20 Time-Saving Mac Apps for Teachers

Today we’ll be looking at twenty applications that will enhance your classroom experience. The apps range in focus from elementary up through higher education and span multiple disciplines.

Each app has been separated into one of six categories: Lesson Planning, Grading, Testing Tools, Teachers as Students, Teaching Tools, and For the Classroom. Let’s get started!

You should also take a look at our roundup of 6 Back To College Apps for Mac.

Lesson Planning

Lesson planning can be among the largest tasks a teacher must undertake from year to year. These applications can help make this daunting endeavor a bit easier.

Teacher Studio

Using Teacher Studio, you can easily keep track of your student grades, open and due items, attendance, lessons, documents and more. The app itself was designed by a teacher, and with ease in mind, and the interface can be navigated with only a few clicks.

Price: $79.95

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Teacher Studio

Lesson Planner

Designed and developed by experienced teachers working in real schools with real pupils, Lesson Planner will reduce your planning time. The great interface and low learning curve, without compromising on quality or features, helps teachers deliver great lessons with digital resources only a mouse click away.

You can save time by duplicating and modifying existing plans, stay organised with all your lessons in one place, share ideas over your school network with colleagues. Show OFSTED and school inspectors how lesson planning should be done!

Price: £29.99

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Lesson Planner

Notebook

“A powerful and easy-to-use application, SMART Notebook software enables you to easily deliver interactive lessons that create more extraordinary learning moments for your students. See how SMART Notebook software brings simplicity to the SMART Board interactive whiteboard in a real-life classroom environment. SMART Ease of Use video.”

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Notebook

Planbook

“Planbook is a lesson planning application developed by Jeff Hellman, a high school science teacher. Planbook is designed to completely replace your paper plan book with an intuitive application that lets you harness the power of the computer to make your lesson planning time more productive.

You can enter the schedule that you teach (rotating and A/B schedule are easily handled), quickly enter lesson information, attach files to lessons, track standards, print hard copies of your plans and publish your plans to the web for students, parents and other education professionals and more.”

Price: $30

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Planbook

Grading

We’ve come a long way since jotting down grades on graph paper. It’s time to embrace the world of high-tech grade tracking and analysis, and all the benefits that this can bring.

EasyGradePro

“Available for both Windows and Mac, Easy Grade Pro provides an abundance of tools to save you time entering your student data, provides you with a wealth of information about your students, and allows you to generate professional internet and paper reports to communicate your student data with others.”

Price: $48

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EasyGradePro

Gradekeeper

“Gradekeeper is as easy to use as your paper gradebook. Take attendance, make seating charts, enter assignments and scores, and let Gradekeeper do the rest. Your grades are updated instantly. And you can easily keep students and parents informed using Gradekeeper’s printed and online reports.”

Price: Free

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Gradekeeper

TA’s Friend

“TA’s Friend is a simple application for keeping track of student test grades and homework that takes the place of a typical grades spreadsheet. We designed TA’s Friend specifically to make the job of being TA easier, TA’s Friend replaces the typical teacher assistant’s Gradebook.”

Price: $7.99

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TA's Friend

Testing Tools

Here you’ll find a number of various tools to create and/or administer tests and quizzes to your class.

Quiz Press

“With an easy-to-use interface, make your own quizzes that you can put on the web or print out for classroom use. Now featuring integration with Apple’s iPod, import/export, answer explanations, essay questions, randomized multiple choice, teacher-graded questions and much more.”

Price: $49.95

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Quiz Press

QuizMaker Pro 2010

“QuizMaker Pro 2010 is a full-featured application which generates, administers, scores, and archives tests or quizzes with up to 10 different types of questions within a single test. The program can be used to print multiple versions of a single test with answer keys for each version. QMPro will administer your tests and provide detailed score analysis by individual, class, or test.”

Price: $24.95

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QuizMaker Pro 2010

Instant Interactive Drills

“A learning environment where students gain the aid of number lines, wooden blocks, and other assistants to understand solutions to problems.”

Price: $19.95

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Instant Interactive Drills

FRS Division Drills

“FRS Division Drills provides practice with simple division, long division, and long division with remainders (sounds fun!). Simple practice allows students to develop their skills in solving division problems in their head, and helps illustrate that division is the opposite of multiplication.

The two long division practice modes aid students in learning the steps involved in completing more complex problems.”

Price: $12.95

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FRS Division Drills

Teachers As Students

Still working on that Masters or Doctoral degree while teaching? Check out these great apps to help make it to graduation.

Schoolhouse

Schoolhouse is designed for students who need an easy, quick and powerful way to manage what they need to work on. Great features like automatic grade calculation, smart criteria and file attachments make organizing your tasks simple.

Price: $14

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Schoolhouse

Study Mac

“Study brings flashcard learning to your Mac. Be it vocabulary, historical dates, capitals or any other topic, you’ll memorize them with ease.”

Price: $29.95

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Study Mac<

Cram

Cram’s multiple-choice testing mode resembles the type of tests you’re used to from images, to multiple answers, to timed tests. When your test is over, Cram grades and records your test performance so you can track your progress.

We’ve actually reviewed Cram in the past, and this might make a good starting point to learn more.

Price: $29.99

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Cram

Teaching Tools

This section is a small collection of miscellaneous tools that teachers might find helpful when covering vocabulary, and mind mapping exercises.

Keep Your Word

“Keep Your Word lets you build your own dictionary, classifying and grouping the terms exactly how you want to, while helping you to learn a large vocabulary thanks to its different exercise modes.”

Price: $34.95.

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Keep Your Word

Que

Improve your vocabulary with Que, a tool which helps you learn words from foreign languages. It focuses on a friendly and lightweight user interface.

Price: Free

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Que

MindNode

MindNode Pro and MindNode are elegant and simple-to-use mindmapping applications for the Macintosh that help to visually: collect, classify and structure ideas, organize, and study and solve problems.

Mind maps can be used for many different tasks – including to-do lists, brainstorming, holiday planning, research, writing, project management – and in many different environments – school, meetings, workspace.

Price: Free

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MindNode

For the Classroom

Though the apps below have a number of possible applications for non-teachers, they can also be great assets to a classroom environment.

Librarian Pro 2

Not specifically designed for teachers, but perfect for keeping track of your classroom’s book and physical media collection!

Price: Free

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Librarian Pro 2

Bookpedia

Another great option for cataloguing your classroom’s book inventory. Bookpedia has a ton of features including an iSight UPC scanner, Bluetooth compatibility, and a borrowing tracking system.

Price: $18

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Bookpedia

PerfectTablePlan

Originally designed for weddings and other events, teachers can use this app to design seating arrangements in all types of classrooms.

Price: $30

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PerfectTablePlan

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I have to say that I was quite disappointed in the quality and range of Mac applications available for teachers. Many of those that I came across seemed like they were developed several operating systems ago and are therefore a bit outdated.

Furthermore, there just didn’t seem to be too many applications for teachers that really provide that famous Mac experience that you get from great apps in other categories like Transmit, Things or LittleSnapper. For whatever reason, the student-focused apps like Schoolhouse and Cram seemed far better developed than the teacher-focused apps.

If you’re a Mac developer looking for a niche, I highly suggest that you consider looking into the teaching industry to see what kind of software this group of users requires and what you can do to better meet their needs.

Let us know in the comments below if you know of any great teacher apps. Leave us a link along with what you liked best about the app!


  • Landon

    Thank you for this very helpful round-up! I have found several great tools out of this.

  • Dan

    Wow, that’s a pretty sad lot of applications. You’re right – not much good out there in the field of education.

  • Mike

    Most high schools and colleges require faculty to use applications like ANGEL or Blackboard to do what most of these applications do. If I was a developer I wouldn’t bother for that reason. Unfortunately, teachers don’t usually get to choose what they can use.

  • Dean

    Unfortunately, Mike is right. Most teachers I see are forced to use certain programs for grading in particular. Plus, in addition to that, most schools are primarily Windows based, so there would be no use for Mac software in those environments anyway.

  • Eric

    Nice list. Looking Librarian Pro 2 and Bookpedia I’m missing Delicious Library and Hunter Suite’s Book Hunter

  • Dave

    Mike and Dean are right. Teachers generally have to use a more holistic solution that is determined by the school.

    I work for a company that develops school administrative software which has all of these features and more. Traditionally we’ve developed only for Windows, but we’re currently releasing a major web-based solution that will not allow complete mobility, but also allow users to access it from any OS.

  • Hezi

    Planbook is a great application, and the developer rapidly responds to just about every request for new features, fixes, etc. “Looks” aren’t always the whole story. Planbook does what it is supposed to do, and does it elgantly, flexibly, and well.

  • Nathan L

    Having just checked out some of these sites, I discovered that Gradekeeper is not free. An individual license is listed on their website as being $20.

  • kayvee

    I use a Mac at home and a PC at work — and I have to do most of my work in Windows emulation now. Smart Notebook works better on a PC, and the special Math version doesn’t work on Mac at all. Similarly, I used to use Easy Grade Pro cross-platform (and paid a lot for my own software) but they never upgraded for Snow Leopard. The current trend is for web applications; good for cross-platform use but not always as effective.

    Our school is moving to Infinite Campus, which includes many functions — it remains to be seen how well they are are implemented!

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  • Fabian

    I think you should also mention the app Curio (http://www.zengobi.com/products/curio/). It’s great for things like project management, idea collecting, etc.

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    It’s something that I need for completing layouts in some magazines I prepare for our customers.

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  • R Adkins

    My FAV new app is Essay Grader. The developer is a single guy who responds to feedback and ideas. I contacted him when I stumbled across the iPAD app version (not as powerful as the MAC version but he is working on it) While the app interface does take some time and effort to enter in all your rubric comments and such I LOVE IT! I am a design professor and the app has been easy to adapt to project based assignments. It has cut my grading time 75% and students are much happier that they get grades and comments really fast!!

  • Kathy

    I use Easy Grade Pro & love it on y PC. Can I get it for my new IPad?

  • Peter

    Equally disappointed! Really quite amazing to see the lack of Mac(y) applications in this field. Please don’t leave me revisiting my Windows l/top!!!
    Peter

  • http://www.schoolreportwriter.com/ Linden

    Hi there,

    re. http://www.schoolreportwriter.com

    I’ve recently developed a new, free-to-use, online school report writing tool which I think your readers will like. I initially developed it to help a friend who is a Geography teacher but have now smartened it up for anyone that wants to try it! It’s a bit different from other systems in that while it does all the usual storing of statement banks and automatic replacement of names, his/her etc, it also lets you create drop-down lists for things like achievement levels, assignment names etc and include them in your statements. Why does this matter? Well it means that the whole report text is not editable until the last possible minute so it’s more difficult to accidentally introduce errors. Probably makes more sense if you just take a look. The site address is below:

    http://www.schoolreportwriter.com

    Best wishes,
    Linden

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  • Lisa Lantz

    Another great app for elementary teachers is FluencyFinder. It allows you to quickly assess a student’s word per minute reading fluency. I can focus on the student and the technology does the work. I don’t have to count words or watch the clock. This app has saved me so much time. It is for ipads and iphones and they have a website. http://www.fluencyfinder.com

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