Embedding some of these time management technology tools into your courses will be appreciated by students throughout their education and into their careers.
As a James Madison University study showed, nearly half of learners feel overwhelmed by their academic workload and struggle to balance their personal and work lives with learning.
One of the most valuable things educators can do for their students is to model how technology can alleviate stress and improve their time management skills by embedding these tools into the classroom. Here are three ways to do this.
1. Incorporate time tracking.
People often say there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done. To help your students reclaim lost time, incorporate time tracking software into the first week of your classes.
Using a tool such as RescueTime, students can start tracking and discussing how they are actually spending their days. Most will be surprised to learn how many hours are wasted watching TV, chatting with co-workers, or goofing around on social media sites. RescueTime can help students then set goals for limiting these time-wasting activities and improving their efficiency.
(Next page: More useful time management technology tools)
2. Use electronic reminders.
When we’re busy or stressed, it’s easy to miss deadlines or forget things we need to do. Modeling for your students how the calendar associated with their eMail program can be used to help them keep track of important due dates in class can help.
Many schools, for example, use Google Mail. Instead of passively placing deadlines on a syllabus, where they might be ignored or forgotten, add reminders to your Gmail Calendar and share these with students. Provide some easy directions to show students how Gmail or their specific eMail system will allow them to have a daily agenda sent to their phones along with deadline reminders throughout the course.
If your school’s eMail system doesn’t have a calendar feature or you want something easier to use, consider a program like Remind, which allows instructors to create a class roster and send out regular text messages to students’ phones about important deadlines and course activities. Be sure to give students the chance to opt in or out, as there might be costs associated with text messaging.
3. Encourage further exploration.
As the course progresses, introduce students to other time management technology tools. For instance, LiveBinders provides a user-friendly electronic three-ring binder for organizing digital class materials. Zotero can help students organize and cite research, and Turnitin offers students assistance with academic writing in the form of grammar/mechanics checks and proper integration and documentation of sources.
Although these programs have slightly larger learning curves than time tracking, calendars, or electronic reminders, faculty can scaffold these features into their classes by demonstrating some of the basic features and encouraging students to continue exploring ed-tech options for reducing stress and improving time management one small step at a time.
When looking for innovative ways to incorporate technology into instruction, consider using applications that will make learning more efficient and less stressful. Embedding some of these time management tools into your courses will be appreciated by students throughout their education and into their careers.
Michael Keathley has been a writer, editor, and educator for more than two decades. He has authored several monthly columns in international newspapers, five books (under the pseudonym Michael A. Dimitri), and several hundred articles while working as a faculty member and administrator at various postsecondary institutions.
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