Handling objections is part of any CEO’s daily life. Especially if your product goes against established perceptions.

Over my 20+ year career helping schools with technology integration projects, I have witnessed accelerating implementation of one-to-one device programs over the last few years. This shift has created some interesting opportunities, and created some blind spots as well.

One such blind spot was to consider that paper planners were easy to replace. We’ll simply get students to use the built-in calendars or online one, or the calendar in our Student portal perhaps. Planners are only about teacher-provided assignments and exams and their due dates, right?

Nope.

Planners are about planning. Seems obvious, but I’ll get back to this.

Office solutions do not translate to school solutions

The biggest misconception is that if calendars work for you and I as businesspeople, or office workers, then they will work for students.

The same way we figured at first that computers should be used for word processing, presentations and searching the internet, like we use them ourselves. Until we realized that students use their devices to create movies, mind-maps, animations, music, crafts, interact with others and create and experience a huge range of activities.

Well, it is no surprise that thinking that a plain calendar is enough for students, is a similar trap.

A calendar, for people like me, starts on a Monday, and starts empty. We then add a series of events such as meetings, lunches, calls, and perhaps a few to-dos. Most of us at least. It looks like this:

Plain calendar

A school planner, starts with a full canvas: a full week of classes, divided by period. Most often on a rotating cycle of 5-12 days perhaps, so no two week is the same. Add to this different bell times on different days sometimes such as late starts or early dismissals. Like this:

School Calendar - no tasks

Then you add tasks:

School Calendar - w tasks

Yikes. All of a sudden, students are managing 10-12 distinct calendars, each with their own tasks and they would be better served if these tasks were displayed as part of thier class periods no?

How’s this:

Complex week with tasks

We sure like it 🙂

Adult project management tools

We use modern tools to manage our tasks. Tools such as Basecamp, Trello, Asana, MS Project, etc. All fantastic but which are either overly complex, or outside the context of school.

Shouldn’t students get their own set of adapted tools to manage their tasks? Tied to their classes and displayed on a timeline, with separate dates for the start and end of a task, and other indicators such as the date they plan on initiating the task or wether it is completed or not?

That’s the reasoning that got us to this in Studyo:

Timeline - Todo

This is just touching on the surface of the vast differences between calendars and student planners… I’ll certainly write again on this topic soon enough.

So much to say…

Renaud Boisjoly and has accompanied schools in their deployment of technology initiatives as part of the Apple Education team at first, then as a consultant. He is now the CEO of Studyo and driving the design and thinking behind our products and features.

Focused on education technology for over 25 years, Renaud has been part of Apple’s Education team and supported schools in their adoption of technology, always focusing on students and their development of essential skills. As the founder of Studyo, he continues to drive his team to further explore better ways to help students and teachers manage their time and tasks to be successful.