Technology That Can Help Your Kid Become a Better Student

Written on July 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm , by

I was recently listening to a fascinating panel discussion. I was deeply engrossed in it, studying some the numbers the esteemed panelists were sharing, and relaxing while sipping a cup of coffee.

This is a little unusual for me. Normally at these events, I’m busy scribbling notes (or more likely typing on a laptop) so I can recall data and sources later. A quick glance around the room, told me that scribbling notes (even though everyone sported plenty of tech) was still the norm. But as I sipped my coffee, leaned back, and listened, I was taking notes. At the beginning of the panel, I had opened the Evernote app on my phone and touched the record button. I used my phone to take a picture of the panelists, jot their names, and snap shots of any interesting slides they shared, too. But otherwise I was free to enjoy. And now that I’m home, I have better notes than I ever got from typing or scribbling.

Attending a panel is not unlike going to school. So if you have a student with a phone, tablet, or computer that connects to the Internet (maybe through the school’s Wi-Fi), why not take a minute to show her how she can use it to help her relax in class–and be a better student. She can get in the habit over the summer, figure out a system that works for her, and get a jump on the school year. If she is asking for a data phone or tablet, maybe this is a good deal to make with her before she gets one?

Start by downloading the Evernote app to her computer and whatever device she will have with her in school.

Evernote organizes all your information into notebooks and stores it online (which is why you need a Net-connected device.) So while she is in chemistry, she can simply tap the record button and set her phone on her desk or in her lap to capture every word the teacher says. If the teacher writes homework or formulas on the board, she can snap a photo of those and drop that in her Chemistry notebook. And if her phone or tablet is an Android device, she can ask Evernote to transcribe the teacher’s lecture into text.

When she’s home–or back in her dorm–she can pull all of that information up on her computer. (It syncs automatically to her account online so it’s available from any net-connected device.) So when she sits down to study she will have access to amazing notes, visual reminders of what happened in class, and her own typed notes about what it all means to her: “Due Friday!” or “Did not understand! Retake this topic at Khan Academy!”

Where was all this technology when I was in school! It’s not fair!

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle, and is the author of “How to Be a Geek Goddess.” You can find her at GeekGirlfriends.com, as well as here on Momster.com.