This webinar with PACER's Tara Bruss and Sarah Giffen-Hunter is the last in a 3-part series, and covers strategies for boosting one’s focus. Managing one’s focus and attention can be challenging for students of all ages, and yet often crucial for academic success. Topics discussed include timers that support focus, apps to track smartphone use, and tools to manage online distractions, as well as methods and strategies to support attention that incorporate the visual, auditory, tactile, and vestibular senses.
- Well hello everyone. Welcome to part three of Study Skills. Today we're going to be talking about Managing Focus and Attention. I am Tara Bruss.
- And I'm Sarah Giffen-Hunter.
- And we are assistive technology specialist at the Simon Technology Center. So today you're joining us on livestream and our default the volume setting is at 50% so if you are having trouble hearing us, first try turning the sound up and also using headphones and or earbuds can increase your experience listening. For messages from the host and also from links to handouts and evaluation there is an event post link that you can click on to see those things and then also to chat with questions about technical assistance or if you just want to chat and engage with each other we have comments or questions. There's a chat window that you can click on to talk with others and to get questions on technical assistance.
- So we are broadcasting today from the PACER Center. We are located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tara and I both work at the Simon Technology Center which is one Department of PACER. PACER started as a program for parent advocates advocating for students with special needs to get their needs met at school and in life. We do have a website with a great wealth of resources and as you can see on this slide a number of different programs that we do including like the National Bullying Prevention Center and the Transition Employment Center for students who are going from high school to college or work environment. So take a look at that PACER.org and then a little bit about the Simon Technology Center where we work.
We do a lot of information and referral about assistive technology. We do have a lending library, that's one of our primary programs and we also have out of state we serve Minnesota but we also have out of state memberships so you can join as an organization or as a family from other states and we do ship items out and we do workshops and in services and programs such as this and yeah. So also we have a lot of information online and we do have a online catalog for our lending library. So this is the third in a three-part series and the first two are archived on the CTD website. If they are not there now, they will be soon as well as this one will be.
So the first one that we did was on research and note-taking skills and basically doing research and taking notes while reading or while listening to a lecture and then the second one was on multi-sensory learning and review and we talked about a lot of different ways to engage the different senses to participate with the material and to assist with retention of the material. Okay. So for today we are going to start by talking about distractions and self-awareness and understanding your own senses and then we will move into increasing the awareness of time with timers, watches and alarms and then we're going to go through tools and strategies for focus and attention and we'll kind of work through the different senses as we do that and then we'll wrap up with some tips on managing electronic distractions.
Okay so first thing is gaining awareness of distractions. So what I'd like to emphasize is for you or the person, the young person or the student or whoever that you are working with to think about their different senses and what helps you focus and what is distracting. So as you see we have a list of different senses. The typical ones we think of are sight, hearing, smell and then some others temperature, hunger, thirst, sleepiness. So all of these are things that might be a particular thing that distracts you when you're trying to study and what time of day are you most able to concentrate. Are there times of day that you know are not the best for you and so you might want to schedule something else during that time.
How do you perceive time? So perception of time is about the subjective experience of time and individuals are all very different in how they perceive time. Some people perceive it to be moving quickly or slowly and then what we're doing at that time impacts that so that's why the tools to help us be aware of time in the passage of time are very helpful. What helps you to focus and for instance like music. Is music helpful for you to focus or is music distracting and then what kinds of music. So that's an important thing. We'll talk about the auditory in just a couple of minutes here and how can you set up the best study environment for yourself?
- So increasing awareness of time can help with several different things. It can help with being able to be in the present moment and to be able to be mindful of the present task at hand by being aware of the time. Setting realistic goals. So if a person understands their individual task pace, then they can better set goals that are more appropriate for it timewise and then they don't feel so overwhelmed or feel like they're rushing as much. Setting timelines can give some motivation to stay focused on the present task and also can provide some structure for the student so that they're not worrying about what is coming up next.
They've already set up their game plan and they have a plan of what they're gonna be doing so they can focus on what they're doing at the present moment. So there's a variety of different tools that can help with being aware of current time. A visual timer such as the time timer. I'm gonna hold this up, can show passing of time. So this goes up to 60 minutes, one hour and so there's this red disk that as time passes, it will decrease and so there's a visual representation of how time is passing by and at the end it will also give a beep. There is also an app called Time Timer and it works the same way. It's just it's now on a a mobile device, a tablet or smartphone and so then same thing we can move this red disk around to set the time and then we press play, it's going to do the countdown of the time. In addition though we can also see the time in number format below too.
Talking timers can also provide an audible way to stay present in time and be aware of the current time and there's a lot of different apps by Johnny Sundblom. These apps most of them are available on the Android system things like time announcer will be a talking clock to announce the time an interval that you choose, say every minute, five minutes, 15 whatever. Speaking stopwatch will speak the counting up of time. So as time is passing by and then a speaking timer counts the time decreasing, getting closer to the end of the time and there is also iOS app called Speak The Time which is a talking clock. I'm going to show you talking clock that we have here on our device.
- [Female] 11:38.
- So that's speaking the time for us and so we can go in, we can choose the interval that we would like so the frequency in minutes and so you can choose by minute all the way up to every 60 minutes every hour. I apologize I didn't change my view here. Sorry so now we were looking at talking clock.
- [Female] 11:39.
- So that's what the screen looks like. It does run in the background so if a student is doing somehow work on their iPad they can open up other apps to use those and this will speak in the background and I was trying to show it here you can change the frequency, so how often it's going to speak the time and so that's going to be a very individual need for each person. They need to test it out to see how frequently they need it and that might change for different tasks too for the notification of time. So again that can help a person to become more present in the moment, bring them back to the task at hand and once they start thinking about other things and bring them back to their current task and also be aware of how much time is passing.
Also watches that are have a chime on them or can vibrate or a SmartWatch that has notifications can alert to passing of time as well. So say every five minutes there's a vibration to alert of another chunk of five minutes has gone by for just an example. Timers can also help with this as well and so these can really help with coming back to present moment again, limiting breaks or resuming tasks after a break is completed, reminders when it's time to transition to the next activity or the next task on the agenda. So there's very different kinds of timers. So the watch minder is pictured on your PowerPoint handout. That is, it looks very much like a sports watch. It's about a similar size to a typical sports watch that has the option to have vibrating interval timers.
So say every five minutes there's an alert that'll pop up and you can program with a short text what that says so the picture here says, pay attention but there's pre-programmed messages and then you can program in your own custom message too. The invisible clock that's also pictured is like a pager but it provides a vibration alert in the interval that you choose for this as well. So if wearing a watch is not a good option, wearing a pager in the pocket is a better option here is another style of device. The repeat timer is an app on the iOS system and this will provide an interval timer in the setting that you choose. So there's a repeat timer and then there's an interval and I'll just show the demonstration how that works. So it's set for six seconds, we can see this is the main timer it's gonna count down and then we have an interval timer. Now the interval timer is counting down.
And so how this could be used for example is if a student is doing intervals of studying or doing a homework and then interval of break time having a mind break. Say maybe they're studying for 10 minutes and then they want to have a two minute mind break and then they can set up their interval timer to keep going through these intervals so that they can stay on that task. I also want to show you 3030. This is a sequencing timer that you can pre-program for the sequence of events. So if a student is wanting to go through a different study progression and through their evening of tasks that they have, they can set this all up ahead of time, program the time with that and then we press play and it's going to do the count down.
We can see the visual countdown, we can see the the time display. This is set up so that it auto pauses between each so that there has the active engagement to go to the next activity so that might help with the transition to the next activity. We can change those settings so you can have auto pause or you can have auto move on to the next item. Depends on the task is and what the student needs. You can also see duration or not. If that's overwhelming, we can take that away. Just so you see what that looks like, it's now taken away are the duration of the full sequence so that was up at the top there. And then auto loop if we wanted to set up an interval timer like the last we had scene where you have a section of time for studying and a section of time for a mind break, we're gonna have it auto loop.
So it can just keep going between those two. The next one I want to show you which is time winder, this has customized pictures that you can add in here as well. And so we have the time all set up. We can have the text-to-speech as well and so that is speaking for us what activity that we are on. And so this is bringing us through the progression of our activities and we can continue on by pressing active engagement of pressing degrees. I have this set for very fast intervals. Obviously the student would probably set them for longer but I just set up for fast interval so that I could show you the demonstration. And there's also bar code QR code alarms and how that can be helpful is let me get this set up first here. Is that... let me set the time okay.
So it is 11:44 where we're at. So I'm gonna set this for 11:45 AM turn that on so 11:45 the ringtone is gonna alert and now I have to take my barcode and then I have to scan it. You can see I've scanned it. Now it's turned it off. Okay this is an ad. So how this can be helpful is it requires me to move my body to whatever location I have set my barcode to be in. So if say this is to just study or do some work on a task, you can set the barcode in that location where the study needs to be done. So the student needs to move their body to that location so that can help with the transition to move to that task. And so we are going to go through now a variety of tools that can help with strategies for focus and attention and as Sarah was talking earlier about the different sensory areas to consider, we're going to cover areas such as visual, auditory, tactile.
Tactile which is feeling and using your hands. Vestibular is movement and mindfulness of bringing yourself to present state of being and your present environment in the moment. And so we're going to cover these different areas here. So for the visual, for some people visual stimulus and movement around in the environment can be very distracting and so it can be really helpful to set up the environment before starting the working task and so that can help reduce distractions. So say if a student is working on their project and they forgot an item or there's an item that was missing from that pile, they have to move and they have to go find that item. There can be many distractions in route and so setting that up ahead of time can help reduce those distractions but if that is the case, we always forget things occasionally at least.
There's these wrist notes by knock-knock that a student can write on their what they want to remember and remember to get. So before they leave their station to get the item, they came right on that wrist note and they can keep it with them and as are going in route to get that just keep looking at it to remind themselves what they are doing and you don't have to use these. These are nice because you're wearing them on your wrist and it's harder or easier to stay with you. You could use this piece of paper or post-it note whatever to you don't have to use these but that can just be a way to stay in memory of what you're doing and stay on task. Reducing or eliminating environmental movement can help too and so that can be choosing a location that has less movement in it.
Maybe it's a study room at a library, maybe it is a special office room in the house or maybe it's a corner of the house so that you're seeing less going on in the background. Study carrel are also called privacy shields, desk dividers and many different things. These can also be helpful. So if it's being set up in a busier space or they don't have that designated space, that's not available. Having this it's blocking the visual around them and you can even have on the board very specific things to the task and that can be helpful in studying. So there are study carrels that can be available already made for purchase but also there's a lot of DIY solutions too and so just going on doing an internet search or going on Pinterest, there's a lot of different ideas out there that can be made for no or low, very low cost. Hiding clutter can be very helpful too. Just getting rid of all that extra stuff that can be visually stimulating.
Oh I have to do this thing or that thing that the clutter can remind a person of or just be distracting, make them mind wonder. Lighting can be helpful in lighting up very specific areas and turning down lights in other areas so it's less visual prominent and just focusing in that specific area and also there are specific devices, lamps such as a lava lamp or a bubble tube that can be helpful for sometimes seeing a little bit of visual stimulus can be helpful to pay attention and to think through with a thinking task. If a student just writing and they are having some creative moments of thinking about their topic maybe you're seeing some visual stimulation or just some gentle movement can help. This is an example the mini jelly ball lamp. This is available for purchase from adaptive tech solutions. There are some Amazon options on Amazon too but they have jellyfish inside some of these balls, you can see these moving around so there's just gentle movement but lava lamps provide that same gentle movement of balls just moving around. The bubble tube is another option too. So those can be anywhere from 10 to 40 dollars, finding those on Amazon or other locations. All right so next we're going to move on to auditory.
- Okay so with auditory, there are many ways to block sound. One being there are a lot of different kinds of noise cancelling or just insulating headphones. These are I think kid sized headphones. You can see how they have thick foam and they go over the ears to really cancel out the noise. There's also headphones that have active noise canceling so there's actually something happening in the headphone like a really light white noise to block out noise. People are probably familiar with using a fan for white noise background or a water fountain is a more uneven kind of sound if that is pleasant and then the instrumental music or nature sounds.
Typically without words as that can be distracting and I'm going to show you some apps that are really helpful for using that kind of white noise background noise for studying. So here's a list I'm going to demonstrate the first few and then there's a couple more. So let me go ahead and get that on. The first one is coffitivity and that is actually the ambient sounds of a coffee shop. So I'm gonna open that up. So over here we see the cafe library. Hoping you can hear that. So one could be using headphones or working somewhere and it's a really nice kind of background noise. Sometimes the silence is too distracting when there's no noise at all, especially if one is accustomed to studying in a place like a coffee shop. So that's coffitivity and that is online. There's also an app for that. Let me go back to the PowerPoint. The next two I'm going to show you on the iPad and myNoise is the first one that's available in the web but it's also an app as well as Nature space is another app.
You want to set that to QuickTime for me. Okay so myNoise. Let me go back a second. Okay so this is myNoise and let me just focus that a little bit. So this is the free version of the app. Hopefully you can see that. So these are the different versions. I'm gonna do let's see spring walk and then I'll make sure and turn the volume up. One of the really nice features about myNoise is how customizable it is. So you can see here it's got a baseline with the bird sounds but then you can customize it. So over here I think it's got the most treble to the right and the bass to the left. So the bird sounds up and down and then there's a different bird and then there's the wind, footsteps. That's distracting to me I'm gonna turn that way down and so if you had headphones into your iPad or your phone and this is a really nice background noise. I know I like the rain a lot. I'm gonna pause it.
There's also a timer, an alarm. So I can use this if I'm going to sleep or something I can set it to go for 30 minutes and then turn off or to wake me up in the morning. So that's myNoise or myNoise.net and then the other one is right here. This is Naturespace. This green tree icon right here and this is similar. It has a nice visual. Similarly there are timers, sleep timer, wake timer or both that you can use with that and so that can be a nice way to study and then you could use the timer so that when the sound went off you would know that it was time for like a movement break. So that's Naturespace. Both these are free but you can purchase additional soundscapes with that. And then the last two, relaxed melodies is another one and then white noise is one that's pretty similar to the Naturespace with different views of nature and background white noise that you just turn on and off. So onto tactile.
- So tactile is feeling. Sensational feeling on your skin and also so the tactile what we put under here is a lot of fidgets, sensory fidgets that have different feelings and different resistance. So the glitter bead ball pictured the blue one at the top right, that has a very gritty kind of feel the beads and there's a little bit of weight to it. The DIY water beads and straight bag is an option you can make yourself and so you can buy the water beads on Amazon or play therapy supply, lecture learning, there's a lot of different places that you can purchase them from and then it's just a ziplock bag that you can put the beads inside of with the water and then you can duct-tape it shut for extra security of keeping it closed.
Gel hand exercise balls. I'm going to show you that one. They come in a variety of resistance and so I'm going to show these under our camera here and so there's different that one's more firm, this one is a little squishy or you can see it's easier for me to squish. So this can also help exercise the hand muscles at the same time. Just providing different resistance and the fidgeting. Koosh balls and porcupine balls can be purchased on Amazon on other stores such as Walmart or Target. There's different sizes. These are called porcupine balls, the smaller ones. So it just depends on the feel that a person needs in their hand. Thinking putty, there's a lot different kinds of putties and different putties have different feels and different resistance to them. So putties can be even homemade. You can find DIY recipes for that including play-dough. That's a kind of putty too. Silly putty, maybe a lot of people have heard about silly putty. This is just an example of thinking putty.
Before moving on to the next slide on the PowerPoint I'm not gonna pull it up for you but we're gonna keep moving. I'm gonna show you some more things on my camera. Next we have the magnet fidget balls. These have magnets to kind of keep them together so it's kind of nice to be able to just figdet them and roll them around in the hand. We have a question here. Do you have any tips on how often a movement break is needed? That's going to change depending on the individual and the task that they're doing. It would be good for the individual to kind of take some self-monitoring as they're going through different tasks. So some tasks maybe it's something very interesting to them and they can focus easier on it, they might not eat a break as often. If it's a task that they need more, there's more distraction it's not quite as engaging for them they might need a break more frequently but maybe a shorter break too.
So that's something to kind of test out and try different options and for them to kind of take a tally have mindfulness about that process. The fidgets by fidget lan are these metal ones here. There's a lot of different sizes and different kinds. They're rolling under the finger, they can move around back and forth. Clicks fidget that has a clicking feeling to it so sometimes like you know the clicking of pen can kind of be nice and feel nice. This has a similar kind of clicking feeling to it. It's not that up and down but you can feel that click. The tangle junior textured. This is just it's moving around, also has the different textures on there so sometimes a certain texture can be helpful for focus. They can just feel that. The Flexi blocks is another kind of like the clicks where you're gonna feel it moving around.
So there's a band in there that moves with these and the Bendis is just a kind of a wired thing that has wire in there so you can move it around, not out of it and then the next so these all are going to vary in price anywhere from fifty cents to 10, 15 dollars depending on the item. So generally lower cost. A lot of these can be found on Amazon but there's a lot of other specialty stores too online and we're gonna have a slide in just a minute here listing a lot of those different stores. So we're gonna go through one more slide here then I'm gonna show you a few more examples. The stretchy bracelet therapy shop also is a chewable item too. So if it's helpful to engage the oral muscles this could be a chewable item. The zipper fidgets jewelry can be worn on the wrist. There's also a necklace option but there's a zipper component to that.
These are fidgeting finger springs and so you can just wrap these around the finger, stretch them out. Nice and small one can be kept in the pocket and extra thick massager pencil grip. This goes on a pencil and so it's squishy and so it has just an extra textile feel and then we have pencil finger fidgets. There's a variety of different ones and they spin around and then you can just keep spinning them so it helped with the fidget on your pencil or your pen. Okay so I mentioned there's we have a list in here of a variety of different specialty stores and that you can go to to find a variety of these. This is just a small sampling.
There's a lot of them out there and so hopefully these listing of stores will help you to be able to go and see the variety that there is and there's even more stores than this. Vestibular is movement and so having movement activates the inner ear which tells your body to be alert and to be awake and different individuals have different sensitivity towards that inner ear in the movement and so some individuals need more movement and some need less movement. Some can feel very sick with a lot of movement and so again individual preference and need but there's a variety of tools that can help with activating this. So to have active seating we have different examples here, different discs that can be sat on. This is the disco sit. So there's different ones listed, the balance disc is the top left blue one that is a bit more firm.
Air cushion, fit ball air cushion is on the bottom left. That one had where the sides are built it's a little more imbalanced and so more core muscles have to be activated to stay balanced and upright. The core disc, the top right picture has beads and different things. It's a little less air filled and a little more thing filled so it has a different squishy feel to it. The disco stat which I pictured is air filled. The balance wedge and the moving sit are both wedges and so these are air-filled. This helps with also posturing and so it's meant to kind of posture person more forwards and so it can help having better posture tilting and vidgets are chairs that come in a variety of sizes that have a rocking motion. A side-to-side rocking motion and so there's a little handle grooves in the chair and can rock back and forth, side to side.
Also there's a variety of different types of ball chairs and so this is just again, a variety here so there's different bases. So ball chairs can be more unstable than these other seating cushions where you can lose your balance more. So having some bases can help with a person who's maybe struggling more with a balance on the ball but having that bouncing motion can be helpful and so there's a stable base, there's rolling bases, there's the swivel base. The swivel base that one is called the safe cose energy swivel vinyl ball-chair. There's back support and if you click on these pictures with the PDF if you've received the PDF handout, if you click on the pictures it'll bring you right to that website to see the particular item where to buy it and the price of it. There's balls without back support, there's balls with back support and with arm support.
Stability balls that have legs can help the ball stay positioned while you're not using it, the legs aren't particularly helpful when you're sitting on it and the sand is also helpful so the ball doesn't roll away again while you're not using it. The sand can help a smidge when you are on it to keep it more balanced because there's a little bit of weight to it. And then the peanut shape can also help with balance because it is a longer shape that you're gonna have more side-to-side motion than you will back-and-forth front to back motion. So a little bit more stable. I'm also looking at different posture in seating with more upright standing desks or a tea stool is going to have less, you need to activate more muscles in order to stay balanced upright on it. So there's a one leg, two leg or there's the tube shape. The one leg is height adjustable and then the standing desk, there's a variety of those two.
There's stationary or adjustable. So stationary just stands so it stays at that particular height or adjustable will go up and down and so sometimes if a student needs to be sitting for a while, then you can move the desk down or when they need to stand you can rise it up. There's desktop options that you would just add on to a desk and those can also be either stationary or adjustable and you can also make your own. So there's a picture here and you can look up DIY standing desks and they'll give you different options and ways to make them but this one pictured here are tools and shelf brackets and things and a table from Ikea. So this is made under 25 dollars. I think it was around 22 dollars that you can make this particular desk.
There's also different foot options so while being seated at a desk or even standing, there's different foot options to have your feet fidgeting while you're working on your tasks. So this one is the fidgeting foot-band so it's like a rubber band. It's a very thick rubber band that you put on the chair legs and then you can just be kicking against it, kicking forward into it. The portable foot fidget foot rest is the farthest right picture. That is on a base and so it's kind of a rocking and a bouncing motion with that one. The hover gives a little bit more movement because it's on a single strand or a band there and so you can move your feet more around and up and down and the kick balanced board can be used for up standing desks or can be used while sitting and so it has a very gentle rocking back and forth, side to side motion with that. So with movement bricks that can be very helpful to have to activate the brain to get oxygen moving through the blood again. So there's two videos I want to show you of options GoNoodle and MeMoves. First let's look at GoNoodle. ♪ Yo yo, we here. ♪ ♪ Show us how you say hello ♪ ♪ We move like this and go with the flow ♪ ♪ And then we say what's up what's up what's up ♪ ♪ What's up what's up what's up hello. ♪ ♪ Mr. Catman. ♪ ♪ Show us how you say hello ♪ ♪ I move like this and go with the flow ♪ ♪ And then I say cheerio you know. ♪
- That was just a demo there of that video and there's a lot of different videos. This was just I pulled up from YouTube. So this will just be a way to lead a person through different movements and they just follow along and do the movements. And then I'm also going to show MeMoves here. ♪ Cheerio ♪ ♪ Cheerio ♪ This one MeMoves it's more calm movement. The GoNoodle is more upbeat you could say. A lot faster movement get more of your body going but MeMoves can help with focusing, refocusing as well with the mind. It's taking a moment to load here. So a person would just follow along with these movements with their hand.
So as you notice there are two very different styles and so again it just depends on the level of energy a person needs to engage with or how they need to maybe calm down and refocus. Brain dance is another option and by doing a search through YouTube you can find some different examples of other dance teachers and therapists who are leading through some of Ann Greene Gilbert's theories on brain dance. A person can use any kind of movement and so the next slide we have a variety of examples of different kinds of movement and it can be helpful to use a timer to set. So for example we are saying study 10 minutes and then have two minutes of some kind of movement. Use a timer to alert the person when it's time to move on to the task again. Stand up the work break timer is an app that will alert a person to take a break from their task and to just stand up or to move. Once we open settings and find... Okay.
All right and so you can choose and what days of the week and what time frames within that time frame so if a student's going to study maybe from 3:45 to 5:45 they're gonna be working on some homework and they want so have reminders to take a break or stand up and they can choose your interval, every five minutes 25. So there's different intervals here and then have an alert played. So this can just help with giving reminders to stretch, to stand, take a break. So then here's that slide with a lot of different ideas just on different types of movements just to be creative really finding one that works well with the student but the intention of having a break is to have a movement break, not to have a break to go on social media for example but doing something and so following along with the videos exercise videos even can be be helpful to lead a student through or a person through progression.
- Okay now I want to talk a little bit about mindfulness and look at some mindfulness tools. So mindfulness is focusing your attention on the present moment, becoming aware of your surroundings, your feelings and studies have shown that people, students that practice meditation or do mindfulness training are better able to focus and Jonathan Schooler at UC Santa Barbara actually did a study and did brain scans and showed that students who practiced the meditation or the mindfulness had reduced activity in the area of the brain that is associated with mind wandering. So there are various videos and websites. Mindfulness is kind of a big thing right now and as well as exercises.
I put just one website on here that you can access for some mindfulness exercises but then I'm also going to show you a couple apps on the iPad. The first one is called Smiling Mind and it's actually out of Australia. You'll see when we listen to it that the person has an Australian accent and then the second one is Breathing Zone. It's kind of a unique one and there are many others I also have listed on here Stop, Breathing and Think. If you go to their website you can see there's a Stop, Breathe and Think app and there's also a Stop, Breathe and Think for kids app which is really nice. So let me switch back over to the camera. Smiling Mind is this one right here with the happy brain. Open that one. So this is the first screen that you see when you open the app. If you want to you can evaluate how you're feeling right now or you can skip it. So I can say I'm feeling alert but not very happy and submit it. So it's taken me to a two minute practice mindfulness so I'm going to just turn that on.
- [Male] Smiling mind. What is mindfulness? Think about a time you felt completely focused or absorbed in what you were doing so much so that you weren't worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past. For example you may have been playing sport or listening to music, having an interesting...
- You can turn background music on or off and change the volume.
- Conversation with a colleague or working on a proposal where great ideas seemed to be flowing easily.
- And then I'm gonna go back into the menu. It looks like it shows how it keeps track of times that you used it. There, that's the screen I wanted to show. That's one of the things that I think is nice about it is that it's set up for different ages and even like they have classroom activities and such and you can see these numbers over here show you how many different short little modules are in that session. So this one has 7D it looks like. So then you can see also let me focus that a little better for you. So I think right now I'm in the teen section and you can see here it has shows you how long the activity is which is nice. It shows you, I'm gonna zoom in a little bit more. It shows you if it's a meditation or if it's an activity and you can see there's just a lot of content here to work with. So that is called Smiling Mind and like I said that's out of Australia. And then the other one that I want to show is called Breathing Zone. That is this app here and it's showing what let's see. Okay so this is keeping track of like this app I would say you use for like practicing being calm and it's keeping track of like how many minutes you practiced. That's what this screen is. I'm going to go to the next screen. This is a the Breathing Zone and it's just really simple and it's a pleasant. So we can start.
- [Female] breathe in, breathe out.
- With a nice visual.
- [Female] Breathe in, breathe out.
- It's not showing up as well. There we go. So one could use headphones with this. This could be a study break. You can change the pace at which it goes and then there's I just can't see this very well. There's all the settings, male, female voice. You can change the different colors, the session lengths. So that's a really nice one because it's just really basic and easy to use. So that's called Breathing Zone. Okay so moving on to managing distractions. So in this era of smartphones and tablets and all kinds of things, managing electronic distractions is a pretty important issue for a lot of us and the first thing I have here is basically managing distractions that are kind of inherent in screens are being online. And so the first one is EC and Read, it's an electronic reading an instruction tool for PC. There we go. Do that, okay. I'll just show you what this is real quick. So this is a tool that you use on your computer that I thought it would get bigger than that. That acts like a color backdrop and then has a section that's highlighted. None of these are showing very well but that's the EC and Read if you can see that.
So you can go along the text and it guides, it has a guide that you're using while you're reading. Mercury reader so is one that basically removes a lot of clutter to a website. So a lot of the research that students are doing whether it's on Safari and that you can use reader view or Microsoft edge but this one is specifically a Chrome extension for when you're on Google and I will demonstrate that. So I've pulled up a website for someone doing white tiger research and it is still loading and one of the reasons it's still loading is because it has so much junk. So many ads and so much clutter and I think this is very very distracting for students and so to help them Mercury Reader will reload it and it is a little rocket extension that lives up in the bar next to the URL and I'm going to click on it and it will reload it to a cleaned up view. So this is what we call a reader view so that all that clutter and all the ads are just removed and we can just go down and it still has the photos which is nice and it has the fax and it's so much easier for a student to navigate and get through without all that visual distraction.
And then when I want to go back to the website, then I just click on that extension icon again and it will eventually reload it back to where it was. But that's a really easy and really helpful tool for managing those kinds of distractions. Texthelp has a feature that is a screen masking and I'm gonna go on. So that's something that you can go to that website if you want to learn more about that and people may know about adblock. That's the red hand icon. So that's also something you can download to block ads from coming up on Chrome. Sometimes it's a little bit of a problem with different kinds of notifications that want to load or things won't load properly but mostly it's really helpful to block those ads. And then next, managing electronic distractions on a desktop or laptop. I'm not going to do actual demos right here because it takes a little time to set up and to see it working but the first one is RescueTime and the RescueTime Lite is the free version of that.
It is web-based and RescueTime tracks how you spend your time on both websites and apps. And so it's gonna keep track of where you've spent time and so that is a way to raise your awareness of what you're doing when you're online so you can see how many times you went on Facebook and how much time you spent there or YouTube or whatever. So that is information gathering and then the other three are all tools. One is Chrome, one is Mac one is Windows. Tools for blocking websites that you know are distracting to you and they basically work with like a black out list to type in the URLs and then you also set a length of time.
You can completely block or you can go in and block certain websites for an hour, for two hours so the the StayFocusd is a Chrome extension and then the SelfControl is the Mac version and then the Cold Turkey or Cold Turkey Blocker is on Windows. So those are useful. Any of those times and that of course takes self-awareness to know what the websites are that are distracting to you or social media. And then the managing distractions on mobile devices. The first thing I wanted to mention is the guided access on the iPad and I'm going to show you how to find that. So what guided access does is it you turn it on when you're in a specific app and you have a passcode that you set and then you can set a time limit. So you can do this with a young person if you want them to just stay in that app and not be able to roam different places. So I'm gonna show you how to find that.
So it is in settings so I'm going to open settings and then under general here's the accessibility tab and then here's guided access. So it's under learning guided access and then we can turn it on and off. I'm not going to set it up right now because then it will probably block us out of our iPad but if you need help with that you can find information online about how to create guided access for the way in which you want to use it, but that's where you find it. Back to PowerPoint and then I've got three different apps listed here for mobile devices, iPad, phones and the first one, Moment is similar to the RescueTime that we saw in the previous screen.
It is tracking what you're doing on your phone or your tablet each day. Actually tracking it and showing you here's how much time you spent or how many times you turn it on or off, How many times you woke it up again and so that is again information gathering for you to learn how you are using your device and then it will track it over days or weeks so you can learn from that. And then the next one Flipd, Keep Focused. That is similar to the other ones where you enter, you tell it which apps are distracting to you and you set a timer. Excuse me. You can set a timer for work or study and it will block certain apps during that time and then the last one Flora is a free version of another app that's called Forest and these are a little bit more gamified.
You can use this to help yourself be less distracted by your phone, put your phone down. So you plant a tree and it has a kind of a game thing where you grow trees by taking a break from using your phone and the more you stay off of your phone or meet your goals, your time goals for staying off of your phone then you grow a forest. So that kind of gets us near the end of our presentation today. We do have some other resources we want to point out to you. There is a recorded live stream event that's actually also from Tara and myself that we did called Managing Time For Teens and Young Adults and there's the URL that will take you to that in conjunction with that, we had a handout that you can see here.
It's a spreadsheet of a wide range of time tools and so that is available on our website. You should be able to use that link to get there to see that and as a final reminder, this is the wrapping up the three-part series on Study Skills so you can, this of course will not be immediately available but these will be uploaded to the CTD website and you can go to the webinar central and see the recorded webinars and so here I've listed the three in the study skills series and then other resources also available on this CTD website. Please check those out. There are wide range of fact sheets and quick guides and research articles, videos, webinars and even classes. So any other questions today before we wrap up? Great, on this screen we have our phone number and our email address. You're welcome to email if you have specific questions for Tara or myself or just about the Simon Technology Center in general and please do fill out the brief survey that should be accessible on your screen that helps us a lot to learn about how to make our presentations better and if you do that then you will have access to a certificate of completion. So thank you for joining us today.