Organizer binders and laptop PCs take up about the same amount of space in your backpack, but that's about as far as the similarities go. Laptops kick ring binders back to chalk-and-blackboard days, where they belong, and they can stay there, too, thanks to usefully cool freeware like IslandSW's StudentDOG, the school organizer designed "by students for students." It's got everything students need to stay organized, on time, and productive both in and out of school.
StudentDOG unifies all its functions in one tabbed interface. It packs a lot in each view, but it never seems too busy or crowded. The Overview page shows the current time, the time of your next lesson, the next seven days in the calendar, and an overview of the database counts for Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Notes, as well as Import and Export tools. StudentDOG can import MS Outlook data, as we found on the Contacts tab. The Calendar tab offered an attractive display with a large area for entering notes and even a Moon phase display. Under Tasks, we could set and prioritize tasks, while the Marks section let us record grades for a variety of subjects, which we could edit from the program's Options, along with settings for the program's other tools, including the ability to choose a program for editing the built-in Notes tool (the default was Microsoft Wordpad). The Timetable function is a scheduling tool that has been updated to accommodate university schedules. The program minimizes to the system tray, too.
As any tool designed to keep students on schedule should be, StudentDOG is very easy to set up and use. It doesn't try to analyze your grades or mark your attendance; it's strictly designed to help busy students spend less time on keeping track of their schedules and more time learning (or whatever they do with extra time). Since it's free, it suits parents' budget as well as students' schedules.