How Google Keep can support students with ADHD

This post was created by PGCert participants in Team Saturn as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to evaluate technologies that could help students with specific learning needs to learn more effectively.

Transcript available below

Students with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are likely to experience academic difficulties (Fichten et al., 2020) and struggle in higher education (Jansen et al., 2016). Key difficulties students might experience include sustaining and focussing their attention (Jansen et al., 2016), organising, prioritising and completing tasks, and managing their time and workload (Fichten et al., 2020). Frequently, students with ADHD report that reading literature and working on lengthy written assignments are particularly difficult for them (Fichten et al., 2020). Beyond academic contexts, students with ADHD ‘also have daily life demands that must be addressed in order to succeed in school’ (e.g. managing time, finances, everyday tasks, and sleep routines) (Fichten, et al., 2020). Moreover, students with ADHD are – as all students with specific learning difficulties – prone to stress, anxiety and mental health problems (Spence, 2018).

Students and educators should be mindful that ADHD might present in terms of mental health problems, difficulties with reading comprehension and academic writing as well as troubles related to global task management. Students and educators should seek support if they experience mental health issues. Additionally, they might benefit from assistive technology like mindfulness apps helping students with stress and anxiety: Headspace, Calm and Aura (meditation apps to reduce anxiety and help with sleep), Dailyo (a diary and mood tracker) or Mindset (a mood tracker that delivers articles, podcasts and videos offering helpful input tailored to the user’s respective mood). To students with ADHD who may benefit from additional support with reading comprehension and academic writing assistive technology like inbuilt voice recognition softwares or softwares such as Read & Write (a literacy toolbar that helps with reading through text to speech (reading written text aloud) and with writing through speech recognition (turning spoken word into written text)) or Dragon Naturally Speaking (a speech recognition software) might be of use when working on their reading and writing assignments. Assistive technology that can aid with global task management are apps such as Evernote, Notion, Trello and Google Keep.

Fichten et al. (2020) emphasise the importance of assistive technology that addresses both educational and daily life requirements. This blog post and video tutorial will introduce Google Keep as an app that helps students manage the time and workload of both their academic and personal lives. Having compared Google Keep to similarly functioning apps like Evernote, Notion and Trello (comparing the apps’ usability, accessibility, compatibility, and cost) we decided that Google Keep might be one of the most useful assistive technologies for students with ADHD. Usability: Google Keep is easy to use. It functions visually and intuitively, using features like short keys and colour coding; Accessibility: The app is very accessible and can be customised, allowing students to work with lists, images, drawings/handwriting and audio recordings; Compatibility: Google Keep is available for both Android and iOS mobile devices and syncs automatically with students’ google accounts, so that all data can be accessed through any device’s browser; Cost: The app is free of cost. Please, have a look at the listed features below and the video tutorial, demonstrating how to use Google Keep.

Google Keep’s ADHD user-friendly features are:

  • The app keeps all notes (related to academic and daily life tasks) in one place which helps students manage their time and workload
  • Notes can be accessed from any device as it automatically syncs with students’ google accounts
  • Students can customise their notes by choosing the format that suits them best (e.g. lists, images, drawings/handwriting, audio recordings)
  • Colour coding notes helps students organise their tasks
  • Pinning individual tasks helps students prioritise
  • Setting alerts helps students complete tasks
  • Tasks on lists can be ticked off once completed
  • Through a shortcut key students can create quick notes
  • Students can share notes to collaborate on projects or keep on top of shared tasks with friends and flatmates


Video transcript:

  • The app keeps all notes (related to academic and daily life tasks) in one place which helps students manage their time and workload
  • Notes can be accessed from any device as it automatically syncs with students’ google accounts
  • Students can customise their notes by choosing the format that suits them best (e.g. lists, images, drawings/handwriting, audio recordings)
  • Colour coding notes helps students organise their tasks
  • Pinning individual tasks helps students prioritise
  • Setting alerts helps students complete tasks
  • Tasks on lists can be ticked off once completed
  • Through a shortcut key students can create quick notes
  • Students can share notes to collaborate on projects or keep on top of shared tasks with friends and flatmates

Further information: https://uk.pcmag.com/productivity/41833/7-reasons-to-actually-start-using-google-keep

References

Fichten, C. S., Havel, A., Jorgensen, M., Arcuri, R., & Vo, C. (2020). Is there an app for that? Apps for post-secondary students with attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Journal of Education and Training Studies, 8(10), 22-28. https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v8i10.4995

Jansen, D., Petry, K., Ceulemans, E., van der Oord, S., Noens, I. and Baeyens, D. (2016). Functioning and participation problems of students with ADHD in higher education: which reasonable accommodations are effective? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 32(1), pp.35–53.

Spence, M. S. (2018). Differences in Perceived ‘Anxiety’ of Students: with and without Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs). Journal of Neurodiversity in Higher Education. 4, pp.5–20.

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