With our attention spans getting shorter and shorter, there is a lot of advice about how to get rid of distractions. Barbara Oakley, one of the greatest experts in learning how to learn, is a huge fan of the Pomodoro Technique which uses a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato – from which it gets its Italian name. Oakley recommends using it in 25-minute increments to alleviate distractions. New emails, social media notifications, or text messages – the idea is to direct all of your attention to the task at hand during this time.
With Smartick it is not necessary because our method already has the Pomodoro Technique incorporated in its daily sessions of mathematics lasting no more than 15 – 20 minutes. Ten years ago, when the team began to think of the design for personalized math sessions for children, we learned to study the neurology of learning, which is ideal for maintaining concentration. When we read about Oakley speaking about the Pomodoro Technique we realized that, without knowing it, we had incorporated it into our method. Maybe that is why we admire the engineer so much and why she recommends us for children to learn math in a personalized way.
The design of the sessions is also done to maintain children’s concentration during that time. When they answer a question they immediately know if they have done it correctly and this feedback keeps them interested in the session, as well as teaching them to manage their frustration.
We know the degree of concentration that each child maintains during their sessions because we measure how long it takes for them to solve each exercise. Once they finish, the parents receive an email listing the contents that they have worked on, the percentage they answered correctly, and the exact time they signed in. In addition to emails, on the Parent’s Page they can see how their child did and the exact time it took them to solve each problem.
Our method encourages children to maintain their attention span, a quality that is more and more valuable each day. When it comes to social or new education skills, the experts always highlight how crucial maintaining attention is for academic and professional success. In his last book, Focus, Daniel Goleman discussed this and we recommend reading it if you would like to learn more from the Father of ”Emotional Intelligence.” We also recommend Barbara Oakley’s recent book which talks about helping our children how to learn and Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which explains how being in a state of concentration helps with motivation.
- Barbara Oakley: Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Kids and Teens.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihaly: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
- Daniel Goleman: Focus.