By M. Sidury Christiansen, PhD
UTSA 2021-2022 Next-Gen Provost Fellow
Associate Professor, COEHD Bicultural Bilingual STD
This week our Teaching Tip comes from Becky Huang, Associate Professor in the Bicultural Bilingual Department in COEHD. Becky teaches courses in Language Assessment, Literacy, and Second Language Acquisition for graduate and undergraduate students.
In her office, as well as at home, Becky utilizes various health and productive apps on her smartphone to keep a balance between mind and body. For her mind, Becky has used apps such as Calm, Headspace, and InsideTimer which provide free guided meditation and free meditation music. Additionally, she utilizes various features of Google Calendar and Microsoft Teams in order to organize all her tasks systematically and avoid burnout. Finally, Becky shows how something as simple as a calm background from Adobe Stock can help change the mood in an office or a virtual space.
By using all the affordances of a smartphone, both faculty and students can prioritize mental and physical health. The built-in app in a smartphone (e.g. Health for iPhone) can help you track your steps, and if you have a smartwatch, it can even let you know when you have been sitting too much or you need to take a deep breath!
Mindfulness and meditation is also something that can be part of working or studying. A five-minute session can help both instructors and students stay calm and manage stress. What is even better, many of the apps are free when using the basic features. This will come in handy when it is time for finals whether you are grading or taking the exams.
UTSA already offers Microsoft Teams and Adobe Creative Cloud. Taking the time to learn how to use them for efficiency would help everyone reduce time consuming apps and instead focus on seeking out positive and quality connections, even if it is playing with your pet for five minutes while Teams creates an appointment automatically or a presentation template is being downloaded from Adobe Stock.