A new educational digital tool?
We are going to explain the importance of a new educational digital solution: a study planner. It is true that the use of ICT and computing devices in education can be, at times, a pedagogical error and an unjustified expense. Especially if, given the example of recent years, the urgency of quarantines due to the pandemic is added. Technology in and of itself has no value and its application as a display of educational innovation can backfire on schools if it is not directed and accompanied by actual educational transformation.
The Edtech market is huge and promises to grow even bigger, with growth rates of over 17%. Unlike most markets, it does not appear to be threatened by the pandemic. The pressure to digitize classrooms and educational processes has been confused and even identified with the need to change educational models that have become outdated. However, these are two different things, although both are necessary and related to one other.
That said, it is true that there are some tech apps that are indispensable for education because they respond to needs that have always existed. One of them is planning, an essential element of time management and building successful study habits. It is necessary to promote the independent study of students and ensure that they acquire strong work habits. Quarantine and the move to online training has made this clear. The tasks that need to be done at all times must be well defined in order to evaluate how a student works.
Why is it important to plan the way we study?
The two references that structure any human activity are space and time. Our psyche moves between both coordinates and needs to specify them for the activity to be effective. Therefore, when you want to help people who have a high degree of disorganization, you have to provide them with a very orderly framework of activity that gives them security in their day-to-day life. Babies and children need it to grow up healthy and strong, and we who are older should never lose it.
However, the current Western world does not favor these references. We are prey to a restlessness that makes us jump from one thing to another continuously, dispersing energies and moving us away from our goals. Having your eyes and ears open to any proposal is a mistake that makes it difficult for us to attend to and focus on what matters. Impulsiveness and thoughtlessness go hand in hand in this way of operating, and they increase in the digital universe.
Planning becomes essential.
Planning is essential to carry out complex and sustained activity over time, since the latter is a finite resource. The order of execution of tasks and the changes that the person experiences as the hours go by, affect the performance of any activity. In an educational context, planning becomes a priority field of work and, in the digital universe that we have described, something that has become seriously urgent to tackle.
It is not just a matter of writing down the tasks that should be done in an agenda so as not to forget when they are due. It is about putting them in order with dates and times to ensure they get done when they need to. Something like an agenda that would put tasks in order by itself, an agenda that is well thought out and planned. In two words: that is a study planner.
Why a digital study planner?
Planning is a personal art and a demanding exercise in self-knowledge and reflection. Therefore, there is no objective planning that is valid and effective for everyone. It is an essentially personal activity because it must put into play the relationship that exists between the subject and the tasks that he or she wants to carry out. Your mood, your expectations and your energy are personal elements that must be reflected in planning if it is to be effective. In this work, the subject is not able to be replaced by any computer tool that thinks and decides for him or her.
However, there are always a few objective rules in each activity that allow the articulation of a starting logic that is valid for everyone. On academic assignments, these rules seem very clear and can build a real study planner. For example, if you want to optimize the use of time, the criterion of urgency is the main one: do what has to be delivered first because it is not known what new tasks will be assigned tomorrow.
So, there are two great enemies of regular planning. The first is laziness, since it is a task that takes time and effort. The second, self-deception in estimating times. Our wishes and expectations are constantly deviating our estimates. For these reasons alone, a digital planner that automatically provides an objective plan as a starting point can already be of great help and, on many occasions, used as a definitive planning tool. It also offers other advantages over manual planning that we have already discussed in previous posts.
The first app that organizes the way we study automatically
It is surprising that these digital or virtual planners have not been built before, but we believe that it is not so much due to technical complexity but to methodological complexity. It is not easy at all to recognize the set of objective planning rules that are typical of academic activity. A convincing method needs to be articulated.
Our own analysis has led us to build STUDEAM: the first app that plans study and homework. We think that this is the first study planner, as we explain in a different post. But of course, there are a few similar apps, remarkably interesting indeed. Just below, we share a video tutorial where you can better understand what this app for organizing the way we study is all about.
In future posts, we will discuss the advantages of STUDEAM over manual planning, as well as STUDEAM’s methodological contribution to academic contexts