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The ABC of ELT

Task management systems: Great Apps For Teachers

I’ve had an idea for a new type of regular blog post. It’s about apps and programs which I find useful as a teacher (with some tips that I’ve learnt from using them). The first one is a task management application. That is an application which helps you keep track of different tasks as well as deadlines they have. But why should you use one, and how can you do more with one.

Why teachers should have a task management app

Although us teachers have a lot of repetitive tasks which we need to do every week, there are also irregular tasks that will pop up at unfortunate moments. And if you attempt to have some sort of private life, you’re bound to get some other essential tasks that you need to do.

The challenge is to spread everything out so that we don’t find ourselves suddenly with ten very important deadlines all in the same week. While some of these may not be avoidable (the end of term is always going to be busy) a task management tool can help us stay organized and at least attempt to spread out the load.

With that in mind, here are three apps that I think may work well for you.

Todoist

I used todoist for a long time as it had a couple of very useful features.

  • it works on EVERYTHING (I think it even has a blackberry app)
  • It has a web app so you can log in on any PC
  • It has a good free version

There are also some cool Pro features like tags and filters that let you set up a really custom system that works for you. Unfortunately it is missing a feature that I really like.

Things 3

Things 3 is my personal choice because it is fun to use, beautiful and has a key feature (for me) which Todoist doesn’t. There are a couple of major downsides though. It’s only for Apple devices (iPhone, iPad and Mac) and you have to buy a version for each device. But the key feature is “start dates”.

That is when you set a date and then don’t see that task until that date. This way you can set up a start date a week or two before a task is due and have it’s due date as well. You don’t worry about it until it’s time to start work on it AND you can see when it needs to be finished by.

A paper notebook

The final useful tool is a paper notebook. This let’s you completely customise the way your tasks are displayed but you may have to write things out again. I find that can be a benefit as writing things out helps me to think and reflect, meaning I remember it better during the day rather than just perusing my list on my phone. But this is totally against a system like GTD.

What do you use?

Do you use a task management app? Which one and how do you use yours?

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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