Studeam for Middle and High School students (from ages 12 to 18 years old)
My gratitude to all the parenting groups who have set out to test STUDEAM and help us evaluate it. The response has been wonderful!
These tips are for those parents and all of those whose children are using our study planning app. I promised to offer some tips to help you have the best experience with the STUDEAM planner, trying to offer you the most educational experience. You will find them below, divided into two different posts, because it’s a bit long.
The goal: to improve study habits
Surely most of you think that managing time well is especially important in life, you even perceive the need and the constant difficulty of doing it well. That is why it is essential to educate our children in time management, as well as in the way they study. Time management is an important ingredient of the study habit and in Middle School this begins to make sense with the increase in tasks and the time dedicated to each one.
Getting into a good study habit is all about doing what you should do when you should do it and dedicating the time it deserves. It should be a main objective at these ages, not only because it will affect their overall academic performance, but also because time management will improve their general well-being, steering away from anxieties and stress, which are as harmful to the heart as they are to learning. I focus on several common issues and how Studeam can help with proper usage.
A very important note: our children are free
Although we often try to control them, our children are free and we cannot change this fact. On the contrary, it is much better to respect them and their freedom. STUDEAM cannot and does not want to change this. If a student does not want to use STUDEAM it is better not to use it, there is no need to bother. STUDEAM is primarily a “self-monitoring” tool. If it is used as a management tool exclusively imposed from outside, it will most likely only serve to certify that the child is not willing to collaborate. If what we need is to check in on whether or not our child is lying or that they really do not want to do their tasks, STUDEAM will be highly effective, but we aspire to something much more, right?
In some cases, it can be used by parents to clarify things for their children regarding what they expect them to do that particular afternoon. This is the case when the student does not want to use STUDEAM but the parents have the information of the assignments from the school directly. Actually, this is how parents use it, not children. If it saves parents time to do the planning and for the child not to discuss it, it makes sense to use STUDEAM and ask the child to follow it. The problem is that the student has to estimate the time needed for each task and may not collaborate adequately. This procedure is usually useless, but there are always cases where students need extra parental support (I am not talking about opposition or rebellion by the child). I am thinking more along the lines of cases with ADHD, for example.
Valid points for everyone
Before describing problematic scenarios where STUDEAM can help and how, I will look at a series of practical points necessary for all students in order to take advantage of STUDEAM to help improve study habits. You will see why STUDEAM is the implementation of a set of good study and time management practices, and how its use contributes to educating. Of course, if you have not seen the 5 minute tutorial beforehand, stop and take a look to better understand the following (GO TO TUTORIAL).
1. Reflection and commitment on the student’s schedule
Studeam requests a regular study schedule and an extra one in order to plan. The student must understand these two concepts well. Both are explained in the help section of the tool and in tooltips (active questions), but they probably require help from parents. The best thing would be to let your child enter that information and then review and ask if something does not add up.
The regular schedule is the daily schedule, so if there is homework to fill it, homework will be placed on it with preference. Only when it is full and there are still more tasks to plan will STUDEAM use the extra time. So, the extra time is that time that we normally do not want to use to study, but in case it is necessary we have it in reserve. In life there are peaks of work that you must be able to get ahead by giving up other things. That is what overtime is for.
An example: every Thursday I propose to study from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (usual time), but if necessary, I could not go for a walk with the dog and not play online, and still work from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (extra time).
In this reflection on schedules, honesty with oneself, personal and family commitments, and paying attention to the recommendations of school counsellors and tutors regarding the usual study day are necessary.
2. Choosing to rest
How long should you rest, how often do you have a session followed by study? We advise leaving 10 minutes every 50, but a 12-year-old student is not the same as a 17-year-old. There are probably 12-year-olds who will do better resting 5 minutes out of 30. However, by experimenting, we learn more about ourselves and our study habits. Getting to know oneself takes time.
Rest is an important part of study. This is especially important, as STUDEAM takes into account breaks. They are not optional. Taking them helps students work in a sustainable way as well as to perform better. Help your children understand this.
3. Choosing the type of task: studying must be “regular”.
The type of homework a student carries out is important to keep in mind when using Studeam. In the tool, there are definitions of each type. Make sure your children understand them well. Study assignments are vital, even though the program treats them the same as normal ones. Why? Because most students ignore study assignments.
To make sure their study tasks are up to date seems silly to them and they are convinced that they only have to study before the exam. They do not consider that when the teacher explains new content a study assignment must already be created for that content. The first time they study content should not be right before the exam.
The correct thing to do would be to create a study assignment for each new piece of content that needs to be learned and set an expiration date as early as possible, at least before the end of the week or before the next time new content will be given.
Example: the history teacher has explained the 6th section of the lesson today and will not explain new content for another four days. Then it will be prudent to set the due date for the corresponding study assignment within four days.
4. The exam task: the exam is not the first time to study
Students must understand that the exam task is the one linked to the preparation of an exam. It is the process of reviewing (not the first time to study) what has already been studied. The review is something reserved for the previous sessions closest to the exam, but without taking up all the time available. This is how STUDEAM places these tasks. If students have not studied the content before, the estimated time dedicated will be high, but if they are true reviews then the time involved should be lower.
5. Choosing the due date for each task
This date is usually the time a task must be completed and presented to the teacher, which marks the maximum time period to be able to carry it out. A large part of the tasks are ordered according to urgency: those that have a deadline first must be carried out. Children may discuss this criteria, but it is usually the healthiest and most effective way to use their time. I comment on this so that you can offer them a good reason: “do not leave for tomorrow what can be done today.” Tomorrow we do not know which new tasks may emerge, so the wise thing to do is to make use of the time provided for study each day.
The due dates for study tasks, as we have pointed out, are usually more difficult to specify than others, because they must be created by the user him/herself. But if you follow the criteria outlined above, it will be easy.
It makes sense to change the due date to an earlier date when there is some reason why the task cannot be done after that date. For example: a job that must be finished on February 25th, but this is the due date for the entire team, and your son’s part must be finished on the 20th because then he must pass it on to a colleague. So, the due date for STUDEAM should be February 20th, even if the teacher receives it on the 25th.
6. Estimation of the time dedicated to each task
I hope students do not complain too much about having to enter all this data. Actually, except for the description, all the others will take them no more than 20 seconds per task. Jotting it down in a regular agenda will take longer.
Estimating the time needed for each task is a great exercise. It indicates purpose, a commitment on behalf of the student. It is not about fulfilling it, but about trying to meet the goal. What usually happens is that it is almost never fulfilled. But estimating the time it takes to complete a task is necessary for effective planning, it is good for concentration and for managing our time. The real amount of time it takes may be different later, but that is not the important thing. Sometimes we overestimate and sometimes we underestimate, but it is better to estimate than to not. This way, we introduce our children on a path of self-knowledge that is valuable.
7. The time left and an important reflection
When you edit the task you will have to enter a new estimated time for the remainder and enter the time that you have taken since the last time. The system will calculate the totals. When a student completes an assignment, they can see the initial time that they estimated and compare it with the time taken since they started. This is an important reflection!! Perhaps the student does not want to go to all the trouble and is tempted to skip over the time lag issue, but if he or she wants to update the schedule, they will need to estimate the time left on each assignment.
Before this starts to look like a book, I’ll stop here. In the second post, I present three problematic scenarios where STUDEAM can contribute something good:
“My daughter is poorly organized and leaves everything for the last minute”.
“My son takes too many hours to study.”
“She does not want to study.”
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