One of the biggest problems students are struggling with is time. The time is such a precious resource because students need enough of it in order to study, read, complete assignments and they also must be highly attentive in class.
However, it seems that students are “robbed” by their precious time because of reasons such as distractions, apathy, personal issues, etc. Today’s students are truly struggling to put up with all their college or university-related tasks, and they cannot juggle with their time efficiently.
This, in turn, leads to excessive tiredness because of sleepless nights spent on studying. It also leads to bad grades and very low academic achievements, because they did not have enough time to study. Good productivity is an extremely important issue while being a student. So are there are any creative tips and tricks to help students increase their productivity? Keep reading to find out the truth…
Problem No.1: Get Rid of Digital Distractions
With the internet being available right at our fingertips any moment of the day or night, it’s quite difficult not to be distracted. Whether students are checking their social media profiles every 2 minutes, their emails, or posting updates on several websites…they are getting robbed of precious time. Even several studies have shown that students use their mobile devices to perform off-task activities about 10 to 15 times per day. They need the internet to read 3 pages of content relevant to their college task, but students will also perform several other off-task activities: checking emails, social media pages, playing games, placing online orders, checking into forums, etc.
If you could just reduce the frequency of these digital distractions, you can efficiently increase productivity. Maintaining a healthy balance is of primordial importance: teach students to know when to use the internet for studying and when to use it for fun and entertainment. There is a time for everything, and if you can help students keep to these new changes, they will eventually become more efficient in school.
Tools to help stay away from distractions:
- Self-Control – a cute little app that runs exclusively on Mac devices. This is an application that helps teachers or even parents block access to all “undesired” social media pages (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and everything else!) until a timer runs out. Simply set the time, and the user will not be able to access any of these distractions until the timer is down to 00:00
- Stick Pick – a useful app designed for iPad and iPhone. The app allows teachers to design digital popsicle “equity” sticks which have the names of students on them. This app helps teachers asking questions in class in a very fair manner. Teachers can also easily customize the difficulty level of the questions, and assign certain questions to given students. Whenever the teacher asks a question, the app will select a student on a random basis thus ensuring diversity and equity in each class discussion.
Problem No. 2: Student Lack of Interest
It’s quite difficult to maintain students attentive and entertained during class. They seem most of the times in a deep apathy, either because they did not sleep enough or because they are simply not interested. Depending on the subject you teach, you may have a few “followers” in that class…but most of them will just play games on their phones, or look extremely exhausted, almost sleeping.
Help students become better learners
As an educator, you already know very well your students. You could actually change the traditional rhythm of teaching that material and bring a few changes. Adapt the courses to the general profile and ability of your students. You will be able to make them more interested in your course, and engage them easier into discussions, interactions and feedback.
Taking the North Star Smart Survey
This is basically an app, which helps students understand their own best way of learning. The survey-based application also encourages students to work on certain skills they are currently not that good at. This is the perfect tool for teachers to understand the learning capabilities and main interests of each student. Teachers need to check the ‘learning constellations’ results of the survey, and then they can target more efficiently students with the learning material.
Engaging Parents into Activities
Student apathy can be indeed lowered if parents are called for some help. Studies in this field have proven that parent involvement in the case of lower grade students helps increase productivity in a very efficient manner. Stay in touch with parents as frequently as possible and use online platforms such as Edmondo or Remind 101 to notify them about upcoming tests and important school-related assignments. This way, parents are notified about everything important and they will take an active part in the preparation process of their kids for tests, school assignments, etc.
Problem No.3: Silence in the Classroom
Yet another huge problem that can greatly reduce productivity in class…is disruptive behavior. Not all kids perform their tasks in a low profile manner, and this can be very disruptive to you as a teacher and to the rest of the students. Luckily there are a few tricks available that can help you maintain a normal level of noise and behavior within the classroom:
This is an extremely efficient traffic light style indicator app. When the noise levels are incredibly loud and disturbing, the light will turn red. This way, everybody will know they need to calm down a little bit, without the teacher having to say anything. Then, when the noise levels are acceptable, the light will turn green. This way, disruptive behavior can be dealt with in an elegant manner and it doesn’t cost anything!
The application works like a charm in so many ways. First, it will send parents several snapshots of how the students perform in the classroom. Then, educators are allowed to provide instant feedback to certain student behavior. This feedback will be accessible by parents as well, in real time. The Class Dojo indeed helps parents getting instant reports on academic achievements and behavior of their kids. When students know they are ‘monitored’ in such a way, they are more likely to behave in your class.
As an educator, you cannot really expect miracles to happen from one day to the other. However, by remembering these tips and tricks and using all these available tools you will manage to make things better. Reinforcing positive behavior brings along better productivity for students and more enjoyable work for you as a teacher. Dealing with problematic students is not easy, but by the implementation of these digital tools, you can increase their interest and eventually see a more positive behavior from their part. It just takes a little patience…