In the past I’ve written about tools that students can use to block distractions like social media sites when they are trying to focus on completing a task. And while those tools are helpful, it’s even more helpful to learn how to focus and block distractions on your own. That’s why I’ve started using a new tool called Focusable (disclosure, they’re an advertiser on my websites).
Focusable is a tool that is designed to help users learn how to focus, ignore distractions, and get into a flow to complete any series of tasks or projects. You can use it for things like trying to read or write for 30 minutes without letting yourself get distracted, building and tracking progress toward completing a big project, or simply spending 5 minutes thinking and breathing while not looking at anything at all. I used Focusable for all three of those things last week.
How it Works
You can use Focusable in your web browser. It’s also available as a free Android app and as a free iOS app. With Focusable you document progress, manage time and goals, and learn to self-regulate through working in time blocks and completing short refocusing exercises.
Once you’ve signed into your Focusable account you create a progression. A progression is a goal or project that you’re trying to accomplish. For example, when writing this newsletter I created a progression titled Write This Week’s Newsletter. This video shows you how I used Focusable to help me write this week’s newsletter.
Progressions are a series of three time blocks. The default time blocks are five minutes followed by ten minutes followed by twenty minutes. There is a little alert at the end of each block. Following the alert you’ll be prompted to record a brief video (that only you see) to reflect on how you felt during that block. Then you’ll be prompted to take a deep breath in and out before beginning the next block. After the third time block has expired you’re prompted to take a break away from a screen.
The default time blocks in Focusable are five, ten, and twenty minutes. You can easily change those to fit your needs. I did one progression last week that was just five, ten, and ten because I only had 30 minutes to write before I had to go get my kids from school.
Focusable in Classrooms
It’s important to note that Focusable was created specifically for school use by the same people that developed the popular Swivl platform. It’s for that reason that the video reflections students record are only visible to them and you.
As a teacher you can create a group for your students to join in Focusable. They then use Focusable to create progressions to help them develop the habits of focusing for blocks of time and reflecting as they go. When students are in your group, you can reply to their reflections with short videos of your own to encourage them and give them feedback. Again, the only people who see those videos are you and the student. Jump to the 6:53 mark in this video to see the student perspective of Focusable.
Overall, I think Focusable could be used by anyone who struggles to get started on a project or to keep working toward a goal.
Using Tech to Bring Joy Into Your Teaching…
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50 Tech Tuesday Tips!
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