Using technology to study

Technology is a part of our everyday lives, and we use it to do a variety of things. In this blog post, we will discuss using technology to study. We consider technology to include:

  • Devices, such as smart phones or MP3 players
  • The Internet (including social media)
  • Computer programmes, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Instant messaging (including WhatsApp and email)

Technology can be used in diverse and interesting ways and its use can be adapted to suit all of the different learning styles. This makes it an exciting addition to your study and exam revision routine. Before you start figuring out ways to include some of these tips in your own exam revision, please use caution in the following ways:

  • Ensure that you have your parents’ permission to use the Internet and/or family computer for this purpose (ask them to read this blog post about keeping you safe on the Internet).
  • Be picky about what you do include in your exam revision Not every tip that is suggested here is going to work for you. If you don’t have much time to experiment, rather pick one or two things for now and stick what you know works.
  • Ensure that the effort is worth the result. It’s no use spending four hours researching a topic that will count for only 2 marks in your exam…
  • Ensure that you stay focused while you are using the Internet or social media to study. It’s very easy to get distracted.

With that out of the way, here are some tips for using technology to study:

Create presentations for your study club

Using Microsoft PowerPoint, plus images and videos from the Internet, create a presentation that will clarify a specific topic for your study club. Split the content up amongst yourselves and set a date for the presentations, then wow your club with your knowledge while teaching them something too.

Best for: Learners with a kinaesthetic learning style

Research a topic on your own

Not sure what your teacher meant when she tried to describe something to you in class. Try to find pictures or videos that explain it to you online. These can help to solidify a concept in your mind and form a mental picture of something. This is especially useful when difficult processes are being described. For example, if you are learning about how electricity is generated and then distributed on the electricity grid, an explanatory video may help to clarify things for you.

Best for: Learners with a visual learning style

Learn ahead

Take charge of your own learning and research a topic before you cover it in class. This is a great way to get an overview of the content. It may also raise a few questions, which you can ask your teacher to explain in class. If you’re not sure what’s coming up, you can either ask your teacher to tell you, flip ahead in your textbook, look through your Ace it! study guide or download the curriculum document from the Department of Education’s website.

Best for: Learners with a kinaesthetic learning style

Create study notes that work for you

If you are tempted to write out everything you know, consider typing it out into a program like Microsoft Word. Your hand will hurt less and it will go quicker. You’ll also be able to save multiple versions so you can edit the notes down, find patterns and eventually trim the notes so that they are more manageable.

Best for: Learners with a visual learning style

Use apps on your phone to record yourself discussing the content. You can then play these back to yourself while you are at gym or travelling to school.

Best for: Learners with an auditory learning style

Learn how to use apps and software that will enable you to create interesting images and/or videos focused on the content (for example, try

Best for: Learners with a kinaesthetic learning style

Get connected

Use WhatsApp and social media to create a study club. You could also collaborate with your study club using Google Drive, if you think this will work.

Best for: Learners with a visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning style

Go paperless

You can use the calendar and scheduling apps on your smart phone, or even Google or Yahoo! calendar products to create your study timetable and to store your notes. If you are used to using a pen-and-paper diary, then by all means continue. However, if you like having everything available on your phone or computer, then this is a good option for you.

Best for: Learners with a visual learning style


Know your EMS from NS

It can feel a little overwhelming when your child enters high school. It becomes especially difficult when they have to choose the subjects they’ll be taking from Grade 10 to Grade 12. Just what is Economic and Management Sciences anyway? Here’s a quick round up of the high school subjects in the South African school system.

Economic and Management Sciences
(taken from Grade 8 to Grade 9)

EMS, as it’s known, is a subject that has elements of basic accounting, entrepreneurship, business and economics. The subject aims to encourage a sense of entrepreneurship in learners, as well as to give them a very basic understanding of common accounting documents that they are likely to come across in their lives. The subject also touches on overarching economic principles, such as supply and demand and GDP.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Economic and Management Sciences is available for Grade 8 and Grade 9, and also in Afrikaans

Social Sciences
(taken from Grade 8 to Grade 9)

A mixture of Geography and History, this is a basic introduction to South African and world history, and South African and world Geography. The subject promotes a sense of responsible citizenry and critical reading.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style

Natural Sciences
(taken from Grade 8 to Grade 9)



This subject is foundational Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The subject touches on life and living, environmental biology, electricity, work and power and more. It provides a good knowledge base for Life Sciences and Physical Sciences taken from Grade 10. Even if your learner doesn’t want to take science beyond Grade 9, this subject is valuable for understanding their world and their bodies.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style

Ace it! Natural Sciences is available for Grade 8 and Grade 9, and also in Afrikaans

(taken from Grade 8 to Grade 9)






This subject can be considered as a cross between woodwork and home economics. However, it’s much more that that. The subject aims to teach learners how design can solve everyday problems. Basic physics is incorporated as well as design skills (which relates to the design of actual products, as well as the design of presentations and proposals). This is a useful subject and learners with a kinaesthetic learning style will enjoy its hands-on approach.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Technology is available for Grade 8 and Grade 9, and also in Afrikaans

(compulsory in Grade 8 and 9; optional from Grade 10)



No introduction needed. The techniques may be slightly different, the textbooks updated but Maths is pretty much as it was when you did it in high school.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Mathematics is available for Grade 8 to Grade 12, and also in Afrikaans

Mathematical Literacy
(optional from Grade 10)

If your child decides not to take Mathematics from Grade 10, they will do Mathematical Literacy. This subject aims to give learners useful Maths and basic accounting skills that they will use throughout their lives. Important concepts covered include financial literacy (we could all use a bit more of that).

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Mathematical Literacy is available for Grade 10 to Grade 12, and also in Afrikaans

Home Language
(compulsory throughout high school)

Currently, the only Home Languages available at high school level are English and Afrikaans. Learners focus on literature, speaking, writing and listening skills.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style, auditory learning style

First Additional Language
(compulsory throughout high school)

The language that your child takes for the FAL will depend on the school. The skills covered are pretty similar to HL but adapted to suit the level of a second-language speaker.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style, auditory learning style

Ace it! English FAL is available from Grade 8 to 12

Ace it! Afrikaans FAL is available from Grade 8 to 12

Ace it! IsiZulu FAL is available from Grade 10 to 12

Life Sciences
(optional from Grade 10)











This subject was previously known as Biology.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style

Ace it! Life Sciences is available from Grade 10 to 12, and also in Afrikaans

Physical Sciences
(optional from Grade 10)











This subject includes Physics and Chemistry.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style, kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Physical Sciences is available from Grade 10 to 12, and also in Afrikaans

(optional from Grade 10)











This subject is taught in a very practical way. Learners get plenty of opportunity to learn about and use the common Accounting ledgers. The theoretical side focuses on ethics and general accounting principles.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Accounting is available from Grade 10 to 12, and also in Afrikaans

Business Studies
(optional from Grade 10)











Along with Accounting, Business Studies is a natural extension of EMS. It looks at overarching economic concepts and how businesses operate within those constraints. The subject aims to promote entrepreneurship.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: kinaesthetic learning style

Ace it! Business Studies is available from Grade 10 to 12, and also in Afrikaans

(optional from Grade 10)











As one of our most important industries, it’s no surprise that Tourism is a popular subject at high school level. Touching on many professions under the hospitality industry banner, this subject is quite theoretical. This subject plays nicely with Geography.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style, auditory learning style

Ace it! Tourism is available from Grade 10 to 12, and also in Afrikaans

(optional from Grade 10)











This subject is so much more than learning how to read a map. It touches on issues of population, settlement and environmental issues too. Updated to include advances in GPS and the latest environmental issues, this subject is a good option for your child for a wide variety of future career paths.

Learning style most likely to enjoy it: visual learning style

Ace it! Geography is available from Grade 10 to 12, and also in Afrikaans

Mind mapping

Of all of the different learning styles, the visual learning style is the best suited to traditional exam revision methods, such as mind mapping. Visual learners will respond well to these colourful summaries of the content. This is not to say that auditory learners and kinaesthetic learners shouldn’t use mind maps; they can actually be pretty effective for you too.

A bad mind map is useless and ineffective. It’s important to know how to develop them properly, or they’ll just be a waste of time and paper.

Here are some tips to help you learn how to mind map so that you don’t waste time or paper.

Firstly, gather your tools. You will need:

  • Sheets of plain paper (A3 if you can get it, otherwise A4 will do)
  • Black marker
  • Black pen
  • Different colour pens OR highlighters OR pencil crayons
  • Sticky notes

The most important thing to remember about mind mapping is that it is a way to see the main ideas/components of a section at a glance, and how those ideas are connected.

Start by reading through the section you want to summarise, and making a note of the main ideas.


Draw your mind map with these ideas in mind.

Now, read through the section again. For each of the main ideas, you should identify related ideas.

Using a black pen, jot these down on your mind map.

Now, set aside your textbook or notes and focus on what you know or remember about the content. Using different colours, make notes for yourself, write examples that illustrate the point, draw doodles that help to explain things and connect different ideas. You can also use sticky notes to add more examples or to test yourself.


Your mind map is now complete! If you are a visual learner, you can simply use your mind maps as visual reminders of the content. If you are an auditory learner or a kinaesthetic learner, use your mind map to explain the content to a friend or helpful parent or sibling.


How to ensure your child is using the Internet safely

Your first instinct as a parent is to protect your child from harm. While restricting your child’s screen time (and, most especially, their time on the Internet) makes perfect sense when your child is in pre-primary or primary school, it may not be that easy when they’re in high school.

For one thing, your child needs the Internet to do research. They may also be in a school that encourages the use of technology, including chat groups, social media, email and Internet research in class and at home.

The use of the Internet – including social media – can be a powerful educational tool for your child, especially if they have auditory learning style or a kinaesthetic learning style. In previous blog posts, we have included study tips that require the use of the Internet and, in a future blog post, we will give your child more information on how to use technology for this purpose.

But, first, let’s discuss how you can protect your child and ensure that they grow up to be responsible consumers of online media.

Don’t overestimate your child’s maturity

You have spent many years considering every aspect of your child’s upbringing and education. You worry about their table manners, their willingness to serve their community, their sportsmanship on the field… So why do so many parents neglect to teach their children basic Internet etiquette?

The Internet is a permanent feature in modern life. It’s your responsibility to teach your child some simple rules to ensure that they use it to their advantage in a responsible way. Just like you wouldn’t expect a one-year-old child to understand table manners, you cannot expect a 13-year-old to understand how to use the Internet responsibly without guidance.

Here are some points to discuss with your child:

  • Remember that what you post online becomes public, and is permanent. Think ahead and never post something that could compromise your reputation.
  • Never divulge personal details to anyone online. Personal details include your name, your address, your school, your parents’ names, your pets’ names, your birthday, any banking information or passwords and even what you look like.
  • Don’t use passwords that are too easy to figure out (i.e. passwords that use birthdays, parents’ names, surnames, pets’ names, etc.).

  • Ensure that all of your social media accounts are set to “Private” and that you carefully screen any friend or follow requests.
  • Never – under any circumstances – send a picture or video to anyone of any part of your body: naked or clothed.
  • Report abusive behaviour immediately. Online bullying is a serious problem and is just as, if not more, damaging than playground bullying.
  • On that note, don’t send nasty messages or post malicious rumours or half-truths about anyone online. This is unacceptable behaviour and can have tragic consequences.
  • Remember that what you see on social media is not an accurate reflection of someone’s life – it’s a carefully curated snapshot. Try not to compare yourself to the people you admire online. It’s much more important to live a full and happy life in the real world than to worry about your online persona!

It’s important for this to be an on-going conversation in your family. Allow your children to teach you about new and exciting technologies, apps and social media sites so that you are engaging with these and up-to-date with the latest trends. Build trust so that your child does not feel the need to hide anything from you. If you want to, you can insist that all Internet browsing is done in the family’s study, kitchen or lounge (in other words, no browsing allowed in bedrooms with closed doors).

Lastly, open an account on every platform that your child frequents (even if yours lies dormant) and insist that your child connect, friend, follow or link up with you on those platforms. However (and this is the hard part), resist the urge to snoop too much or too often.

Set all the settings

You have probably activated parental control on your television. Likewise, ensure that all of the Internet browsers at home (on every device) have safety settings activated. Go through the privacy and security settings with your child to check that their email accounts, social media accounts and cloud accounts have the appropriate settings activated.

Make sure that your WIFI at home is protected with a password and that you know how to change it. This can be an effective way to restrict Internet usage, if necessary.

Lastly, ensure that the devices and laptops owned and used by the adults in the house have all of these settings activated too. Resist the urge to allow your Internet browser to save your password for you, or for sites requiring log in details to ‘remember’ you. Make a habit of logging out of your accounts once you are done, and encourage your child to do the same.

Create a list of ‘approved’ sites

Work with your child to create and bookmark a list of ‘approved’ websites. These can include educational sites, YouTube channels and certain social media sites. If you or your child come across or hear about a new website and would like to add it to the list, check it out together and then make a decision.

The point is to teach your child how to be a discerning consumer of online media and information. There is a lot of information on the Internet and it’s not always clear what is true and what isn’t. Encourage your child to think critically about information and its source.

Here is a list to get you started:

YouTube channels worth checking out:

  • Study with Jess
  • CGP Grey
  • MinutePhysics
  • SciShow
  • Numberphile

(A note on Wikipedia: Even though there is evidence to suggest that the information on Wikipedia is reliable because it is crowd-sourced and, therefore, constantly updated and corrected, many teachers are opposed to learners using it as a source for their assignments and will mark them down if it’s cited in their bibliographies. However, your child can still use it to quickly check concepts and facts. They can use the sources cited in the footnotes to point them towards more ‘acceptable’ sources for assignments.)

Technology is more than the web – don’t forget about apps!

There are many applications (apps) available for both Apple and Android devices. Some apps are useful, most are harmless, but some are downright scary. Your child’s device should be linked to your credit card or email account so they should not be downloading apps without your knowledge.

There are many apps on the market that can be very useful for your child (and you), for example planning and scheduling apps like todoist ( and Trello ( Encourage your child to do their research before downloading a paid-for app. Also encourage your child to ‘declutter’ their devices often to avoid sluggish operating systems and a screen full of apps that aren’t being used. Again, caution your child against divulging private information when using apps.

Every family is different. Some are more comfortable with the idea of the Internet as a source of information, while others are still concerned about their children using it unsupervised. The rules and limits you set are up to you and your family. Bear in mind that you have an opportunity to shape your child’s approach to the Internet and their online presence, and that is something that should not be taken lightly.

Tips for kinaesthetic learners

This is the last post in a three-part series, where we explore study techniques for the three main learning styles. If you aren’t sure what your unique learning style is, click here to find out. If you are a visual learner, click here for study techniques to suit that learning style. And if you are an auditory learner, click here.

So you’ve done the quiz and you’ve figured out that you have a kinaesthetic learning style.

To recap: People with a kinaesthetic learning style learn best when they are able to manipulate, engage with or actually do the thing that they’re learning about. If you find that you’re unable to fully grasp content unless you can touch and explore it, then you’re probably a kinaesthetic learner.

Here are some study techniques that you could try. These techniques help kinaesthetic learners to make sense of content and concepts by making sure that your brain engages with information in a way that it can process.

Do something while you study

Because you are easily distracted, it’s a good idea to do something while you’re studying. Fidget spinners are the latest trend but a good old-fashioned stress ball or simple elastic band will also do the trick. You could also take your notes to the gym, and try to get some studying in while you’re walking on the treadmill. You could also just pace up-and-down wherever you are studying.

The point is that your attention needs to be on your study notes, so calm your inner fidget by giving it something to do while your brain focuses on the important stuff!

Practise HIST (High Intensity Study Intervals)

Because you are easily distracted, it’s no use trying to get a straight four hours of studying in. You will only end up frustrated. Rather study in short but effective bursts. This gives you an opportunity to focus on the task at hand, knowing that a 5-10 minute break is coming up.

Set a timer for 25 minutes and use the 25 minutes to give your revision all of your energy and attention. Once the buzzer goes, set another timer for 5-10 minutes (no longer!). Use this time to do whatever you like – make a sandwich, make a call or take a quick swim. Then go back and do another round. Do this until you’ve hit your study target for the day.

Prepare a presentation

Pretend that you are the only person in your class that has received the study notes. It is your responsibility to teach the content and skills to the rest of your class. Prepare a presentation on what they need to know. Use any presentation aids that you choose: PowerPoint, flipcharts, flash cards, etc. The act of putting the presentation together will help to solidify the content in your mind.

Take a look at this post: Tips for auditory learners, where we discuss putting together a study club. A study club is the perfect audience for a presentation like this. And, best of all, you’ll be helping learners with different learning styles (like an auditory learning style) at the same time too!

Watch videos and tutorials online

Long written descriptions will probably bore you, and you will end up not fully grasping complex content and concepts. Use YouTube and other reputable educational websites to find explanatory videos. This will go a long way to helping you decode the content.

It is also a good idea to look for online tutorials on DIY projects. This method won’t necessarily suit all of your subjects but you may be surprised how many fun and interesting projects there are online to help you with your learning. An example might be to build a DNA model to help you understand the helix structure (Life Sciences).

Here is a good example of this type of project:

(We have a full post on study techniques using technology coming up on the blog so look out for that.)

Use rhythm and rhyme

(This study technique is also suitable for auditory learners.)

Mnemonics (pronounced ni-mon-iks) are a great way to remember lists of facts or information, and are ideal for kinaesthetic learners because the act of making something up yourself often makes it easier to remember. Have fun making up your own mnemonics to remember certain facts.

For example, a good way to remember the three main learning styles might be to remember this rhyme: Vuyo Kicks Ants. (V = visual, K = kinaesthetic, A = auditory)

TIP: Try not to depend on mnemonics too much as a study technique, as you may end up forgetting which mnemonic to use!

How to use your Ace it! study guide

Hopefully this post has given you some good ideas about study techniques to use when you’re a kinaesthetic learner. Don’t forget that the Ace it! study guides have all the content you need to know for your exams.

Here’s how a kinaesthetic learner can use the Ace it! study guides to their best advantage:

  • Use the practice exam questions. Practice exams are a great tool for kinaesthetic learners.
  • Prepare your own quiz based on the content in the study guide.
  • Use sticky notes to remember which mnemonic to use for which section. And sing/chant your mnemonic out loud with actions and clapping for maximum impact!