Blog #3 – Learning Strategies Reaction

How successful were you at implementing the strategy or technique? What helped or impeded your success?

I was able to use the Pomodoro technique 6 times in the past 3 weeks. I did not use this strategy as much as I wanted to. On some days, I had to do other things after school. For example, I recently attended a few evening workshops on applying for university. On weekdays, I found it very difficult to get myself to start studying. After I come home from a long day at school, all I want to do is eat and stay on the couch. I would also procrastinate by doing anything but school work. Sometimes I will do some house chores or watch a random documentary, in order to feel accomplished. During the weekends, it was much easier for me to implement the Pomodoro technique since I’m not exhausted from a day of school. After a good night’s rest, my mind feels more motivated to finish school work. Additionally, I have bigger pieces of time to use for studying, which can be nicely structured using the Pomodoro technique. Overall, I was only somewhat successful in implementing the Pomodoro technique.

Did the strategy improve your learning or reduce your procrastination? What evidence do you have to support this claim?

This strategy helped me improve my learning. I was able to focus and get my work done. After sleeping in on the weekends, I woke up feeling well-rested and motivated. I am the most productive from 1p.m. to 4p.m. During this time period, I used the Pomodoro technique to help me study. I studied at 40-minute intervals and took breaks at 10-minute intervals. During those 40 minutes, I was very focused on my work. I felt a little bit of pressure to complete as many things as I could before the timer went off. This pressure was not too much to handle, it was just enough to prevent me from going off track.

Will you continue with the strategy?  Why or why not?

I will definitely continue with this strategy. When I used it on the weekends, it really increased my productivity. I think that this learning strategy works well for me, since I feel very accomplished afterward. I need to resist the urge to procrastinate and use this strategy more often, especially on weekdays. Once I am able to get myself to start working, the Pomodoro technique is able to keep me on track and productive. Because of this, I might keep using this strategy in university as well.

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Blog #2 – A New Learning Strategy

Summarize your chosen strategy and explain why you picked it.

I chose to implement the Pomodoro technique into my study habits. This technique involves the use of a timer, to break down time into intervals of work and break. I would work for 25 minutes, then the timer would go off, indicating that it is time for my break. And I will continue this work-break cycle until I get my work done. I chose the Pomodoro technique because I think that will help me fix my bad study habits. One problem with my studying is that I will give myself too long of a break. But hopefully, I will be able to fix this problem with the Pomodoro technique.

Image result for tomato timer

Explain how you will implement the strategy.

I happen to have a Pomodoro kitchen timer at home so I will be using that as my timer. After I get home from school, I will set the timer to a 15-minute break so I can grab a quick snack to eat. Then, it will be time for the 25-minute work period. The first portion of this 25 minutes will be used to plan out my study schedule for the night and finish a small piece of homework. Then, I will give myself a 5-minute break. I will repeat this cycle until it is time to make dinner. Dinner time is one of the large breaks that I will get in between my study times. After dinner, I will go through another 2 or 3 cycles of the Pomodoro technique. Then it will be time to go outside for some fresh air. A nice jog or walk around the neighborhood will allow me to exercise and relax my eyes. When I get home, I may or may not do another study session, depending on my school workload that day.

What is your end goal? How will you know the strategy works for you?

My end goal is definitely to become more productive with my time. I want to have a better study habit, which will increase the hours of sleep I get. First of all, I need to be able to follow the time intervals I set for myself. If I’m not able to focus during the 25 minutes where I’m supposed to work, then this strategy is not for me. On the contrary, if I’m able to focus and be productive during the time interval where I’m supposed to be studying, then this strategy is definitely good for me. If I am successful with the Pomodoro technique, then I should see an increase in my productivity. I shouldn’t have to work on schoolwork while I’m should be sleeping, which would be great. Additionally, the quality of my work should improve as well, since I should be more focused on the task at hand.

What are your critical moves?

The hardest part will be step 1. Which is getting started with studying. Once I get home, I tend to eat my snack, then fall down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos. My first critical move will be getting myself to start on my work. The first thing I do when I get home is to set up the timer. And hopefully, in 15 minutes, the obnoxious sound of the alarm will get me out of the couch, and into my desk chair. Once I am seated at my desk, I will be able to start working.

Image result for alarm clipart

How will you shrink the change?

To get myself used to the Pomodoro technique, I will use it every other day. If I like it, then I will use the method more often. I will probably increase from 3 times a week, to 4 times a week, and eventually, I will be using this method every day. I will also increase the time intervals where I am studying. However, I don’t want to change the time length of my break. I will gradually increase the time of studying for 25 minutes, to 30 minutes, 40 minutes, and finally, 45 minutes. This should help me get used to using the Pomodoro technique and become more productive.

How will you tweak the environment?

The first step is getting rid of the biggest distractions I face when studying. That means turning off the notifications for my phone and putting it in another room. I will use my Ipad if I need to do any research. Since I did not install any apps that could potentially distract me (E.g. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram), I am more likely to focus on my work. I will use my Pomodoro kitchen timer to time myself instead of my phone or Ipad. This may sound weird, but having a tomato time my study and break times is more effective than my phone timing me. Lastly, I will organize my work into 2 piles, a ‘to-do’ pile, and a ‘done’ pile. This will help me visually keep track of my work progress. Additionally, I will also be motivated as the ‘done’ pile grows larger. These steps should boost my productivity and work effectively with the Pomodoro technique.

Blog #1 – Technology and 21st Century Learning

Do you feel the school is preparing you adequately for your future? Why or why not?

I think the school is doing a decent job of preparing me for my future. It allows me to choose my own courses, which means that I get to choose the courses that will prepare me for the program I want in a university. I think the courses taught in grade 11 or 12 will give me important background knowledge and really help me with university studies. The group work and presentations help in improving my soft skills, which is very important. Furthermore, the careers course helps with building a resume, which is crucial when finding a job. It would be great if schools could teach things regarding taxes and managing bank accounts, but I will have to learn the skills from my mom. Additionally, I don’t think schools really need to teach housekeeping and cooking courses. Students can simply help their parents with house chores, and learn the skills that way. Overall, I think the school does prepare me for me for my future, but the school system definitely has room for improvement.

How do you personally use technology to learn?

At home, I would access the power point lessons that teachers have posted on their website to write down the notes to prepare for tomorrows lesson. The calendar section on a teacher’s website is also very helpful in terms of keeping track of everything. Facebook is incredibly helpful when it comes to contacting classmates for either a group project or a question about the homework. For math class, I use online graphing calculators so I can physically see how the graphs behave and therefore, understand the material. Lastly, I will go online to do research for a project.

Do classes that use more technology appeal to you? Is it easier for you to learn the content?

No, I do not like classes that use a lot of technology. I don’t like to stare at screens for long periods of time. I like watching videos or learning from a power point lesson. However, research projects and writing assignments on a word document is my nightmare. Furthermore, doing mandatory online quizzes or assignments every night is one of my least favourites. I think that I learn best when I am writing things down, instead of filling out a worksheet online.

Does it matter to you if a teacher uses technology in class? Why or why not?

It does not really matter to me if a teacher uses technology in class. To me, what matters more is how well the teacher uses that technology. For example, a teacher got a student to do a question on the SMARTboard. However, the SMARTboard didn’t work well, and the student was not very good at using it. So the answer written on the SMARTsmart board turned out almost illegible and I became more confused with the concept. While in chemistry, class, the teacher often used the projector to project the questions on to the chalk board. Then, students would go up to either answer the question or fill in the blanks. It would always work very well, and I thought it was a very clever way to use the technology. So in the end, it depends on how well that technology is utilized.

What technology would you like to see teachers use that is not currently being used?  Why did you choose that technology?

I think 3D printing is something that should be taught. It is an important piece of technology in society. Students should get a chance to learn how to use it and how it works. Not only is it fascinating and will be able to engage the students, but this technology can also be used for different subject areas. For example, in an engineering class, students will be able to 3D print pieces for their projects. I chose this technology because of it is very useful in the real world and can also help students’ learning.