RescueTime is a time management app that aims to increase productivity by tracking time spent on different websites categorized by productivity level.
RescueTime is available for multiple platforms including Mac, PC, Android, and Linux. I tested RescueTime and its features using both a Chromebook and the Chrome browser on a mac. When using RescueTime on a Chromebook it tracks only time spent on an individual tab. The fact that it only tracks open tabs works great in my own classroom. I will allow students in my classroom to listen to music to help them remain focused. Music will often drown out the noise from disruptive classmates and will help them stay focused. However, while many students claim music helps them remain focused, I often find students quickly switching tabs from Spotify or Soundcloud to Google Docs. These students have technically been doing their work, but the ratio of time on-task to time spent on music selection is low. RescueTime helps students be aware of wasted time and helps to develop better time management skills.
When initially downloading the app on a Chrome browser students will be required to enter in their e-mail address to begin tracking. Afterwards, you will have access to information including the day’s percentage of productivity, the current tab being tracked, and the amount of time spent on that page. However, on the Chrome app there is limited customization options and few details about website usage.
The RescueTime Dashboard allows you to customize your settings and rate the productivity of individual websites as very distracting, distracting, neutral, productive, or very productive. You can create goals that specify how much time you will spend on productive websites. You can view more specific data about which websites were used, which categories they are defined as, and how much time was spent on each individual website. You also gain access to an hourly breakdown, weekly reports, and lifetime milestones for productivity.
RescueTime best serves the individual student that may be unaware of their poor time management skills and their lack of time on-task. It’s perfect for teachers that want to track the productivity of specific students. There is no teacher panel that will allow teachers to track the on-task behavior of their whole class. However, students can use RescueTime as a self-regulation and awareness tool. RescueTime can help develop good habits of time management to increase time on-task.
RescueTime Premium runs under the freemium model and has all of its most essential features available to teachers and students for free. However, there are some additional features available to those willing to pay an additional monthly fee of $9 a month. Those additional features include the ability to block distracting websites, track time away from the computer, and gain access to a more detailed report.