Top 10 digital tips to make you better at being a student

Created to support a presentation being given as part of the Y12/DP1 Core session at International School of Geneva – Campus des Nations.

Get yourself organised

A notebook works but there is also a huge range of digital tools to organise what you need to get done.

Most of these platforms are based upon the need to ‘capture’ what needs to be done and then organise the ‘action’ of doing it.

If you are looking for a digital to-do list manager have a look at these →

  • Google Tasks [part of your Google Workspace for Education account]
  • Google Keep [part of your Google Workspace for Education account]
  • Todoist [Mr Allaway’s favourite]
  • Notion [great potential – more about this application in tips 8 and 9]
Organise your stuff

Ensure you are signed into Google Chrome with your @learning.ecolint.ch account so that your bookmarks and extensions sync.

When naming a file – use the Date + Big + Small approach → for example: Nov 20 Geo 3.1.1 Poverty Reduction

If you are submitting a digital file to ManageBac or similar make sure you put your name in the file name.

Backup your stuff

Use Google Drive File Stream signing in with your school Google Workspace (aka G Suite) account. 

Make use of the Google Workspace tools that the school provides. If you start a piece of work in Google Documents or Google Sheets – then it is ‘relatively safe’ in your Google Drive. 

Files left on the desktop of your laptop are ‘local’ and not backed up or synchronized.

Saving things for later

You find something useful → how do you save if for later? 

Whether that be articles for your Extended Essay, further reading, ‘thinking’ around one of your subjects or life plans for the end of Covid/Lockdown.

Google Keep can be useful → install the Google Keep Chrome extension.

Pocket is a really useful tool [and another one of Mr Allaway’s favourites].

H1, H2, H3 and page breaks

It is good practice to use the Heading 1, Heading 2 formatting options when you add headings and sub-headings to any ‘extended’ piece of work.

One of the reasons to do so is for the ease of changing fonts etc – for all headings – in just one place.

It is ‘bad’ practice to be using multiple strikes of the enter key to make space in a document. Use page breaks instead [Insert → Break → Page break] – they will help you maintain the overall structure and formatting you

Document outlines + table of contents

If you have made use of Heading 1, Heading 2 etc then you will be able to take advantage of the document outline [View → Show document outline], on the document’s left hand side, which allows you to click on sections of the outline and be taken straight there.

A table of contents can easily be added [Insert → Table of Contents] and don’t forget to add page numbers [Insert → Page numbers].

Curate your 'essential selections'

It is never too late to start to curate your ‘essential selections’.

Try and maintain YouTube playlists of the ‘best’ video clips you watch in each subject. YouTube playlists can be collaborative so there is no need to do it alone!

Do you have a system for saving useful podcasts and articles? Pocket (already mentioned) could be a suitable tool as could Notion (will be mentioned in Number 9).

DP geographers should have a look at podcasts.geographyalltheway.com for podcasts curated by unit.

Active recall

There is a need for you to be going beyond re-reading and highlighting when it comes to your revision approaches.

You should be aiming for ‘active recall’ – actions that flex your brain as if it were a muscle.

Tools like quizlet – and their use to create and use quality flashcards – can help with the active element of ‘active recall’.

Have you thought about one place for it all?

I only recently ‘found’ Notion and I am impressed in what it has to offer. The ‘toggle list’ feature which allows you to easily collapse and open lists is really useful as a first step towards activel recall revision approaches.

Setting it up as a ‘one stop shop’ for all your notes, to-do lists, planning etc would be an productive move in terms of organising the demands put upon you as busy DP/CP students. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides embed nicely within Notion.

Notion is free for students → notion.so/students

Ready to go online?

Make sure you have a decent app, on your smartphone, that scans to PDF – such as Adobe Scan. This makes scanning and sharing hand written tasks easy. Annotating PDF files is an efficient process for teachers.

I also recommend the use of Google Calendar (for everybody) as notifications can be used to remind you of the start of lessons etc.