We thought it was time to start updating our “There’s a Special App for That” posts, just in time for the new year! We’re still using all of the apps we recommended in Part 1 of Apps to improve organizational skills for students with learning disabilities – but we wanted to add 9 MORE that we think are highly effective for students with learning disabilities. Have a look at our others in the series:
- There’s a special app for that – Part 2 UPDATE: 6 apps to create social stories
- There’s a special app for that – Part 1 UPDATE: 9 MORE apps to improve organizational skills for students with learning disabilities
- There’s a special app for that – Part 11: Creative apps for digital storytelling
- There’s a special app for that – Part 10: Apps for behavior management and intervention
- There’s a special app for that – Part 9: Apps for college/university students with learning disabilities
- There’s a special app for that – Part 8: Apps that support the development of autonomy and independence
- There’s a special app for that – Part 7: Apps that support literacy instruction
- There’s a special app for that – Part 6: 3 Methods of Using Augmentative Communication Apps To Support Different Languages
- There’s a special app for that – Part 5: 5 Mind Mapping Apps for Students with Learning Disabilities
- There’s a special app for that – Part 4: 16 Apps for Elementary Students with Non-Verbal Learning Disability
- There’s a special app for that – Part 3: 5 Apps that develop fine motor skills
- There’s a special app for that – Part 2: 5 (+1) Apps to develop social skills for students with special needs
- There’s a special app for that – Part 1: 5 Apps to improve organizational skills for students with learning disabilities
Visual calendars or reminders
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Some students with learning disabilities can benefit from a multisensory approach to a to-do list, reminder, or calendar. Attaching a visual (picture) to text can provide a reminder of what to do in a specific situation, can enhance comprehension, promote more independence and can assist students to articulate what they have done that day (or what they need to do).
Photomind is a simple app that attaches a specific photo to a reminder or task. The student can set a reminder for a specific time of the day. We have used this for homework with several students-the student simply takes a picture of his/her homework for the day as a visual reminder. Students then have a series of visual reminders of what they have to do for homework that day. This can also be used for appointments, events, and projects.
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2. Visual Schedule Planner
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If your child or student requires more than simply a visual reminder, Visual Schedule Planner is a good bet. Some of the nice features for students with learning disabilities: the ability to record your own voice and add it to an event (students can record reminders or important information) as well as the different formats that are available to view your calendar (daily, weekly and monthly). There is also an activity schedule (useful for breaking down a task into a series of visual steps).
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If you are looking for a very different type of visual calendar app for an older student, you might want to give Doozy a try. Doozy offers a very non-traditional format for a calendar. Students can add their events with a personal picture or icon available within the app, anywhere on the main page. The app also has a task management element to it-a task can be displayed until the student indicates that it is finished. App safari has a review of Doozy here.
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4. Quickvoice Recorder &
5. Audio Memos
If your child or student prefers to record information verbally rather than writing it down, the Quickvoice Recorder or Audio Memos apps are a great way for students or teachers to record “voice memos” (quick instructions, reminders, homework assignments, events, etc). The voice memo is timestamped and recorded as an audio file that can be exported afterwards. Very helpful if students only have access to a mobile device at school; the teacher can send an audio file through e-mail. Free versions of both apps are available; however, in-app purchases in Audio Memos offers advanced features that are helpful, such as exporting to Evernote and Dropbox, as well as attaching photos to an audio memo.
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Notetaking, Research, Project Planning
Although we are big fans of comprehensive productivity and organizational tools like Evernote, Pearltrees, and Springpad, sometimes we have students that need simplicity in the tool they use. Apps that are easy to use, offer alternative formats to notetaking (such as the ability to take non-linear notes) and have the ability to be exported into multiple formats are ones that we often recommend.
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PaperHelper is a simple concept: it splits your screen in half. One side becomes a word processor, and the other presents the source of information (web page, document, etc.) This allows students to better organize the writing process: simply cut and paste resources from the web when researching information, or have resources from the web readily accessible when writing.
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Notability is one of the best apps we have encountered for students that require more extensive support for notetaking and project planning. The non-linear quality to notetaking is what makes this app stand out. The app allows the student to take notes anywhere on the page as well as import photos from the web or personal photos. The app also features audio syncing (the student’s notes are linked to audio that was spoken at that point in time). This is a great feature for students with learning disabilties as it eliminates the need to take extensive written notes-simply write down a few important key words.
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Inkflow is an easy to use notetaking or project planning app that allows the student to import photos into the notes. Like Notability, the app provides the ability to combine handwriting and typed text in one document. However, the great thing about Inkflow is the simplicity of the user experience-a good introductory notetaking app that allows students to draw or write anywhere on the page.
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9. Sticky Notes
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For an even simpler solution, Sticky Notes can be used for notetaking, project planning, or for writing organization. Literally a virtual sticky note, the student has the ability to move the notes around on the page in order to categorize, classify or organize ideas. And its a free app.
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Do you have additional apps to improve organizational skills for students with learning disabilities? Please post them below!