5 Ways Smartphones Are Changing the College Experience
It’s hard to miss the ubiquity of smart devices when walking through modern cities. And if you walk across the campus of any university in America, you are sure to see hordes of students interacting with their phones as they hurry from building to building. They are likely doing more than just looking at funny cat videos on YouTube, however: Smartphones are transforming education. Here is a list of some of the most important ways that is happening.
Many students now use apps on their phones to prepare for class and enhance their learning. Specialized apps like Coursera offer free or low-cost online classes and course materials, though wise students use these apps to supplement, not replace, their efforts in the classroom. Other apps let students take notes and record sound and video in their classes. Of course, the teacher might have something to say about that; most instructors don’t want students distributing recorded lectures, whether to their peers or to the wider Internet. Be sure to ask before you record, then respect your teacher’s wishes.
One variety of app deserves closer examination: cloud storage solutions. Rather than worrying about keeping track of memory sticks and other physical hardware to transfer and manage data, users of apps like Dropbox move files between devices with minimal worry about compatibility and other issues. Modern students often access their work across many platforms, including school-owned desktops and their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With information stored in the cloud, students can always rest easy knowing that their notes, projects, papers, and other vital information are safe and available to them on any computing device.
Books and e-Books
College education means textbooks, and textbooks mean a big pain in the bank account. Many professors think little of asking students to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of pricey books, which is rough on a student budget. Online shopping services like Amazon are a great way to track down discounted versions of the course materials, but smart devices can let you go a step farther. Rather than buying a physical book, you can get an electronic version and just read it from your devices. E-readers work best with this kind of content, of course, but any table or smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, will work. Indeed, the Galaxy’s large HD display lets users read large blocks of text without sideways scrolling. Since many professors are now posting articles and other supplemental materials online as well, a good e-reading solution is convenient and can save you a lot of money.
New technologies bring new ways to communicate, and those channels of communication are useful for imparting class-related information. Social media outlets such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter make it easy to stay in touch with members of group project teams and others among their classmates, coordinating work and meetings and getting notes for missed sessions. Some classes even have their own pages or forums on social platforms or proprietary school software, giving students a space to discuss and plan. Smartphone technology gives students access to this information without having to set up a laptop and find a Wi-Fi signal.
But coursework isn’t the part of college most students are looking forward to. Prospective students are often more interested in social life on campus. Here smartphones are also useful, letting you tap in to social calendars of organizations on campus and make sure you can attend any event of interest. Using social apps like Facebook, you can follow your favorite clubs and get notifications of anything they have going on during the week. This applies to nonacademic activities as well as official school clubs. Organizations like fraternities, sororities, and the school athletics department put out invitations and information through their social feeds, so if you are following, you’ll always be in the know.
Smart devices are changing every segment of American life, and higher education is no exception. Find the best smart device for you and tap in to the power of pervasive mobile computing to make your school and social life the best they can be.