#11 – Develop Your Students’ Digital Organizational Skills: Study Spaces, Routines, and Time Management

Unpacking Education October 28, 2020 26 min

A critical component of every student’s educational journey is learning how to organize—both their physical learning artifacts as well as their thought process. When we add remote learning to the mix, digital organizational skills add new layers of complexity. In this week’s podcast, we’ll share strategies for helping students organize their educational life, so they can be more successful when learning at home.

Join our team as they discuss study spaces, routines, and time management for students in a digital learning world. Rather than simply throwing a handful of digital platforms at students, we explore practical tips to help students develop a centralized process to organize their work, which in turn will help them cognitively process their learning.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
Digital Learning Coach
Pamela Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist

Below, you will find resources and tips shared during the podcast to support your virtual-teaching goals.

Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.

Kenneth Chenault, business executive


In this week’s episode, we discuss the following strategies and resources that are available on AVID Open Access for you to explore in more depth.

Help Students Develop Digital Routines to Support Organization in the Virtual Classroom

Executive function skills are rarely taught, either at home or in school. Students who struggle with working memory, cognitive flexibility, and the ability to resist distractions often find organization challenging. With the focus on remote learning this year, helping students develop digital organizational systems is a priority. It’s also important to always be aware of equity issues, as some students just don’t have a good space at home to focus on their learning. Check out the strategies below to develop protocols to clearly communicate learning objectives and expectations, as well as provide visibility into the work required to reach learning goals.

Get Set Up for Success

Set Up Effective Study Spaces: Students need a dedicated study space where they can do some serious work. Help students create a comfortable, quiet, distraction-free space, where they can keep the following in mind:

  • Avoid muscle strain and fatigue. Can you adjust your chair and monitor to suit your body? Do you have access to an external keyboard and mouse so that your monitor is at eye level?
  • Avoid eye strain. If possible, set up your space in a room with good lighting, preferably natural light. Adjust your monitor setting for font size, brightness, and contrast. There are some great Google Chrome extensions, like Visor, to help reduce eye strain. Even then, blink often and look away from your screen regularly.
  • Minimize distractions. A recent survey found that college students feel technology is necessary when in class, but the need to minimize distractions is critical. Students who had fewer tabs open and silenced all social media alerts performed much better.
  • Identify an ideal time and place for studying. Try to find the quietest place in the house—a place where you can close the door. Identify a study time when your home is quiet or make a pact with siblings to all study at the same time.

Routines and Time Management: Help students create daily routines that are consistent. Make it as easy as possible for them to find the resources they need by ensuring that important links are always posted in the same spot.

  • Students need to be able to accomplish these three things in order to feel like they can be successful in remote learning: I can find it. I can choose it. I can do it.
    • I can find it. Teachers and students need to be organized, so they can find the tools they need.
    • I can choose it. Students need to feel like they have choice over their inputs and their outputs.
    • I can do it. Students need to know how to do what is asked of them or how to get help if they are confused.

Having a routine in place where students feel like they can do these three things will allow them to be successful.

Digital Tools

Let us help you look for new ways to engage students online. We share tips for the following digital tool in this week’s episode.

Digital Calendars and ePlanners: Teach students how to create a daily or weekly action plan. Have students set aside time each week to review their calendar, goals, priority tasks, and related checklists that need to be accomplished for the week. From there, divide these tasks into daily agendas and/or a weekly planner.

  • Use the calendar features in your LMS. In Schoology, for instance, teacher events for each class and student events merge onto one calendar.
  • SlidesMania has lots of nicely designed weekly and yearly ePlanner templates available, and they’re all free!
  • Calendly is free scheduling software that works well for teachers. Colleagues, students, and parents/guardians can schedule meetings with you that integrate with your Outlook, Office 365, Google, or iCloud calendar so that you are never double-booked again!