Before the internet, students had little choice in how to receive an education. If they wanted to ask a question, they had to wait for their professor’s office hours. If they wanted to ask a question of a fellow student, they either had to reach the person by phone or speak to them in person. It’s amazing how much has changed in a single generation of technology. Today’s students are blessed with technologies that make learning easier than ever before.
Technology in the Classroom
We live in the smart device era now. The ubiquity of phones and tablets has led to an unprecedented explosion in the development of educational enhancements. If any educational need has ever been expressed, some savvy programmer has attempted to invent a solution via an app. The result is that as long as a student has access to a smart device, they have a proverbial world of information at their fingertips. And since the University of Florida recently concluded that 98% of their students use smart devices, they do have that access.
Smart devices apps of note can be as broad in nature as Instagram or as specific as Snoozerr Recordings. Instagram is the embodiment of the proverb that a picture is worth a thousand words, and a meaningful image of a whiteboard can go a long way toward studying for the big test. Snoozerr Recordings is an audio recorder that protects narcoleptic students who make an effort to go to class but fail to stay awake the entire lecture.
The most important aspect of education is the classroom itself. In order to get the most out of each class, you need to take the best notes. Enter the Livescribe Sky Smartpen. While it costs about 100 times as much as a 10-pack of pens, you get what you pay for. The Livescribe is an audio recorder combined with a digital pen. It gives the student the ability to record the entire lesson while simultaneously taking applicable class notes, which are instantly relayed to an Evernote account for later access.
Technology outside the Classroom
Almost as important as taking notes is interacting with your professor outside of class. Older students may be surprised to learn that email is no longer the most popular form of interaction. A professor at Purdue discovered during his interactions with undergraduates that while students spend over two hours a day on the internet, only six minutes a day of that time is used for email. Instead, social media and texting are the preferred communication methods of choice.
The other part of education is the collaborative process. A key part of the college experience is sharing and debating topics with other students. Since this is the internet generation, most college attendants have been trained in this manner since childhood. Texting has become the de facto option for communication due to its convenience and ease of use. It is far from the only option, though. Podio is perhaps the best-known app for cloud collaboration between students. It allows for instant work-sharing from multiple users. Entire class projects can be completed using Podio.
Other Important Technologies for Students
Not every technology is geared toward the actual learning experience, but that doesn’t reduce their importance. The USB thumb drive is a great example of an item that is taken for granted right up until the user needs to transfer large files from a university computer to their own laptop. A MiFi is a portable cellular device that provides students with internet access. It is a terrific fail-safe for those times when a student has no access to the university wireless network.
Perhaps the best technological device is the e-reader. The ultimate in portability, the e-reader enables students to store all of their textbooks on a single device. It is functionally perfect and more economical than buying physical books to boot.
Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Each iteration enables students with even better apps and tech toys to enrich their educational experience. Any student seeking to improve his grades should investigate all of the suggestions above. For further details about technology and students, read this post on college students and tech from Campusbooks.com