rAPPido Review: iStudiez Pro

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.57.11 AMLast year I reviewed the light version of Istudiez Pro. Even with the light version, it clearly had a lot of options that were very useful for us. So I decided to splurge and pay the $2.99 to try out the paid version.

The difference between the lite version and the pro version is that the lite version limits you to:

– 1 semester
– 5 courses
– 15 classes/exams per course
– 15 assignments
– 5 instructors
– 2 holiday periods

 

But for the low price of $2.99 you can have (I am assuming) unlimited semesters, etc. For this review, I thought it would be good to pretend I was a student,so I have shamelessly stolen my daughter’s schedule. I did this instead of using a generic student because I have a calendar of her extra curriculars in my iCal, and the great thing about Istudiez pro is that you can sync your calendars to the app.

The first thing I did after buying the app was to go into settings–>calendar and choose the calendars I wanted to appear in my homework app. This included my personal calendar as well as the feeds I subscribe to from the school’s web calendar:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.58.27 AM

 

Students can subscribe to their class feeds for  exams and large projects as well. Then I wanted to see if you could create assignments without creating courses, etc.:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.04.31 AM

 

This is important as some girls will not want to add all the infrastructure (eg. semester, classes schedule, instructor) which they would have to do by hand. They have this information in many other places so it might not be necessary.

Having said that, some girls will want to be as organized as possible. So I timed myself to see how long it took  to add my daughter’s semester, classes and teachers:

Adding the semester (about 1 minute):

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.09.59 AM

 

Okay- it took me about two minutes to figure out where I can add my courses. Starting at 10:12 am.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.17.04 AM

 

It took me about five minutes to add my classes. Once again, students could stop here. They have their schedules usually screenshotted on their iPad so do not necessarily need to add their schedule into the app.  But let’s pretend I am a keener and want all my info in one place. Will the app be able to deal with our weird 2 week schedule? Let us see!

It took me about five minutes to add the PE schedule:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.27.50 AM

 

Because we have a 2 week schedule, I had to be careful to begin the semester for the Week 2 classes on January 12, instead of January 6 so that the schedule would be accurate. As you can see, it is pretty time-consuming and probably not necessary, but very doable. Here is how it looks like in calendar view:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.32.29 AM

 

Now I have noticed that the assignments don’t show up in the calendar view. Dots show up on the small calendar to notify you that you have something due, but it does not show up in the calendar view. It is possible to add a new event on the calendar:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.59.46 AM

 

But then they wouldn’t be in Assignments…

The day view allows you to see your schedule as well as the assignments due:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.03.17 AM

 

It also gives you the ability to add either an event on your schedule or another assignment on the day. With assignments, you can choose when you want to be alerted of the due date:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.05.08 AM

 

It is possible to either import your teacher’s contact information by allowing istudiez to access your contacts. I did this and it too me about one second. But I am assuming the student would not already have the teacher in their contacts:

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 11.09.25 AM

 

There is also a grade tracker which we will ignore- students can or cannot explore this option on their own.

Our conclusion?

  • Easy and quick to use: (2/2)

Yes, depending on how many things you want to input into the planner. If you want to input your whole schedule, it will take you some time but it is do-able and pretty easy, if a little onerous. But if you are happy with simply adding classes and assignments, it won’t take you very much time at all!

  • Clean, intuitive interface: (2/2)

Yes. I really like the default interface, which is the daily view. On what side you have your schedule, and on the other side you have the assignments due that day. It is clean and very helpful.

  • Different views (daily, weekly, monthly) of all assignments:(1/3)

And once again, here is where the app lets us down. There is a daily view of both schedules and assignments, but the weekly view is only what has been put into the calendar, not the assignments due. Although we can see when we have something due by the little dots on the monthly view, it doesn’t get more specific than that.

  • Different colours for different classes:(1/1)

Yes! It was very pretty.

  • Alerts for assignments (1/1)

Yes, the alerts lets you choose when you want to be reminded- a day before, etc.However there is no repeat.

  • If not free, then cheap (2/2)

Yes. The upgraded version is only $2.99

  • Easily synced with your other devices: (3/3)

Yes- you can sync iStudiezpro with iCloud and you can import your iCal calendars and your subscribed calendars into the app.

Result: 12/14

Not bad, but the inability to get a nice visual of your assignments due in a week is still a problem. I wonder if the Istudiez pro would consider making adding assignments to the calendar as an option? If so, it would get a 14/14!

 

A Student’s Perspective on iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro

In Anticipation for Tomorrow’s Presentation, I thought I would post this article reviewing the app iStudiez Pro. here is Mr. Snelgrove’s conclusion:

My Recommendation

If you’re a starving student or a parent trying to figure out how to make sure your kid gets through the seventh grade, I can’t recommend iStudiez Pro highly enough. It suffers from a little bit of feature bloat, but in this app’s case, one student’s feature bloat is another student’s paradise. Since I started using the app, my grades have gone up, my productivity has more than doubled, and my schedule has become much easier to manage. Even planning vacations got a lot easier when I could see where the gaps were in between assignments and work.

It is helpful to see how an actual student uses the app. With that in mind, I asked my daughter to try out the app for the couple of months. She is also a big fan though I notice she doesn’t use it for her class schedule. When I asked her whey, she said she couldn’t figure it out.

I think the main challenge for our school will be the importing of the bi-weekly schedule in the app. The way they ask you to input your class schedule does not allow for alternate weeks. This only means that they will have to manually input their schedule into the calendar, instead of using the planner section of the app.

But more on that tomorrow!

 

The Search for the Perfect Student Agenda App Continued…

Erudio

Erudio

This morning while following up on the student agenda app quest, I stumbled upon another option: Euridio. Because Erudio has a free version, I was able to download it and try it out…

Once again, here is my criteria:

  • Easy to use
  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • easy to import schedules
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask.
  • Easy to input assignments
  • Different colours for different classes
  • Alerts for assignments
  • If not free, then cheap
  • Easily synced with your other devices

Easy to use

Yes and No. It took me a while to figure out the hierarchy you need to follow so that it works well. In case you are wondering that hierarchy would be to plug in your academic term –>courses–>then finally, tasks. However, it didn’t take me long to figure it out and once I did things went swimmingly.

Clean, intuitive interface

Yes! Take the Timeline option, for example:

photo

 

Lovely, warm wood panelling as a background with some nice clean white space for each week. The icons on the left remain no matter what mode you are in.

Easy to import schedules

Here is where Euridio will not do. There is no way to import your schedule that I can find though you can sync your classes with your ical. However the problem is larger than that- when you are plugging in your schedule manually, it only allows you to add a class per day. As we work on a two week schedule, where students have say science on different days during that week, this is a huge problem:

photo

 

It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask.

Yeah. Not even gonna touch that one…

Different colours for different classes?

Check.

Alerts for assignments?

Check. Though you can turn them off. Mr. P was checking out iStudiezpro and found the notifications annoying. But I think this might be a personal preference more than anything….

If not free, then cheap

Yes- there is a free version as I mentioned above which only allows you to manage ten tasks at a time. The paid version is $2.99.

Easily synced with your other devices

Yes- you can sync via iCloud.

Something I have not added to my criteria but is very useful, is the feature available in iStudiezPro and iHomework to add the contact info of your instructors as well as be able to see your iCal in the planner along with what assignments are due that day.

All in all, iStudiezPro is a better option so far…

Meandering through some Best Apps lists to get to iHomework

This morning I woke up and remembered my promise to research student agenda apps. After responding to the morning emails, watering my lovely Christmas tree and retrieving the essential cup of coffee (which seems to be going down faster than it is waking me up) I sat down and typed ipad app student agenda into my search engine.

And then promptly got distracted by all the best apps list.

I clicked on the first link from Gizmodo. It was a list  written in 2010 and had absolutely no student agenda in it at all, but what it did have was an awesome news section. I sat, sipping my coffee, wondering why I have never downloaded the BBC news app or NPR app or even the NYT Editor’s choice. Why? Oh why has it taken me so long? It is because I have a serious CBC addiction, that is why. New Year’s resolution: switch up my news sources.

But then I focused and realized the Gizmodo list was not only old, but had no student agendas on it. (As a librarian, I should n=know it was a faulty search, but I was having fun darn it.)

Mint.comPrice: free

Mint.com
Price: free

Next link was a more recent list by PC Mag, written last month.I perused this list for a while, but their format is unwieldy, making you click and then wait for the next app to load. Alsom they do not shy away from the really expensive apps. Still, a few things stood out- especially this one app, mint.com  which I noticed in this article entitled Back to School: 15 Essential iOS  for Students (written back in the summer of 2011).

It made me wonder what we are doing to teach financial literacy to our students. Do we teach budgeting anymore? I have a vague memory of a home economics class where I had to keep a budget.  I am going to download this app and give it a whirl…

Darn. Got distracted again.

The above article also mentioned istudiezpro, which I have already reviewed (at least the lite version). But it also mentions ihomework. Now I am confused as to why a student would need both? Do they not do the same thing? Let us compare…

Here is what the article says about the two apps:

istudiezpro$2.99

istudiezpro
$2.99

8. iStudiez Pro

Cost: $2.99

Supported devices: iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

Why you need it: Organize even the most complicated course schedule with iStudiez. Visualize your classes, activities and assignments on this well designed color-coded calendar. Like many of the other organization apps, you can set reminders for major events and track your grades and GPA.http://mashable.com/2011/08/17/iphone-apps-students/

 

7. iHomework

Cost: $1.99

Supported devices: iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

ihomeworkPrice: $1.99

ihomework
Price: $1.99

Why you need it: Before you invest in a leather-bound planner, vowing to religiously log all your to-dos, consider iHomework instead. The app will keep your schedule and workflow streamlined, alerting you with all your deadlines and assignments. If a friend sleeps though class (the app alerts you for class so you’ll never be the one sleeping late) you can share missed assignments though email. Log your grades so you know what your report card will look like in advance.

Now let us revisit our citeria:

  • Easy to use
  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • easy to import schedules
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask.
  • Easy to input assignments
  • Different colours for different classes
  • Alerts for assignments
  • If not free, then cheap
  • Easily synced with your other devices

As ihomework does not have a lite version, I cannot test it out. But judging from the screenshots, the interface looks simple and easy to use:

mzl.spngsfwp.320x480-75

It bills itself as “[the] only school organizer available for iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, and Mac. Add your work on the go and sync it with your laptop when you get the time.”Which is obviously not true. But it is syncable with your other devices.

Otherwise, I can’t see much difference between this one and istudiezpro, except that it is a dollar cheaper.

I think we might need a student focus group to solve this dilemma for us. Which is better: ihomework or istudiezpro?

 

 

 

Student Agendas on the iPad: Part 1

This morning I received a message in my inbox asking me if I know anything about student agendas on the iPad. I answered the way I always do: No, but I can look.

First thing’s first though. What are we looking for? I am assuming that the app would be a replacement for the paper agendas we hand out to the students each year. Some features would be:

  • Easy to use
  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • easy to import schedules
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask.
  • Easy to input assignments
  • Different colours for different classes
  • Alerts for assignments
  • If not free, then cheap
  • Easily synced with your other devices

That is all I can think of for now, but it is a start.

istudiezpro$2.99

istudiezpro
$2.99

To begin with, I read this article by a student way back in 2011 who uses his iPad for school. He mentions ihomework and istudiezpro. Then I read this other article from 2010 which also mentions these two apps.

Because istudiezpro has a lite version I decided to try this one out first.

Can you access my calendar? Well, yes please! My life is on my calendar. I would like my life in my agenda:

photo

I used the sample courses because, well, I don’t have any courses. I am the librarian.

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You can add an assignment to your class as well as add a partner from your contacts or add a new partner:

photo

You can have a day view or a week view (but no month view, at least not in the lite version):

photo

You have the option to sync to icloud when you buy the paid version. You can also change your settings, though I don’t see a place for push notifications. Perhaps in the paid version?

photo

When you tap on the folder with the paperclip you can see all the assignments that are due and even those that are completed. You can add new ones and decide what their priority is:

photo

You can also add your instructors to your agenda with all their contact info:

photo

If you tap the house icon you can add your courses:

So does it meet our criteria? Let us see:

  • Easy to use? √
  • Clean, intuitive interface? 
  • easy to import schedules?   Yes, if your schedule is already in icalendar or google calendar
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask? x But that might have been too much to ask. Still, I dream of a world where all our applications talk to each other. How lovely would it be for an incoming grade 7 student to be able to import all her classes, teacher info, etc. from the intranet. Or when a teacher posts an assignment on the portal for it to automatically be updated into their agenda? I know. Dream on.
  • Easy to input assignments?  
  • Different colours for different classes?  √
  • Alerts for assignments? X At least I don’t think so…Let me try to make an assignment due in two minutes and see if I get a notification….Hmmm. You can’t get more specific than due today and I don’t see istudiez in my notification centre so I guess not.
  • If not free, then cheap?  √ Yes- the paid version is only $2.99
  • Easily synced with your other devices?  √

So istudiezpro fares pretty well with the haphazard criteria I set for it. Is there anything else a student agenda should be able to do?

Let me know!

Next in the student agenda saga…ihomework.