Somehow the summer has flown by and the back-to-school season is well under way. While I’m personally enjoying the fact that I am not in the position of getting ready for a school season, I did think it was a good time to plug two of my favorite school-related applications. While there are many standard applications that are considered “school necessities,” the two applications I’d like to share with you today, Schoolhouse 2 and iFlash, are lesser-known applications that can help you get organized and study for exams.

I discovered Schoolhouse 2 in my very last semester of a professional program I was enrolled in and I’ve been kicking myself that I never looked for something like it sooner. It’s a free/by donation application that calls itself a “homework manager,” but I find it to be much more than that. Schoolhouse 2 uses a simple interface that’s very similar to iTunes. It allows you to define semesters, class-loads and instructors (even an area to add your instructors contact information) and then gives you a tracking area for quizzes, upcoming assignments and projects. You can define priority levels to assignments, due-dates, add notes and tasks.

My favorite feature is the project center. It’s a great home base that allows you to list all of the related files for a project and even email the files to individuals or groups that you’re collaborating with. For example, I worked on a large group project for my pathology class in my last semester. My project center allowed me to list the pictures, Word documents, Keynote presentations, notes and a list of tasks all in one window so I could see all of my project elements and keep track of what I needed to do. When I finished my portion of the project I was able to email it to my group and we could edit things as needed. It was a great way to keep everything organized and really helped me visually break down the project into tasks so that I was less apt to wait until the last minute and stress out over how much work was left. As a veteran procrastinator this was a big plus for me!

iFlash is a recent find of mine. While I’m not in school, as a technician I am frequently studying for new certifications. Flash cards work very well for my learning style; kinesthetic and visual. While there are several flash card applications out there, I particularly like iFlash because it allows me to add pictures and audio to my flash cards and I have the option of studying on my computer or sending my card deck to an iPhone or iPod touch and studying on the go. For those who like the tactile benefit of flash cards, the decks can also be printed out on paper. The only flaw I’ve found so far is that pictures and audio can’t be displayed on the iPhone or iPod touch, but other than that it’s an easy and versatile program.

For those of you heading back into the educational trenches, cheers to a great year!


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