David Papp Blog

5 most helpful back-to-school apps

Getting organized for school can be tricky. Luckily, there are amazing mobile apps available that provide smart solutions. Need help managing your schedule, keeping up with deadlines or organizing your notes? These apps aim to make your academic life more structured to help you get ahead in your pursuit for excellence in school.

SimpleMind Free

This free mind mapping tools helps you flesh out your ideas in a platform that allows you to look at things in a more structured and organized format. Brainstorming has never been so efficient!

This app allows you to easily modify and edit your mind maps with ease, connect complex mind maps to simpler ones, add images, links, notes and tasks. You can easily collaborate online as well, since the mind map can be shared and stored in the cloud.

Get the app for Android or iOS devices.

MyHomework Student Planner

This app allows you to ditch that heavy and bulky planner and switch to a more streamlined platform that can be installed in any mobile device – even on a Kindle!

Easily add your class schedules, homework, tests, projects and lessons and get reminded with an alert before it’s due. You’ll never miss a deadline or a class again.

Visit the app’s website to download.


This jam-packed app is the ultimate productivity tool that allows you to document everything in an organized platform from start to finish. Never lose any data as it all gets stored in the cloud. You can even clip helpful and interesting articles to your notes, attach photos, voice memos, and more. Learn more about it.


Imagine having your Google Spreadsheets and Microsoft Excel files in a format similar to a study deck of cards that allows you to manage and share them in a quick and easy way. The app also enables you to add video and audio clips. A free iOS and Android version is available. If you want to get rid of the ads that can get pretty distracting, you can get the app for $4.99 at the AppStore.


Learning a new language opens doors and opens up new possibilities. Duolingo is a free app where you can learn Spanish, German and French (more languages to come in the future). All you have to do is create an account, choose a language, and complete one skill level at a time that corresponds to a level of difficulty, letting you learn the language at your own pace. Get it from the AppStore or Google Play.

36 thoughts on “5 most helpful back-to-school apps”

  1. I find Evernote to be very helpful to me when I was still in college. I love how you can record notes in Evernote so I always keep a recording of our classes which is very useful specially when exams are coming.

  2. I love Evernote! I use it for everything from school work, work, home, etc. The pro membership is totally worth the storage space. I would be completely lost without my Evernote account.

  3. As useful as these are many schools will not allow students to have smartphones active in the classroom. In fact, many schools prohibit even having a phone on your person. Now I have never been one to follow rules just because some petty official says I have to, and I send my children to school every day with smartphones so I can get in touch with them if I need too as well as keep track of them.

    I can’t wait till the small town school board pulls its head out of its rear end and starts adopting a digital lifestyle like I have taught my children to do since they were born.

    • I completely agree with you, taki.

      I insist my kids take their phones to school whether they are allowed to or not. I don’t intend for them to blatantly whip it out and cause a scene, but emergencies do happen and I want them to have the means to deal with that emergency.

      I’d think educators would be happy to foster an environment of spur of the moment research during class discussion. For example, during a class talk about the civil war, kids could look up dates or place names so they could have more to contribute to a discussion.

      I understand the logistics of this would be difficult, but I think the no phone in school thing is ridiculous.

    • The thing is, teachers and parents should teach the kids to be responsible in using the gadgets while in school and at home. This way, there would’nt be any rules loke this that hinders the progress of leveraging technolgy with the kids learning.

  4. Like most people I have heard of, and user Evernote, but not the others mentioned. I will be checking out the others though, I think it is absolutely essential that you can a.)back up to the cloud, and b.)sync your notes across different devices.

    I like the look of the mind mapping app you mentioned, I am someone who needs to see ideas spread out on screen in order to follow them through logically.

    @taki – I could not agree more, we live in a digital age and classrooms need to find a balance between allowing smartphones for the purpose of helping students, and making sure it is controlled.

  5. Evernote and Duolingo are fantastic apps for school. Duolingo is absolutely essential for anyone taking a foreign language class. It is a great way to keep yourself ahead when learning a new language. My experience with evernote has also been great for organization. Great list!

    • I totally agree with you, Rob! I’m currently learning Dutch! I was so pleased to find out Duolingo has that language available as well! Couldn’t be happier to be honest! I had tried Duolingo before, but I did it with a different language and the site was totally different back then (it has improved considerably since I last tried it). I’m taking the ”placing” test, I guess the result will be ”beginner” 😉

  6. Evernote is really helpful in school. Another great app that helped me was SimpleMind that app helped me a lot when I’m making projects and thinking of ideas. Since I’m a art major I had to constantly make creative projects and that app really helped me remember and organize my ideas. It has some minor quirks that I don’t really like though.

  7. The Mrs. loves Duolingo. For me, it’s one of those things that’s great in theory and you want to do, but likely never will. Still, love the concept.

    Evernote is amazing and something I use all the time. It’s cross compatible with virtually all platforms and provides amazing organization features. I would recommend most people jump on this band wagon sometime soon if they haven’t already.

    Never heard of gFlashPro, but after reading the description I’ll give it a try. Thanks David.

  8. I will definitely be telling my daughter about the My homework student planner. That seems like something she can really make use out of. I am glad they have in for android since that the phone she has. She is so forgetful so she needs something like this.

  9. Duolingo and Evernote have certainly been interesting for me. I lost my phone before I got a chance to try Duolingo mobile though, but I certainly love using it on my computer. It’s a fast and easy way to learn a variety of languages. I like Evernote a lot too, I was able to save tons of notes whenever I need to, instead of having to remember it all. I was even able to add pictures which I found pretty cool. Great post!

  10. Duolingo is probably the best language teaching app I’ve used for a while. I think it’s better than Rosetta Stone and the best part is you can download it for free. I also loved Evernote although I find some of it’s features somewhat lacking but still, it’s the best note taking app out there.

    • I loved Duolingo! But i prefer the web version, the app version doesn’t appeal to me at all! I don’t know why, but for some reason the online version seems to be way more interactive that the app version, maybe I just like the way the online version is organized. It’s a wonderful way to learn a language, no matter what 🙂

  11. I have downloaded these apps and while they are indeed rather useful perhaps a good calendar app could be mentioned. I use Sunrise and I have found the application to be rather user friendly and good looking to boot. But I must admit that Duolingo is quite wonderful and has helped me be quite productive during the inevitable downtime I get in school.

    • Duolingo really is the best, I agree! I really do not know what magic they use to make it so cute and fun and practically trick you into learning- but it works! There was even an independent study to test the effectiveness of duolingo vs. a university semester. Check it out!


  12. Great list! My college will be starting in a week or two and these apps could prove useful to me! And, Duolingo is one of my favourite phone apps. I use it to learn Spanish when I am bored. Learning is fun in Duolingo. Looks like I’ll need to install MyHomework Student Planner as I tend to miss out on homework sometimes. I also suggest a free Android app known as Hashnote. Helps to maintain quick notes and reminders using hashtags.

  13. Even though you shared this for students, I just had to download the following 2 suggestions for myself.
    SimpleMind Free -I will be keeping this app for personal use.
    MyHomework Student Planner – I will save it just to show others who may need it.

    Tools like these should make a student’s life manageable. I’m pleased you mentioned them.

  14. Thank you for sharing these amazing apps. I have not personally used any of these apps myself but I do known others who have. I would recommend the Duolingo app for students because it is always useful to learn another language. I would also recommend the MyHomework Student Planner because I know when I was in college I could never keep track of what I had to do for a certain class. With this app, it allows you to set reminders easily.

  15. I don’t know that I would describe all of these as “back to school” apps. However, the MyStudent Homework Planner sounds really interesting. I want to check it out a bit more, but if it is simple to use and manipulate, it might be a great option for students struggling with organization. Many students have iPhones and iPads, so utilizing that technology to help them succeed in school instead of always viewing it as a hindrance is key.

  16. Thank you for this. I have a son who is having trouble keeping up with his assignments. Of course he is attached to his phone so this will be perfect for him. He is still in high school and I also hope it helps him for when he goes to college.

  17. The only one of these I’ve ever used is evernote, which I really enjoy using. I can make notes on my laptop or phone and have them all in one place whenever I need them. It really comes in handy between work and school. I also use it for things like grocery and to-do lists.

    I’m going to give Duolingo a try…I’d like to learn some new things and could use it when I’m in waiting rooms or long lines 🙂

  18. Not a student anymore, but Duolingo and EverNote are both very useful apps for me. As someone who never learned another language in school, Duolingo has been very enjoyable option to learn a new language. The interface itself and how things are progressing as you learn more is quite interesting. I do hope I’d be able to use french in the near future.

    While, evernote has been a goto app before when I was still im school, it is still very useful in the office settings, since I always like to note down my ideas on my phone, but usually forget to transfer it in my laptop for further research and details.

    Great article David.

  19. The only one I’ve heard from this list is Duolingo, but I haven’t tried the app, I just use the website. The SimpleMind one seems great, might try it out. The others are good too, but I don’t know, they might be kind of useless for some people that just use paper.

  20. Awesome post. Thanks for these.

    One of my friends who has an iPad has an app that let’s him take notes on it (he has an external keyboard that attaches onto it to take notes in class) and organizes it into binders. Forgive me for forgetting the name but with a couple google searches you should be able to find it. From a brief look at it I was pretty impressed.

  21. Hmmm. Sounds interesting, worth giving a shot, but in my opinion, if you really want to excel in academic life the roles of cell phones and other gadgets should be minimum for obvious reasons – they’re one big distraction and potentially the reason you can fail. If you vow to use them only in the free time, then these apps can be a gift from. God to you, but if you cut down your study and important time just to use these apps, then they could turn out to be the presents from Satan.

  22. I love SimpleMind Free! It’s an amazing app! I learnt how to use and create my own mind maps when I was just 14 years old. Ever since I have been using them to take notes and also brainstorming. They are wonderful if you are trying to remember as much information as possible on a very specific topic without having to write a lot notes! But I never liked how tedious it could be to create the mind maps by hand.

    That’s why I’m so happy there are apps like SimpleMind Free online, this app makes the process way easier and faster! I mean, mind mapping was already faster than taking notes the old-fashioned way, but this app makes the process even faster and more efficient!

  23. I will forward these on to my kids so they can be prepared for tests, quizzes and the like. Hopefully they will use them efficiently and appropriately in and outside of the school grounds.

  24. I love the Simplemind app! It is definitely an unique idea and it really helps me learn better by structuring my notes with ease.
    Duolingo is an awesome app. I’ve really struggled with some languages and it helped me learn some things easier.
    MyHomework Planner is also an amazing app for organizing your schedules!

  25. G flash is pretty cool. I can use it if im trying to memorize stuff. Its helpful and I really recommend it to you all.

  26. I will have to check some of these out for my daughter. It is always nice to find programs like this that are accessible on my phone.

  27. SimpleMind is and will always be my favorite app, the free version is great, but if you want to take full advantage of the software. I learnt to create my own mind maps when I was just a teen, the only thing I didn’t like was how tedious it was to create them, but it still was much better than taking notes!

    Then this wonderful app came along, and it made things easier and faster! I love it! Mind mapping is the best way to take notes and the most natural one, since the way we take notes normally is wrong, because is linear. Actually the way we place things in a mind map is how our brain organizes information in our brain.

  28. The sole app I use from this list is Evernote. That is all I truly need for everything because they have all the features and tools I require to help me save, remember and have a much more productive day than I initially thought. I use it everyday for almost everything. There is no purpose for any other app like it when they’ve improved the app to be of such high quality.

  29. I’ve used ever note and duolingo. Ever note is good for recording anything your doing at the moment. Clips, text,voice, and pics all can be added to your current memo. Duolingo is very useful and extremely good at teaching another language. It checks your speech and checks that you remember what you learn.

  30. These apps look great! I wish there had been something like this around when I was at school – I would have been far more organized! The language learning app looks particularly appealing.

  31. I use Evernote on everything these days. Too bad it’s not free, but it really is worth paying for anyway. It makes note-taking so easy, organized, and effortless. I’ve experimented with other notepads and note taking apps before, but nothing really quite does it like Evernote. I often put my presentation drafts in there in case I forget them.

Comments are closed.