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Essential Mac Apps for Teachers

By Bradley Chambers in · End Users · July 9, 2015

“There’s an app for that” is a term that we’ve all heard. There is an app for everything now. The problem is that a lot of teacher’s don’t know the good ones. I wanted to list a few of the Mac apps that I find essential to managing the classroom experience from a productivity and organizational perspective.


Evernote is at the center of my paperless workflow. I keep receipts, important e-mails, voice notes, and PDFs inside of it. With free apps for pretty much any mobile device, your Evernote database will be with you everywhere. Scannable is another mobile app that Evernote offers. It recognizes business cards, receipts, and any other paper you point it at. Scans are automatically cropped and enhanced. This can make it extremely easy to digitize forms, receipts, or any other paper you want to store. It’s free to get started, and there are some paid plans if you want to use it more.

Evernote Free
This plan includes the ability to sync notebooks, share notebooks, and use their cloud-based optical character recognition for printed and handwritten text in images. You can upload 60 MB a month with a max note size of 25 MB.

Evernote Plus
With this plan, you get 1 GB of monthly uploads with a 50 MB note size. You also get the ability to send notes into your database via email (previously a free feature). You can also set notebooks to be offline on mobile devices. This plan is $2.99/month or $24.99/year.

Evernote Premium
With this plan, you get unlimited monthly uploads and a 200 MB note size. It also includes the ability search inside PDFs, Office docs, and attachments. You can also annotate attached PDFs, scan and digitize business cards, view previous note revisions, see related content, and you also get the ability to turn notes into presentations. This plan is $5.99/mo or $49.99/year.


Wunderlist has become a favorite around our office. With plenty of apps for all platforms (including the web), Wunderlist is a popular choice for reminders and task management for teachers. You can collaborate on tasks, set due dates, and organize them into folders. It’s simple to start with, but it can certainly expand with your needs. Wunderlist is free, but they offer a $5 upgrade for some additional features.

Google Drive for Mac

If your school is a Google Apps school, Google Drive for Mac is an essential download. It creates a folder on your computer that syncs with Google Drive on the web. This allows you to place a Word doc in it, and then edit it from any other computer (Google coverts Word docs on the fly). It’s simple: it’s a folder that syncs. It’s the same premise as Dropbox (another popular app), but this is hooked right into your Google Apps account. Google also gives education customers unlimited storage, so you can pretty much store anything you want in there. It’ll always be backed up and available everywhere you have access to the internet.

Apple’s iMessage

Yes, this comes built into any Mac that you buy today, but it’s a favorite among our school. Teachers use it as a chat service between parents, other teachers, and administrators. The downside of using it is that it’s not managed by your IT staff. The plus side is that it stays in sync on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. If you are looking for a more centralized chat service for your team, I highly recommend Slack.

Smart Converter Pro

Media conversion is the life of school employees. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been sent flash drives with .swf files. Having a good media conversion tool is essential. Smart Converter Pro is one of the better ones on the Mac App Store.

If you are searching for an app for a particular purpose, the Mac App Store is a great place to search. It comes built into any modern Mac. You can find it by clicking the Apple logo at the top left of your Mac desktop and then clicking App Store. Every app in the store is approved by Apple, and each transaction is paid for through your iTunes account.

Bradley Chambers (@bradleychambers )

Bradley Chambers has been the Director of Information Technology at Brainerd Baptist School since 2009. At BBS, he manages a network of Apple and Chrome OS devices. He also writes at Tools & Toys and The Sweet Setup.


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