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27 Mar, Monday
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Montreal Families

App helps students with the art of organization

For 19 years, Renaud Boisjoly worked alongside some of the leading innovators in the field of technology at Apple Montreal’s education division. His specialty was helping schools integrate digital resources, such as iPads, into their curriculum. As the technology developed, Boisjoly began to notice problems with the  applications for schools, most notably the calendar functions.

This sparked an idea and he decided it was time to venture out on his own with the hopes of creating a new platform to help students stay on top of their studies. In 2014, he met Pascal Bourque, a mobile game developer, through an online programmer user group. A fellow techie, the two bonded and immediately began working on the first iteration of Studyo, a task- and project-management app.

First launched in March of the same year, this app helps students efficiently manage their workload. Most of the organizational apps on the market are teacher-focused, says Boisjoly, but with Studyo, students take on a more autonomous role.

Unlike most standard communication portals where only teachers and administration can publish information, the app allows students to keep track of their own assignments in an interactive way. Studyo also adapts to each institution’s individual schedule of rotating blocks or days, automatically syncing important information like a change of itinerary.

Students can enter tasks when they are assigned, mark down when they plan to complete each section, add notes, and tick off when they’re finished. Studyo’s unique timeline view also allows you to see more clearly how long you have to accomplish assignments, with tasks displayed as icons in their respective periods.

Self-management is a key part of a student’s academic success, says Boisjoly. “Organization is not an innate skill, it needs to be learned,” he says. “If your child feels disorganized, it’s not just a question of telling them what to do; it’s showing them how to develop those lifelong skills.”

Although the app is geared towards empowering students, parents can also access the app on a “read only” basis to view assignments and workload.

There are more than 50 institutions in North America who have integrated Studyo as part of their system, including College Notre Dame in Montreal, where Boisjoly went to high school.

Trafalgar School for Girls was part of Studyo’s pilot project and teacher Annie Brown, head of the English department, says students loved it because they could see all their courses and assignments in one place.  “It helped them stay on top of their workload because they were able to plan out their assignments, set reminders as well as notifications for when they needed to start their homework,” she said. “They also loved that you can tailor the appearance and display colours, making the experience even more personal.”

Brown said Trafalgar used it for many years but this year made a change to a portal system that incorporates some similar features to Studyo.

The app is native to iPads and to iPhones, but a full web version is also available through the Chrome browser. Studyo is available for free download.

For more information, visit studyo.co.

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