“Smart Phones” vs Planners

Marcia, a teacher from Wisconsin using the SOAR® curriculum, recently asked us:

I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a student who wants to use an e-planner, rather than a paper one?

First, I believe that the only way an “e-planner” will be helpful for a student is if it is on a “smart phone.” Computer-based e-planners are simply not as flexible and handy as a paper planner or smart phone.

With that said, I cautiously support the use of mobile phones. In fact, about 24 months ago, I changed one page in our book. If you have the SOAR® Study Skills book, you may have already seen this on page 34.

If you have an older printing of our book, page 34 essentially says, “No way!” to electronic planner devises. BUT, smart phones have made me change my tune! This is the excerpt from the current printing of page 34:

Some Cautions About Using Mobile Phones

I used to completely discourage the use of mobile phones as “planners” for two reasons: first, it was difficult to enter information in them. 

Second, it was challenging to see several dates at one time, making weekly planning impossible. However, smart phones are changing the game and these issues are no longer “issues.”

The single best advantage to using a smart phone is that it is always accessible and rarely out of your reach. Using a phone also allows you to program alarms and SMS messages as reminders, which can be very useful for managing schoolwork and after-school activities.

However, there are some things you should keep in mind if you plan to use your phone as your planner:

  1. Only use your phone IF your school allows it to be used in class for recording assignments, dates, etc. If your school does not allow the use of phones in class, you should stick with a traditional planner.
  2. All of the guidelines from this chapter still apply: you should still review your week on Sunday evening and coordinate with your family, record homework as it assigned in class, check your list of assignments before you leave school at the end of the day, etc.
  3. Alarms and SMS reminders should only be used as “back-up” reminders. You should review your calendar and assignment list weekly and daily to be aware of your responsibilities. This process prevents them from becoming “last-minute” and taking twice as long to handle.

Planners…and Smart Phones: A Lifelong Tool

Developing the habit of using a planner(or smart phone as a planner) does take some effort, but the payoff is well worth it! Not only will you find that schoolwork is easier to manage, your grades will automatically improve, and your stress level will decrease because YOU will be in control. Learning these management skills now will make life in the “real world” much easier and will allow you to achieve great success!

-Susan Kruger

JS 05182017

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