At URBAN TxT we know we help our teens develop critical thinking skills because they have to experience project management at an early age - our teens are between the 7th and 11th grade. Each teen learns the value of breaking projects and tasks down to their subparts, and figuring out the deadlines for each. This type of work ethic is priceless in college and in the professional world, where you are expected to get your responsibilities done in a timely manner without someone continuously prodding you along and grading you on performance. Jesus, a second-year TxT’er and senior in high school, uses tech and what he’s learned from his time with URBAN TxT to keep him on task.
“I use the app Wunderlist to stay on top of my school work,” he said. “I like it because it allows me to create subtasks, so if I need to complete my supplemental essay for a college app by December but I need to have brainstorming sessions, drafts, and edits done before then I can schedule it all.”
“With URBAN TxT I learned to create a system for myself, but it’s a non-traditional system,” added Jesus. “I’ve learned how to have fun, set time for myself, and still do everything I need to get done.”
Amir, a 9th grade student at Hybrid High, is figuring out what works for him.
“Thanks to URBAN TxT I learned to start with what I’m good at and what I know, and from there I will figure out the rest,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll write notes and dates down on a sheet of paper that I can go back to, and sometimes I’ll just remember what I have to do.”
But there is still plenty of work to do. A few days ago I was texting back and forth with Cesar, a TxT’er who worked as a developer for his team Valetudo, which developed a healthy location finder for residents of Los Angeles through open source software.
“I’ve turned my C’s into B’s and now I’m working to get them to A’s,” he texted. I asked him how we could help him get to the A-level. His response made me think - “I just gotta keep studying and turn in my work on time, but I need to get organized.”
After talking with a few other TxT’ers I realized many of them don’t have a process for getting their school work done on time and correctly. Now, these teens are amazing. After all, they built a iPhone, Android, Facebook, and web apps that solve community issues in less than 15 weeks.
But they are still learning how to achieve success and how to excel. The more we mentor them the better they will get. We aim to help them find their way by having conversations about organization methods.
Many times they receive a planner at school and a laundry list of dates of “when stuff is due” or “when you’ll be tested on what.” Yet, how often are they shown ways to develop work flow processes and given opportunities to create one that works for them.
As we continue to find ways to use tech and innovation to inspire teens to become leaders we will continue to finding ways to strengthen the skills they need to succeed in higher ed and the professional world.