Two Useful Mac Tools to Help Students Track Their Assignments

If you’ve been a student before, you must know the feeling of overwhelmed by all of your assignments at school. As if having to finish all of those ‘slacking time’ killers is not awful enough, you also have to keep track of everything and not drawn in the ocean of deadlines.

Some students just accepted everything as part of their life and moved on (while mumbled red-penciled words along the way), some thought that they’ve had enough and tried to make their points by protesting the authorities, but some others tried to find the way out and came up with these free applications.

Schoolhouse vs iProcrastinate

1. Schoolhouse

As the name suggest, this app is designed to help school students manage their assignments. It has the ability to add, sort and organize assignments, exams, and projects quickly and easily. Students can create notebooks (collection of notes) and notes (the place to actually write class notes). Files and links can be attached to the notes for easy references.

schoolhouse screenshot

Beside the intuitive iTunes-like interface, other thing that I find cool about this app is the ability to easily add “partners” to each assignment. The name of the “partner” will be picked up from the Address Book. Alternatively, if your partner’s name is not in the address book, you can add new person.

schoolhouse_add_partner

Schoolhouse goes further by providing Classcast, a feature which ability is to publish assignments to the web automatically for anyone to subscribe to. And as the final touch, students can chart their scores over the course of the term to keep a general outlook of their progress.

In general, this one is a great application for students. But one important thing is missing, the ability to synchronize the task to iCal. This means no mobile alarm or reminder available when the users are away from the computer.

2. iProcrastinate

This app will allow students to prolong their slacking time and procrastinate more by giving those classroom citizens the ability to create and edit subjects and tasks and breaking them into more simple and manageable steps.

iProcrastinate

Other than all the standard features of task and assignments tracker for students, iProcrastinate has a nice feature of associating files to an assignment and burn those files to CD as backup or as a way to share the materials to peers.

iProcrastinate Burn to CD

If you compare this app with Schoolhouse, iProcrastinate should have an advantage of having the ability to add the tasks to iCal as to dos. But when I tried this feature, nothing happened (maybe it’s just me?). More on having task reminders on the go, iProcrastinate also comes as iPhone application which gives it an edge over Schoolhouse which only available as Mac desktop app.

As for the interface, I prefer Schoolhouse over iProcrastinate. Another downside of iProcrastinate is the “too minimalistic” help file and Preferences. It’s difficult to dig deeper as the website is also too uninformative. For example: the developer claimed that users can create quick task instantly from any application, but even after really trying, I failed to find the way to do so.

Other alternatives

There are other free task and assignment trackers which are not created by students, such as: AssignmentTracker X (an open-source project) and Task List (no longer under development and is unsupported, but still works fine under Leopard).

What about you? Do you use one of these tools or do you know other better alternatives? Share using the comment below.