While most of us would agree that our kids spend too much time on their iPads, there are actually tons of applications out there that can be quite useful for students.  If they can’t put it down anyway, why not put that device to some good use?  

*Before we get started, it is worth noting that all these apps have a free version available and also that I do not have any affiliation with any of the companies mentioned.  With any app, it’s definitely recommended that you check it out yourself before telling your child to download it.

Google Calendar  

How many of us WISH our child would use her diary more?  It seems that even if things do get written down, they are just forgotten.  Given the reminder facilities and the fact that her device is permanently attached to her hand anyway, there is a far better chance that an electronic equivalent will be used effectively.

While most devices come with a stock calendar pre-installed, Google Calendar lets you create notes and to-do lists within the app.  With all the colour-coding options (great for distinguishing between assignments and tests) and notifications and event repetition items, there will be no excuses for missing due dates again.  There are also plenty of other calendars out there that are pretty good as well – sometimes using productivity tools effectively comes down to the aesthetics.

Office Lens

This app is particularly good for students who want to capture images from a whiteboard or TV monitor.  Images are automatically flattened and cropped and the contrast and brightness settings are adjusted for optimal readability.  Remarkably, the app manages to cut out glare from screens and even produces pretty clear images in low light.


A lot of students run out of storage space on their device, what with all the selfie-shots and videos they take.  Dropbox is less of an ‘app’ and (as Dropbox calls itself) a workspace, letting you store and access all of your documents safely from any device.  It is also useful where more than one person is working on a project at a time.  Files can be shared with specific people and even those that would chew up huge amounts of data if you were to email them back and forth are easily accessed.

There are other alternatives, such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.  The point is that there really is no excuse these days for losing work.



Many students find it hard to avoid external distractions and apps like Noisli aim to provide a background environment that helps them to focus on their work.  (Of course, switching off message notifications is also important.)

Goal trackers

If your child is in her senior years, a dedicated goal tracker, such as Beeminder or lifetick might be worth a look.  Most students own a smartwatch or activity tracker and love clocking up steps every day.  Why not apply the same principle in encouraging them to get their work done?  Many of these apps produce great-looking charts and reward you for progress.  It’s actually a pretty good idea for us adults too!

Talk about it with your child

Rather than just nagging them to get things done, remember that kids love using technology.  Suggesting that they look into using their devices to help them get things done might just be the bridge that you need to have this conversation in a constructive way.  Who knows – that device you’re always trying to get them off might actually be part of a solution for a change!