This post was originally published by Medium.
Earlier this year New York Times columnist Frank Bruni expressed his concern for today’s exhausted superkids.
Bruni focused on sleep deprivation of modern students who are on the “fast track” as academic and extracurricular activities pile up. “In communities where academic expectations run highest, the real culprit is panic: about acing the exam, burnishing the transcript, keeping up with high-achieving peers,” he opined.
I hear him loud and clear. The modern student is busy. Really busy.
This column no doubt caught my eye because I’ve given a lot of thought to student time management and overworked students. A few years back this narrative even led me to incorporate student time management tools into my company’s platform and begin pushing for digital solutions to support the exhausted superkids that Bruni speaks of.
What I’ve noticed is this: it’s all about getting on the same page. I’ve generally found that parents, instructors, coaches, advisors, and college admissions offices don’t mean to exhaust or overwhelm students. They want to challenge them. They want to expose students to lots of things. They want to support happy, well-rounded kids.
The problem is tunnel vision. A student doesn’t always have a singular instructor setting out to challenge or engage them. A student probably has three or four or five - all jockeying for hours of their day. And if these influencers aren’t synced up, you’re going to have a tired - and potentially frantic - student.
I’m a data nerd at heart, so I can’t help but think that technology can help here.
I don’t believe the answer is to stop challenging or engaging students; the answer is to do it as a team. Digital tools that clue in teachers and parents as to how much homework a student has each night - or how much time personal to-dos and extracurriculars are taking against academic activities - get the conversation started.
I’m all about streamlining. Get parents and coaches and teachers on a single platform where they can talk and clearly monitor how much is on someone’s plate before it becomes too much. Data can help us map the full spectrum of a student's daily workload and send up red flags before we overload them. (This is the sort of stuff I’m giddy about improving and incorporating into Chalkup’s platform….so stay tuned on that front.)
When it comes to time management tools, I’m also interested in stacking the deck for kids. Developing tech that will get students thinking about time management from an early age and prep them for balancing work and life in the future is one element. This includes such simple things as helping students map out their day or prioritize tasks.
School is hard. The answer isn’t to make it easier; it’s to make it more balanced by communicating as influencers. The answer is to prioritize time management skills at a young age so students can stay ultra-focused on what needs to get done now, laying the foundation for real-world demands and supporting healthier students.