Genius Lab workshop integrates apps into student success

GVL/Brianna Olson
Amy Brinkerhoff (right), Matt Lindenberg (left)

GVL/Brianna Olson Amy Brinkerhoff (right), Matt Lindenberg (left)

Allison Ribick

Grand Valley State University students will have the opportunity to learn about apps that help with time management skills and academics in the Genius Lab. The Genius Lab is a recurring workshop at the Mary Idema Pew Library every Monday from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., beginning this evening. Located in the Learning Alcove, next to the Knowledge Market, the event is set up so students can stop by as they are walking into the library.

“It’s very organic and spontaneous,” said Mariana Naddaf, graduate assistant in the Student Academic Success Center. “If people are just stopping by whenever they can, it will only take 10 minutes or so.” 

Set up in an informal manner, the Genius Lab is engineered to attract busy students who cannot stay for an extended period of time.

Naddaf and Jeff Keson, also a graduate assistant in the Student Academic Success Center, are both facilitators of the event and choose applications that are free, but typically have an advanced version that students can also purchase.

In addition, they try to find apps that can be used on any device such as Apple, PC, phones, tablets and computers.

“We’re really trying to make sure that no matter what the student has, we can give them a couple more tools in just a very short amount of time that hopefully they can use,” Keson said.

The apps featured at this week’s Genius Lab are the MyGV app, Dropbox and Wunderlist. These apps give students a resource for personalized GVSU information, as well as a platform to switch files from different devices and organizing their schedules.

Students will be taught how to use the applications and can download them immediately. The Genius Lab is an accessible outlet that any student can participate in, no matter the extent of their technology knowledge.

Although tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can be helpful academically, it can also be incredibly distracting since a student can go from watching videos on topics in biology to funny cat videos.

Instead, the Genius Lab offers students applications that range from aiding in time management, organization, studying or even in specific classes.

“We all have smart devices now,” Naddaf said. “Why not incorporate our education with those devices?” 

Another event similar to the Genius Lab is the academic success workshop, “There’s an App for That!” on Oct. 23 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in North C, Room 142. Both events have the same goal, to inform students of resourceful applications that could greatly improve their scheduling and academic skills. Genius Lab is an option for students who cannot afford the commitment to stay throughout the workshop later on in the semester.

“This is a way to reach more students in places where they are, versus them trying to come to us,” said Jackie Rautio, assistant director of the Student Academic Success Center. 

Rautio’s idea for the event quickly caught on, and Naddaf and Keson collaborated with her to make it happen.

Most current GVSU students have grown up with technology all around them, to the point where it is not only entertainment, but a resource for managing tasks and helping with homework.

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to use the technology in a way that’s helpful rather than distracting,” Rautio said.

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