Friday, November 4, 2022

How Focusable Helps Me Stop Procrastinating

On Thursday morning I wrote about a new TED-Ed lesson that explains why we procrastinate. The lesson also offers some suggestions for breaking the procrastination habit. One of those suggestions is to journal about how you feel when faced with a task that you would rather avoid. To that end, I suggested trying Focusable

I've been using Focusable since September. I use it whenever there is a project or even just a list of little tasks that for one reason or another I have trouble getting started on. It's a simple program that works remarkably well. 

The premise of Focusable is that you can do anything for five minutes. Based on that idea Focusable gives you a brief breathing exercise to do then a five minute timer appears. Your goal is to work for five minutes on that thing you've been avoiding. Once you've worked for five minutes Focusable plays a little chime and prompts you to record a little video journal of how you felt while working. Then the process repeats, but the second time you work for ten minutes. Then the process repeats again for twenty minutes. 

Watch my updated video that is embedded below to see how Focusable works. 

Applications for Education
As a teacher you can create a group for your students to join in Focusable. They then use Focusable to create progressions to help them develop the habits of focusing for blocks of time and reflecting as they go. When students are in your group, you can reply to their reflections with short videos of your own to encourage them and give them feedback. Again, the only people who see those videos are you and the student. Jump to the 6:53 mark in this video to see the student perspective of Focusable.

Get Ready for The Great Thanksgiving Listen 2022

During Tuesday night's episode of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions the topic of audio recording came up. That prompted me to go on a little bit of a tangent (as I'm prone to doing) about The Great Thanksgiving Listen hosted by StoryCorps. 

The Great Thanksgiving Listen hosted by StoryCorps is back for the eigth year in a row. This annual event is intended to get people to record audio stories with family and friends. The Great Thanksgiving Listen was originally developed to get high school students to record the stories of their parents, grandparents, and other older family members. It has expanded over the years to be open to anyone who wants to participate.

StoryCorps has always provided materials to help students and teachers get involved in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Some of those resources include a video overview of how to use the StoryCorps Connect platform to remotely record stories. If students can record in-person, the StoryCorps mobile app is a good recording tool to use. Resources for teachers include lesson plans, handouts, and even letters and a permission slip that you can send home to help explain the project to parents.

Applications for Education 
I love Thanksgiving and I love oral histories. I would have my students participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen as a way to have them gather local history stories in the context of personal stories. Before The Great Thanksgiving Listen came along I did this kind of project with a social studies class by having them use VoiceThread to record their parents' and grandparents' stories about going to our local county fair.

This video provides little tip about recording that makes post-production a little easier. It's one you'll want to teach to your students before they record for The Great Thanksgiving Listen. 

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