What to Do BEFORE Using Technology to Get Organized!

Welcome to our new series on using technology with students! In this series you’ll find tips for introducing technology to your students, reviews of popular educational technology, information about the effects of tech on specific populations such as students with dyslexia and ADHD, and more.

I am a huge proponent of using technology to help students get organized and to support their use of executive function strategies. It’s easy, however, to fall into the trap of thinking of technology as a panacea that can automatically solve executive function issues. For technology to be effective, it helps to be thoughtful about how and when you introduce the use of technology. ImpactADHD.com addresses this in their article 5 Steps to Take BEFORE Using Technology to Get Organized. One of the steps stood out:

Let the student’s individual profile determine technological choices. Learn the student’s relative areas of strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. Does s/he do better with visual or auditory cues, or both? Does s/he need to physically move through tasks? Does s/he do well with deadlines? Does s/he focus better in a quiet area, or with headphones with music playing? Do beepers or timers help with gentle reminders to stay on task? Does a visual pop-up window on the computer help or distract?

Often the problem with using technology in classrooms is that students are given a product but are not walked through the process of customizing the technology to best support their needs. Perhaps this is because we are used to dealing with books and papers—tools that cant easily be changed to suit each individual student. The strength of technology is that it is almost infinitely customizable, often with just a few clicks. When we take the time to understand our students’ learning profiles, we can select and customize technology that truly addresses their organizational needs.

Do you have advice for teachers looking to use technology to help their students get organized? Are there topics about education and technology that you’d like to see in future posts in this series? Let us know in the comments!

—Elizabeth Ross, MA, SMARTS Media Manager