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How to Improve Student Task Management with Technology

How to Improve Student Task Management with Technology

By Raphaela Brandner

boring reading tool“I’m sorry, I forgot.”

How often have you heard this sentence from a student? No matter what subject or grade you teach, forgotten homework is a problem you have to deal with on a regular basis.

“I just didn’t have enough time.”

Does this sound familiar, too? How many of your students have trouble estimating the time it will take to complete a project and thus simply start working on it far too late?

Forgotten homework and missed deadlines are an annoyance for you as a teacher and often lead to a bad grade for the student. But task management is about more than that—being able to both organize and reliably produce results in a given timeframe are essential skills for any students’ future career.

Acquainting students with task management systems and tools equips them with skills they’ll need to be successful in the modern business world. Thankfully, this type of technology is becoming ever more intuitive and easy to use, so that even young students can utilize and greatly benefit from it. Here’s what you need to know about improving student task management with technology.

Benefits of Task Management Technology

Students can use any type of notebook, calendar or piece of paper to track their assignments and check off tasks as they’ve completed. Technology, however, has a number of benefits compared to handwritten lists:

  • Most applications send automatic notifications to remind students of deadlines.
  • Digital task lists and calendars can easily be edited and updated when something changes.
  • Students can attach additional information or whole files to their tasks.
  • Cats and dogs have a hard time eating digital files—no more excuses for missed deadlines.

Web applications in particular are steadily gaining in popularity because they offer a number of additional benefits:

  • Data can be accessed from any computer or mobile device, anytime.
  • Projects, tasks and calendars can be shared with others for group collaboration.

Types of Task Management Tools

Before you introduce your students to task management technology, decide which type of tool you want them to use. Making sure that everyone in the class uses the same one is not only practical, because you spend less time explaining things, but it also means that students may be able to connect with each other for collaborative work in group or class projects.

Here are four student-friendly tools.

Calendars

Teamup

Calendars are a great way to visualize deadlines and appointments. Most calendars are customizable, making it easy for students to select the timeframe they want to display (e.g. only weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Color codes can also be used to indicate the type of task (e.g. homework, presentation etc.) or the subject it’s related to.

The tool: Teamup, a simple web app that can be used without an email address.

If you use Google Apps for Education, students can use Google Calendar for their needs.

Task and Project Boards

MeisterTask

A task or project board is a canvas that displays tasks divided into different vertical sections. These tools are popular among professional project teams because they’re simple to use, highly visual, and can mirror all sorts of workflows.

They happen to be perfect for schools as well. Students can use the various sections in their project boards to divide tasks into different types or according to subject. In most cases, they can also categorize tasks (e.g. labeling a project as important), add deadlines, create checklists, and import notes and files.

The Tool: MeisterTask, an intuitive task manager with customizable boards 

To-Do Lists

Wunderlust

To-do lists present one of the simplest formats for task management. As opposed to task boards, which display vertically, to-do list tools usually display tasks in horizontal rows.

Often, the items in a list can be marked with some kind of priority system, filtered by date or priority, and checked off one by one. Students can also add deadlines, notes, or files to their to-dos.

The Tool: Wunderlist, a popular list tool that offers various web and mobile apps.

Mind Maps

MindMeister

Mind maps display tasks in a radiant structure around a center topic. Students particularly like this format because creating a mind map doesn’t feel like work. They can freely add images, icons, videos and colors to the items in their map, connect them with arrows and customize the theme to their liking.

Many mind map applications offer simple task management features that allow students to prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and signify that everything is completed.

The Tool: MindMeister, an online mind map app used by countless teachers and students worldwide.

WRforSchools
View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. Candace Alstad Davies

    September 1, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Excellent blog post Raphaela – students/children need to know at a young age the benefits of organization and task prioritization. These four helpful tools will definitely help.

  2. Bob

    September 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    wunderlust 😉

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