Common Sense


Best Apps and Sites for Improving Executive Function

Executive function -- how to plan, organize, remember, and carry out tasks as well as manage emotions -- is tied closely to success in school and life. From managing projects to completing work to just showing up on time, executive function skills make us more productive and successful, not to mention conscientious and collaborative. Just about everyone struggles with these skills, and some students face significant challenges. While tech doesn't solve executive function challenges, these apps and sites will help students get on the right path, whether they're in preschool or high school, just need a little extra help, or have special needs.

If you're looking to help students recognize and manage their emotions, check out our list of Emotional Intelligence Apps and Games

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Practical, flexible life-skills diagrams build executive functions

Bottom line: A variety of customizability options make it easy to personalize boards.

First Then Visual Schedule HD

Useful multisensory tool teaches self-direction and follow-through

Bottom line: This simple but powerful tool engages kids in independently following a schedule.

Goalbook Toolkit

Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies

Bottom line: You pay for quality with Goalbook Toolkit, including access to clear, well-crafted learning goals and strategies that allow for far easier differentiation.

Mindful Powers

Care for a cute creature to practice mindfulness and self-control

Bottom line: Meditation lessons and visual timers act as decent supplemental activities for introducing SEL skills.


Messaging platform offers tight focus on school-to-home connection

Bottom line: Well-designed, highly effective messaging tool delivers on its promise to connect home and school.

Time Timer

Manage and conceptualize time with great visuals, a few bugs

Bottom line: A decent option for visual timer needs, being sufficiently customizable, but there are still a few bugs and room for improvement.


Intuitive editor helps users create and share dynamic visual diagrams

Bottom line: Students and teachers can use this tool alone or collaboratively to build and share stunning, effective visuals that stretch thinking.


Powerful mind mapper aimed at adults, simple enough for older kids

Bottom line: Sophisticated productivity tool enhances learning and organization with simple dashboard and slick workspace.


Simple tool helps teachers and students make lists, get organized

Bottom line: A simple, free way to get organized combining lists, outlines, and notes with some extra nice-to-have features that make this tool a solid option for teachers and students.


Write, edit, and sync content on the go with flexible note-taking tool

Bottom line: For an app that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, it's surprisingly versatile and useful for many types of writing and note-taking.

iHomework 2

Keep track of assignments, due dates, and tasks with digital planner

Bottom line: This flexible, easy-to-learn organizational tool will help students get set up for success, though teachers will need to follow up regularly to make sure the information is accurate.


Flexible note-taking tool empowers learners of all abilities

Bottom line: An excellent tool that lets students make their notes thorough and useful in the way that best suits their learning styles and abilities.

Microsoft OneNote

Note-taking giant built for flexible, collaborative work

Bottom line: A powerful (and free) tool for thinking and organization that's making smart strides in the education space.

myHomework Student Planner

Digital planner makes scheduling easy, if paired with teacher app

Bottom line: If used on a regular basis with teacher guidance and motivation, students can be ready to tackle their complex schedules with ease.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

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