Tool #2: Google Calendar, SaiSuke

One of the toughest relationships to establish in college isn’t friends and roommates, but a student’s relationship with their academic planner. For some students, writing in a book type planner is difficult particularly for those with poor handwriting. Planners can be intimidating and confusing and may be new to students who previously relied on teachers or parents for EF reminders.

Smartphone calendar apps are great tools to develop executive functioning skills. Apps like Google Calendar or SaiSuke allow students to create appointments and class schedules on their smartphone and take their schedule wherever they go. In addition, students can schedule an appointment to do homework for a sociology class and link the website and reading material in the message area of the appointment. This allows students to go to their calendar, use homework links, and begin working right away. Students can also share Google Calendar with others including parents, advisors, club leaders, coaches, etc. The connectivity of Google Calendar makes this app a solid substitute for the traditional planner.

Tool #3: Your Smartphone’s Alarm Reminders

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Sometimes the best tool is the one you already own. Many smartphones and other devices contain standard features at no additional cost that can help develop executive functioning skills.

For students who struggle with working memory or organizing their thoughts, the alarm function on smartphones can be a powerful tool. Useful for both life skills and academic tasks, students can set an alarm as a reminder to meet with their professor or academic advisor, do laundry, or remember to take medication. Alarm reminders can be set for one time use or recurring appointments. This is an excellent tool which allows students to independently manage the many tasks of college life both inside and outside of the classroom.

About the Author:

Jennifer Sullivan, M.S. is an educator who has presented nationally on educational issues such as supporting students with disabilities, technology, social inequality and gender. Jennifer has worked in both K-12 and higher education settings supporting families and students with disabilities. @jshighered

Ron Samul, MFA is a college educator, writer, and mentor. He has presented at various conferences and writing events including the Northeast Popular Culture Association Conference (2016) and Hollihock Writers Conference in 2017.  He works with students in the area of short story, novel length fiction, and journalism. @ronsamulwriter