A+ Tech for the Adult Student
Going to school as an adult has a way of transforming you into a modern-day magician. Juggling work, family, and life all while working on your degree requires new ways to make time, homework, and even dinner appear out of thin air! Sometimes, however, even the most multitalented multitasker could use a little help.
How many times have you wished for a magic spell that could help you grocery shop, write that research paper, and remember to send your aunt a birthday card? While unfortunately Hogwarts doesn’t offer online degrees, technology isn’t too far off. From apps that keep you focused, to clever tech for your kitchen, we’ve found four new ways technology has innovated to help you work smarter until science develops that magic wand!
- Distraction Destroyers
We’re all guilty of sitting down at our computer with the best intention of working only to discover it’s an hour later and we’re 10 cat videos deep down a YouTube hole. Luckily there are apps that, with a little setup, can stop digital procrastination before it starts.Cold Turkey, StayFocusd, and LeechBlock are web browser extensions that allow you to block your choice of distracting websites for the certain amount of time you want to focus on work. Each app comes with smart options like redirecting an off-limit site back to something more scholarly or serving you a landing page with an inspirational quote instead when you visit Reddit in a moment of weakness. You can even program in short breaks to keep you motivated while you work. Best of all, the basic versions of all three are completely free.
- Smart Kitchen Tech
We’ve heard the praises of the Instant Pot (the pressure cooker with a cult-like following), but there are a plethora of other upgrades available to your basic kitchen appliances designed to squeeze those precious extra minutes from your daily routine.The Gourmia WiFi-enabled coffee maker keeps you caffeinated without even having to leave your desk. This smart coffee pot lets you use voice commands to start brewing from wherever you are. Plus, the built-in bean grinder and programmable features makes sure you always have a fresh cup waiting during those all-nighters.
The GE Smart Countertop Microwave Oven works with Alexa voice commands to allow you to instantly stop, start, and control your cooking. Taking things even further into the future, this microwave comes with “Scan-To-Cook” technology that reads the barcodes of most frozen foods and instantly programs cooking time accordingly, freeing you from the scourge of burned popcorn or icy-in-the-middle entrees.
- Household Schedule Heroes
One of the most difficult things about going back to school is staying on top of your own class, homework, and exam schedules while also making sure the rest of your household keeps on track. Technology can be your saving grace to keep loved ones connected and organized.The Cozi Family Scheduler app brags that it “… organizes everyone’s schedules, activities, and appointments in one place that’s accessible anytime, anywhere.” The helpful color-coded calendar and programmable reminders keep your family on schedule and in the loop. Additional features like shopping lists, a meal planner, and a family journal help keep track of the details so you can keep track of your school work.
If you’re looking for a true household command center (and have a few thousand dollars to burn) consider the Samsung Connected Touch Screen Family Hub™ Refrigerator. This fridge has a 21.5-inch screen tablet embedded in the door as well as three interior cameras that let you know how well stocked you are on your favorite items and alerts you to their expiration dates and nutritional facts. The WiFi-enabled screen that syncs with your family calendar lets you plan recipes with the food you have available and if you don’t have time to cook, lets you order from GrubHub via voice command.
- Academic All Stars
You’ve just scheduled a pot of coffee with your phone, your distraction blocking app is activated, and now it’s time to study! While these last two innovations won’t guarantee you an A, they’ll certainly make it easier.
Adult students have to be flexible and that often means getting homework or reading done wherever there’s a will and a WiFi connection. This makes having a portable, wireless power source like the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad The pad is small enough to carry in a bag or store in a car’s glove box. Simply place your QI-enabled phone or laptop on the pad and your device begins to charge without the hassle of cords and cables.The path to your degree is surely paved with reading, writing, and research. One of the most time-consuming parts of any writing assignment is making sure your sources are correctly cited. CiteThisForMe is a subscription service that helps you collect and organize sources and reading materials on any device. CiteThisForMe’s unique features allow you to cite as you write and can generate citations for a variety of source media in any commonly used style. For group projects, CiteThisForMe gives you a simple way to share research materials with your team and the plagiarism checker function compares your work against your source content to guard against any overzealous borrowing.
These innovations are just a sampling of the advancements available designed to streamline our lives with the magic of technology, but any adult student knows the real magic is as simple and as complicated as good old-fashioned drive and determination.
What’s your favorite technological life-hack? Let us know on our Facebook page.