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.
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.
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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