21st Century Tools to Build Organizational Habits

Using 21st Century Tools to Create Organizational Habits

In the end, most of organization is habit. Practices that we repeat again and again until they become second nature to use for maximum utilization. So, why not embrace the multitudes of resources available to build these necessary habits (in students and in ourselves)?

Digital Organizers

Yes, some may call it lazy, our Siri connections and reminders on phones. The truth is, it is where we are as a society though, and we are only going further this way. So, use whatever tools are at your students disposal to keep track of their work.

Using a calendar has long been a staple in teaching kids organization, and they come in many forms: daily assignment books, weekly schedules, monthly calendars, and so on. Each one having their own benefits, and each one requiring individual creation and adaptation for changes. Using digital calendars, however, transforms and streamlines this process.  Not only do digital calendars allow for students to see their task/schedule/assignments in checklist, daily, weekly, and monthly formats with just a few clicks of a button, they also make immediate changes to every format with just one action. Furthermore, voice over, fingertip writing, or typing expand and differentiate options for different abilities and purposes.

Digital Timers

This works both in class and at home (and even better if you train them to do it in class, so they do it at home). Setting aside blocks of time to work on long-term tasks, and then sticking to it. Allowing for regulated time to complete specific activities. Teacher countdowns are nice, but they make the activity teacher driven which takes it out of learners hands and limits the development of independence. Flipping the operators and/or making it more visual like a display on the overhead begin to flip the practice.

Digital Folders

Teaching kids to organize their folders in the desks, cubbies, and lockers has long been a developing skill for learners, but why isn’t the same care given to teaching keeps to organize their digital lives? Teaching the use of folders and organizational systems with technology is just as important as teaching it in physical spaces. So much of life is lived on devices (whether you think it is good or bad, it will continue), and it is important to teach students how to be the most effective in this world.

Utilizing & Organizing Bookmark Folders

We used to teach kids to write source numbers and source cards (which is still important for people who print their sources!), but now, with the barrage of sites, apps, and programs that let students annotate online (i.e. a.nnotate.com, where students can upload documents, mark them up, and share them amongst groups), it is digital organization that really matters. Two of the best options are:

  1. Creating bookmark folders, and then numbering sources within the folder.

2. Creating a pages/word document to save and store links (ideally they can just make their bibliography as they go along).

This makes it simple to put sources into outlines, so students don’t lose valuable time searching for information again and again.

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