How Do You Use Your Smartphone? Besides Mini Golf

Almost every student at BC has an iPhone. An amazing piece of technology that allows us to do remarkable things such as enabling entrepreneurs to ring up customers, apps that help autistic children learn new vocabulary, and apps that allow us to manage our own finances but what do we actually use our phones for? I mostly just waste time. Whether it’s sudoku or Facebook, I’m constantly using my phone to kill time, which I don’t think was the intended purpose. Smartphones were supposed to make it easier to get work done but most of the time they just distract you from the very work that should’ve been made easier. Don’t get me wrong, smart phones were definitely designed with the intent that they’d be used for entertainment as well, but now it’s become all we use it for.

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The data above was collected by InsightsNow for AOL in 2012 in order to figure out how people actually use their phones. The purpose of the study was so that marketers could see what websites they should advertise on in order to get the most traffic. The researchers took a sample of about 1,000 Americans from ages 13-54 so I would argue that the portion labeled “me time” would be considerably larger for my age group. So how can we use smartphones and technology in general to better ourselves instead of partaking in mindless activities?

With this onslaught of innovations, we need to find a way to balance “me time” with productivity by having schools incorporate more of the class material and assignments into smartphones since that’s where students are spending their time anyway. Our generation is great at multi-tasking so if school assignments were apart of our smartphone world, I think students could get a lot done. A study commissioned by Nokia found that the average smart phone user checked their phone 150 times a day and couldn’t leave their phone alone for more than 6 minutes. Smartphones have become embedded in our lives so if education could become a bigger part of the smartphone experience than students could get a lot more exposure to the material they’re learning in class. Clearly this trend of smart phone domination is going to continue so schools needs to find a way to become a more integral part of it.

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There are already lots of apps out there for education such as flashcards, quizzes, ways to track your progress in class, apps that allow you to sync your notes to your phone, and twitter, which allows students to partake in an ongoing dialogue about the course but these outlets haven’t become a prominent feature in schools yet. I think education could seamlessly fit into a student’s smartphone world so that instead of constantly playing temple run they are taking polls and doing flash cards for their psychology class. If school administrators and teachers embrace these new innovations, smart phones could become an indispensable part of how we learn.

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4 thoughts on “How Do You Use Your Smartphone? Besides Mini Golf

  1. I completely agree with your post. Also I was so impressed with how you incorporated a poll into the blog! I was shocked to hear that smartphone users look at their phone 150 times a day, but I am probably guilty of that myself. It would be extremely beneficial to students, especially of the college-age demographic in my opinion, if professors could somehow incorporate smartphones into their teaching. Students would be so much more engaged in whatever they were learning. One example I’ve heard of is iTunes U, which is an app that educators can essentially teach the class through, to students who “enroll” in the course via the app. Teachers can post audio/video of lectures, documents, iBook textbooks, and even administer quizzes. So in addition to the apps you mentioned, there are many recent innovations that have taken us closer to smartphone-based learning. However, I don’t believe this will become fully realized in the near future simply because not everyone has a smartphone. It would only be fair if the school were to equally provide a device to every student. As many of us are aware, smart phones are one of the most valuable products out there, and are no small investment. Although, price trends of technological devices continue to go down, as we see from Moore’s Law, so maybe we are closer to the day when any citizen can feasibly own a smartphone. Great Blog!!

  2. I am reading this blog on my laptop with my iPhone right next to me. The plethora of different distractions that are surrounding me are remarkable. I have access to so many people and sources of entertainment. I’m certainly enjoying it now because I’m alone in my room, so its nice to have things to do and still be able to communicate with people. That being said, I do think that people are on their phone too often (I certainly am). Whats the point of being with friends if everyone is on their phone? I think that we get so used to the distractions on our phone that we’re often more enveloped in the screen than the surroundings. The technology is incredible with loads of potential to be beneficial, but I hope that social networking doesn’t continue its trend towards being completely digital.

  3. Smart phones do waste a lot of my times. I tend to spend so much time just touching my iphone without actually doing anything. However, i dont really agree with the “schools incorporate more of the class material and assignments into smartphones”. Yes, it is true that “There are already lots of apps out there for education such as flashcards, quizzes, ways to track your progress in class, apps that allow you to sync your notes to your phone, and twitter, which allows students to partake in an ongoing dialogue about the course”. But, keep in mind that there are much more entertainment apps that are out there. I’ve had experience doing some work and study on my phone, but what ended up happening, is I tend to go to play games after 5 – 10 minutes of studying. I dont know how it works for others, but I believe that also having games in your phone is a really big distraction to students who try to work on their phone.

  4. I bet that the “me time” that is spent on smartphones looks similarly like the drop in time spent watching TV. Its not that smartphones are giving us entirely new means of entertainment, its providing a new medium to reach old entertainment.

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