Category Archives: Education and Learning

The power of visuals

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2nd April 2017 marks Autism Awareness Day, recognized around the world for raising awareness for individuals with autism. Affecting how individuals perceive the world, autism is a lifelong, neurological condition that affects how individuals interact with the world around them and is much more common than people think; affecting over 21.7 million people worldwide, and 1 in 68 children in the United States.

As a hidden disability, the disorder affects an individual’s ability to process everyday sensory information and the ability to communicate and interact with others, caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences.

Visuals have always been an important factor for us here at DropTask, helping individuals to communicate and understand information according to their preferred style of working. According to ‘The Index of Learning Styles’, developed by Dr Richard Felder and Barbara Soloman, there are four dimensions of learning styles:

  • Sensory – learners who prefer concrete, practical and procedural information.
  • Visual – learners who prefer pictures and look for a visual representation of information.
  • Active – learners who enjoy working in groups to solve problems.
  • Sequential – learners who have information presented to them linearly, in an orderly manner.

A difficulty individuals with autism experience is having to process an overload of information on a daily basis, often resulting in missed communication, stress and anxiety. This is where visual learning comes in to play. The power of visuals enables us to easily see the big picture and significantly improves the understanding of events, which are sometimes misinterpreted as complex situations. When it comes to visual aids that help our learning and processing of information, approximately 65% of the population are in fact visual learners.

Whether it’s in the form of icons, logos, colors, shapes or symbols, visual imagery can also be used to communicate with individuals on the autism spectrum. A large amount of research indicates that visual ques allow us to better retrieve and remember information. This is due to our brain being mainly an image processor, and when visuals are concrete in our memory they become easier to remember.

Visual supports and how they help:

  • Provide structure and routine
  • Encourage independence
  • Help to reduce anxiety and stress
  • Improve understanding
  • Offer opportunities to interact with others

In support of Autism Awareness Day 2017, we’ve put together an infographic that highlights how DropTask can help present key information in a way that works for all learners, and every member of your team.


autism infographic 2017

Back to School with DropTask

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4 Simple tips to kick-start the new semester

School is back in session! It’s time to hit the books and get productive. But before you settle into class, remember there’s one tool you definitely shouldn’t be without this semester – we mean DropTask of course. For students who need a helping hand juggling academic schedules and incoming assignments, DropTask is the ultimate all-in-one task app that will see you back to school with confidence. And as it’s conveniently available on any device – smartphone, laptop, tablet and online – you’re guaranteed to stay ahead of the learning curve.

Here’s your first lesson. Follow these 4 smart study tips to get the academic year off to a flying start.

1. Get ready for class

Categorized tasks
Right, so there’s English, History, Biology, Algebra, Music, Geography, Languages…Whether you’re heading to high school or college, you’re going to have several different classes to manage each week. Use DropTask to keep track of your syllabus and you’ll easily be the most organized student on campus! First thing’s first, create a separate Project for each of your main subjects. This acts as ‘folder’ to contain all your info and to-dos for that class.

Next, add Category bubbles to represent the various topics or activities you need to get a handle on for each subject. For instance, you might have categories for Homework, Reading List, Group Work or Exams. By picking specific colors to code your categories, you can bring a sense of calm and order to how your school work is organized, as well making it easy on the eye. Once you’re all set up, start inputting your tasks as and when they begin to roll in. This entire process takes only minutes but gives you quick at-a-glance overview for each subject that you can access from anywhere.

2. Keep on top of homework

Task details
Homework is a fact of life for every student, and you might need some help staying on top of it. To make homework as painless as possible, make sure you add it to DropTask as soon as it’s assigned. By that we mean straight away, so you can avoid a last-minute panic when you realize that papers are due in tomorrow. To do this, simply drag a Task bubble into your Homework category and type a brief description. You can even add your own comments or instructions from your teacher (as notes or file attachments) to capture all the details in one place.

Now it can feel daunting having a huge homework task staring you in the face. One great way to relieve the pressure and make it more manageable is to break it down into sub-tasks. Say your assignment is to ‘Write a 2-page essay on Macbeth’. This could be divided into smaller, more doable pieces such as: ‘Gather background research,’ ‘Prepare an outline,’ ‘Write introduction’ – you get the gist. This is easily done in DropTask as you can add a checklist of items needed to complete each task, and get a buzz of satisfaction each time you check one off.

3. Take control of your time

Time management
As the semester picks up speed and assignments mount up, some students can fall behind. Make sure you’re not one of them by setting Start Dates and Due Dates on your tasks, and use Reminders to give you an extra nudge when a deadline’s approaching. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started on a class report. Block out specific times to dedicate to your homework, group projects or exam study in your DropTask Calendar, which you can schedule according to start or due date to keep tight control of your tasks. By building a routine around your workload, you can quickly get back into the swing of studying and bang out those term papers on time.

4. Organize your school notes

Notes on tasks
At school, there’s always a reason to take notes, and you want to make sure they’re as organized as possible. More and more students are taking advantage of Evernote; a super-useful app for capturing and storing lecture notes, class handouts, research, reference lists and other material (photos, screenshots, audio, web pages) on your subjects. DropTask features two-way integration with Evernote so you can turn your Evernote notes into actionable tasks to get your school projects underway, or plan the content of your study sessions before that big test. And vice versa, you can send your existing to-dos from DropTask into Evernote where you can collect everything that matters and further develop your work. Then, as you make progress, use Tags in Evernote to update a task’s Status in DropTask. DropTask’s sync with Evernote connects two powerful productivity apps together, so students no longer need to juggle their notes manually and can easily track their next steps for getting things done.

FEATURE FACT: The name of your notes will become the task title and the body of the notes will become the task description.

An awesome tool for school. From outlining your syllabus to planning your homework to scheduling study time – with DropTask on your device, you’re in good shape to start the semester and ease yourself back into the school swing. We’d love to hear what works for you. Tell us in the comments below how you use DropTask for study success.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Autism Awareness Day 2016

This Saturday marks the eighth annual Autism Awareness Day; a day dedicated to spreading awareness about Autism on a global scale.

As the fastest-growing lifelong developmental disability, Autism effects 1 in 100 people in the UK and is prevalent in 1 out of 68 births in the United States.  So, what exactly is Autism?

Autism affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people – including how they make sense of the world around them. As it’s a spectrum condition it effects each individual in a different way, with some living very independent lives and others requiring a lifetime of specialist support.

For some people with Autism, communication can be quite challenging. Visual symbols and sign language play a very significant role, since difficulty is experienced with the literal understanding of language – whether verbal or non-verbal. For example, sarcasm, facial expressions or tone of voice may be difficult to process as it may depend upon interpretation and intent – after all, people don’t always mean what they say.  For others, the language itself is less challenging, with behavioural traits such as repeating what the other person has said, more prominent.

The way we’re wired

Visuals (whether it’s icons, logos, symbols, colours or shapes), play a very significant role in the world around us.  They help draw our attention to certain objects, areas or even bits of text, and above all else, visuals have the ability to convey information with great speed – especially in comparison to text which challenges our brain to ‘decode’ before we can understand. Did you know that it’s said to take 1/4 of a second for our brains to process visual cues? It’s undeniable, therefore, that visuals go much further than just their aesthetic appeal.

For those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, visual supports can be of help with seeing and understanding as they provide an opportunity to communicate with less difficulty. Encouraging communication and development can have a great effect on self-esteem as well as independence, and there are a number of great tools and learning aids available for people of all ages and abilities.

During the development of DropTask, visuals have always been a key focus for us as we look to support the natural processes of our brain. Textual information is still useful and certainly holds its place, but as humans, we’re biologically wired to process the world visually and this can greatly aid in the realm of organisation and productivity. In the infographic below, we explain why:

Autism Awareness Day

For more information, get in touch at support@droptask.com.