Monthly Archives

November 2017

5 Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done

By | productivity | One Comment

Five Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done

We all want to be more productive, but sometimes it seems as if there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all we want. Fortunately, there are more useful tools than ever before that can increase your productivity to levels you didn’t think possible. Here are five of the top tools to help you be more productive:

Give your brain a break by installing BreakTime 

Famous author Louisa May Alcott once advised, “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.” Breaks are important, but if we’re being honest, most of us would admit that we take too many breaks and/or take them too often. Some of us have the problem of forgetting to take breaks at all.

The simple tool BreakTime helps us monitor these breaks better. You pick the amount of time you want to work uninterrupted, as well as how long of a break you want between work sessions. BreakTime runs in the background of your computer and tells you when it’s time to take a break. A countdown timer lets you know when to resume work. Rather than unproductively checking your phone or favorite websites intermittently during your workflow, wait until your break. You’ll be surprised how much more work you accomplish.

 Organize anything, anytime, by getting Any.do

It’s difficult to be productive if you’re disorganized. Any.do keeps you organized with to-do lists (which you can share with others), reminders, notes, and calendars. All of this can be synced between your phone, computer, or tablet. It’s allowing you to always have your information at hand. Need your hands free? You can simply speak to the app and tell it to add something to one of your lists. The app is designed to be easy to learn and simple to use. You can even customize your theme to match your taste.

Reclaim your time with RescueTime

Not sure where all your time is going? RescueTime can tell you. It runs in the background of your computer and/or phone and monitors how much time is spent on different websites and applications. Looking through the data, you can see how much time you spend on productive activities and how much of it is wasted on distractions. If you notice particular websites are draining your productivity, you can block them during time frames of your choice. Distractions gone, you can focus on important tasks easier.

 Blend all your work apps using Notion 

According to a study conducted at Carleton University, people spend a third of their time at the office reading and responding to emails. They additionally spend half of the time they work from home on emails. The creators of Notion have all personally struggled with overflowing inboxes. Now, they strive to make your inbox more efficient. Using artificial intelligence, the app
highlights which emails are most important and likely to need a speedy response. You no longer have to worry about forgetting to reply to an email or responding to an important one too late. Also, you can connect to Alexa and listen to important messages or use your voice to organize emails.

 Audiobook ANYTHING, with Speechify

Warren Buffet, the second wealthiest person in the United States (and fourth richest person in the entire world), is famously quoted saying, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”. How often do you read 500 pages a day? For most of you, not often, if
ever. Why? We know reading is valuable, but it can also be very time-consuming and challenging. That’s where Speechify can help you.

This app can greatly improve your speed reading, helping you absorb more information faster. It allows you to listen to books, with the power to pause, skip, and control the speed. This can be done from a computer or you can take your readings with you on your phone to listen to anywhere. While useful for anyone, Speechify is especially valuable for those with reading disabilities. In fact, according to founder Cliff Weitzman, “We’ve seen middle school students with dyslexia go from reading 120 words per minute to listening at 540 words per minute over the course of two weeks.”

Saving that much time reading creates a huge productivity boost. Rather than monotone computer voices, Speechify lets you listen to actual human voices. Whether you’re a busy college student with endless readings to get through, or a professional trying to stay up-to- date on the latest news in your field, this app is a real game changer.

We could talk endlessly about Speechify because we personally know how beneficial it has been for others and all the hard work that has gone into it. To learn more about how Speechify helps you take control of your readings, check out our personal blog.

 

What are your favorite tools for jumpstarting productivity?

 

Why technology is crucial in closing the achievement gap

By | Dyslexia, education | No Comments

Why technology is crucial in closing the achievement gap

When was the last time you felt powerful and completely in control of your future? It’s not always easy feeling confident in your abilities. This is especially true for struggling students. Education is meant to be a great equalizer.

Unfortunately, the same amount of schooling can result in vastly different amounts of actual learning done by students. This results in an “achievement gap” among students where some groups of learners have substantially lower academic achievement. Education isn’t one size fits all and the best way to teach students is to give them opportunities to guide their own learning.

So how do we close this damaging divide and encourage learners to take control of their education?

Technology in education

Technology is crucial in closing the achievement gap. Within homes, the amount of technology (and how advanced it is) varies greatly. Some educational professionals believe if students can access the same technology, it would equalize learning opportunities. The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) and Alliance for Excellent Education state “technology- when implemented properly- can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk.”

Learners with dyslexia are a group where technology can be particularly beneficial. According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, although dyslexia is the most common reading disability by a large margin, “many of those with dyslexia remain undiagnosed and untreated. This is especially true in public school and even more so in African-American and Latino communities.”.

Racial minorities with dyslexia have compounded challenges as they struggle both from racial discrimination and reading confusion, which can result in overrepresentation in special education. While these students can have average (or above average) intelligence, they need the proper tools to succeed.

“With dyslexia, we don’t have a knowledge gap; we have an action gap.” -Dr. Sally Shaywitz

How can technologies help student with disabilities?

What technologies can we give every learner to help them confidently guide their education?

An obvious one is internet access. Teachers increasingly hand out assignments that require going online, but not all families have internet at home or an easy way to find it elsewhere.

To solve this problem, many schools are providing each student an electronic device with internet access to use as they attend school. This is commonly referred to as “one-to-one computing” or the “one-to-one initiative.” Another great resource is audiobooks. Rutgers University found in one of their studies that students who used audio textbooks increased their reading rate by 18%.

Another resource?

Audiobooks allow learners to focus on content and easily repeat sections. While audiobooks are particularly beneficial for those with dyslexia or other reading disabilities, there are benefits for everybody. Applications like Speechify even allow listeners to adjust the speed a text is read.

Technologies like these are about providing power. A student on the internet has the power to explore topics of interest as deeply as they desire. When we give people audiobooks, we empower them to practice their reading and comprehension skills at their own pace. Technology is a tool students use to enhance their learning and show us their potential.

As Blumengarten says, “Tech gives the quietest student a voice.”

 

Are we ready to listen?

How Speechify Can Improve Your Reading

By | productivity, reading, students | 2 Comments

How Speechify Can Improve Your Reading

 

Talking is easy; reading isn’t. Coping with dyslexia in college, Cliff Weitzman created an app that can scan any text and read it to you at your comfortable paceHere are just a few ways that Speechify can help you improve your productivity :

Get the most out of your morning routine

Make your ten minute walk to Econ 101 a constructive part of your day. Make cooking your morning breakfast a productive thing. Don’t miss the latest article from your favorite New York Times sections just because you simply “didn’t have the time”. Let a little technology make life a lot easier. With Speechify, learning isn’t limited by mundane chores; rather, continue to learn or study while you mop the floors.

Cut your reading time in half

Back in the stone age people would have to allot tens of hours to finish a book. With Speechify you can accelerate your reading by toggling your reading speed to 800 words per minute. If you’re a fast reader, you can listen to an article at 2x the speed. If you’re a slow reader you can listen at a regular pace that allows you to coherently digest the information without interruptions. Either way your reading time is sped up tremendously.

Improve your own reading, by listening

Speechify isn’t just an easy shortcut, because it’s actually helping you improve your writing and reading skills. By listening to a text uninterrupted, you improve your own ability to do so yourself. Listening to your text has the potential to improve your vocabulary, grammar, and focus. Kill two birds with one stone: improve your own reading, by letting your phone do the hard work.

Save (more than) a few bucks

As if receiving a good education isn’t expensive enough, those of us who struggle with reading often spend twice the money just trying to keep up. Audiobooks, tutors, and other resources are pricey. Any avid tape listener will tell you books on tape can cost up to hundreds of dollars a month.With Speechify anything can be your audiobook. Save yourself money and time by choosing what you want read, and in the voice you want it read in.

For over 40 million American adults, writing is still a drag, reading is a burden, and winning the school spelling bee never seemed like a possibility. Speechify lets you take advantage of all the written material out there by letting you listen to it in half the time.

 

Interested in learning other tools to increase your productivity? Read Five Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done.