ARGHHH The Possibility of our children learning from home again.
So back 2 school should have happened already. Some parents are happy that the kids are getting a longer break. Others not so much, however, the growing possibility that our children are going to be remote learning again this term leads to other challenges, for example how the heck do they stay productive when the distractions of the house and that game console keeps calling to them.
I know all too well how distractions from the home can sneak in when you are trying to study. During my time at Queensland University of Technology, I spent 4 days in Brisbane and the other days working at home here in Gympie. So I had to put something together to ensure that I stayed focused. Here are my 6 tips for productively studying online.
1 - Optimise the study space.
Firstly, create an area dedicated to where are they are going to be studying. If possible, find somewhere in the house that is quiet and with natural light or well lit. Do not let them study on the bed that place is for sleeping and relaxing, their brain will not switch between the idea of relaxing and actual productive studying. Plus, their posture will be all wrong and will lead to cramps and pains. If there is also a laptop on the bed too it could cause possible overheating.
If they are using a laptop, see about investing in a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse this will reduce neck strain and the larger screen will provide more space for them to see what they are doing clearly.
2- Get Organised.
Clean the desktop of all those files and folders that they have on there, arrange them into personal and study folders with subfolders for each subject. Give them clarity on where they need to store their work. Just saying its on the desktop somewhere will lead to headaches when they need to send work back to the teacher.
Keep notes in one place. If you guys read last months article I talked about Microsoft OneNote a free online digital notebook tool this is absolutely perfect to use for exactly this purpose. Each folder can be separated into subjects and then each subject can have different topic sections and then each top section can have different pages relating to research, notes and ideas. Check it out it is definitely worth a look.
If you are using Microsoft Edge as your internet browser. There is an amazing feature called Collections. This is as you would presume is a place where you can store a collection of websites that you want to refer back to. This is an awesome way of staying organised by separating those collections into subjects or resources that you can later access easily.
Don’t be afraid of the cloud. Students with a department of education login have access to Microsoft 365, which comes with 1TB of online storage space. Get them used to saving their documents to OneDrive once they have finished or better still sync their folders to their computer so that they can save them there straight away and they are easily accessible from file explorer. This is a great way of making sure that whatever computer they use they have access to their documents.
3 - Remove Distractions.
Turn off the TV. Create a space that is quiet or if you prefer soft music play that instead.
Remove the temptation to check phones. Pop them on do not disturb or better still put them in a completely other room.
Only have the tabs open that they need. Close them down or as mentioned before, save them to a collection so that you can access them again. This will reduce the visual clutter from the screen and keep focus.
4- Study Smartly
Read the material first, make sure they have a clear understanding of what they are supposed to be doing. Create digital flashcards for things that they need to remember. These can be done easily using website application Anki or Quizlet. I shall provide links to these pages on our website.
Also, get out of your PJ’s and dress in something comfortable, trick your mind into thinking this is work time not sleep time.
5- Manage Time Well
Make a to-do list for each day. Pop this into their Microsoft OneNote Notebook that way they can tick of each thing that they have accomplished each day. Our brains respond to ticking off items by releasing endorphins, which means you actually get pleasure by ticking off items and getting that sense of accomplishment.
Complete the most difficult task first. I know from experience that this really hard todo but once it is done you can move on quickly to easier tasks and again will have that release of endorphins from accomplishing that hard task.
Use the Pomodoro Technique. This is where you set a 25 minute timer and dive into the work for a distracted free 25 minute blocks with a 5 – 10 minute rest break for drinks, food and toilet. If you have Windows 11 this has a timer built directly in to the Clock App.
6 - Stay Healthy
Plan and take time to go for a walk or a run. It will clear they mind and help them focus quicker on the tasks that they have to accomplish.
Make sure they have enough sleep. Try and keep to a sleep pattern as if they are at school at least six to nine hours each night.
Drink lots of water. In fact keep a bottle of water on the table that you can drink in between the 25 Minute sessions.
I know from experience how hard it can be studying from home when there are the distractions of TV, other people in the house and the fridge calling your name for that last slice of chocolate cake, or is that just me. If you need help setting up any of the systems that I mentioned in this article jump on over to our website www.pcplace.com.au/studyingonline for tips and tricks on how to get you started or pop into the shop on Mary Street.
Stay Well and Safe Everyone.