More than half of American students consistently do homework using some sort of technology such as a laptop or smartphone. Sometimes they are using these tools to complete their work, but often times, these gadgets are merely a distraction and cause homework to take even longer. In my last blog, I mentioned the myth of multi-tasking. In reality, there is no such thing. The brain is actually task switching because it cannot accurately focus on more than one thing at once. If Facebook, surfing the internet, trying out the newest apps and texting are getting in the way of your child’s productivity, there’s help.
Studies show that when students are more aware of how they study best, they have higher GPAs. When they are able to craft an environment that is comfortable for them, they can become much more efficient at their school work. This ideal study environment will be different for every student, but here are some questions that can help make your child more self aware and give you an idea of how much technology should be involved. Have your kids ask themselves:
- In what environment do I get the most work done?
- Where do I tend to focus best?
- What time of the day am I most productive?
- How do I best eliminate distractions?
- What kind of music can I listen to while studying? (By the way, research has shown that music with lyrics makes it harder to focus, but if it’s a song that your student listens to all the time, their brain will be used to blocking it off and it may actually help with studying.)
Research also shows that when students take breaks from technology, they can improve their focus. There are lots of activities that can relax a student’s mind and improve cognitive processes. These include:
- Exercising (playing a sport, taking a walk, or yoga)
- Playing a musical instrument
- Looking at beautiful art work
- Listening to music
All of these activities have been shown to relieve stress and enhance study time.
But sometimes, even the most diligent students don’t want to hear how they can use technology wisely when the ideas are coming from their parents. As a parent of a 14 year old, I’m very well aware of this!
This summer, we’re rolling out our new educational coaching program. It’s a ten-session, in-home tutoring program designed to help students tackle ways they work best. We’re also incorporating other strategies for reading comprehension (how to focus and retain when the text isn’t too exciting), note-taking, organization, time management and goal setting. In addition, we’re offering this unique study skills program to rising middle and high school students in a group setting in Vienna, VA. Let me know if you have any questions about this blog or our summer classes.
Ann Dolin, M.Ed. email@example.com
President ~ EC Tutoring