust task management app. In addition to the basics (adding items, reminders, prioritizing, etc…), ToDo allows you to add multiple reminder alerts, create sub-tasks for items, add notes to tasks complete with clickable phone numbers and links, advanced searching and much more.
Producteev – Producteev is a web site that allows you to create, track and prioritize tasks. You can add collaborators to your projects (one for free, then upgrade for a fee), which is a nice feature for teams or group work. You can access producteev from the web, a mobile app for the iPhone or Adroid, or installable software for the mac and PC.
I really like the feature of sharing your to-do list with others that is available on second set of apps listed. As mentioned, prioritizing is a skill many students have difficulty with. Some students prioritize a 5 point assignment the same as a 100 point assignment. The ability to share or collaborate on lists gives students the ability to have a mentor or parent assist them with prioritizing items on their list.
As mentioned, this is only a few of the many apps that are out there. More comprehensive (and expensive) supports with companion apps such as MyLIfeOrganized and OmniFocus are also available for those needing additional tools and supports. If anyone reading uses a task management app that they would recommend please add it to the comments section of this post.