Jun 09 2017

3 Ways Technology Is Changing Studying

Mobile devices and other digital tools reshape how college students get classwork done.

When it comes to studying, today’s students aren’t hunkering down in libraries all night to prepare for big exams. Instead, they’re tucked safely in their dorms with a laptop or mobile device.

A recent survey from McGraw-Hill Education found that 74 percent of students prefer to study at home, while only 14 percent indicate they prefer the library, probably because of the technology available to them at their homes.

The survey found that a whopping 81 percent of students say digital tools have helped improve their grades, and 82 percent say laptops, tablets and apps have helped them spend even more time studying.

We’ve explored how technology has reshaped the studying experience for college students.

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1. Libraries Become High-Tech Collaboration Centers

With more students studying at home, colleges are open to creating libraries of the future. EdTech reports on Ringling College of Art and Design’s library, which was designed as a place for collaboration and experimentation, including a 24-hour computer lab and presentation practice technology.

“The library will be a very collaborative place — a kind of sandbox,” says Kristina Keogh, director of library services at Ringling College.

2. Digital Tools Streamline Note Taking

The clear majority of students surveyed by McGraw-Hill say their laptops are the most important tool for their learning. Laptops make tasks such as taking notes simpler than using a college-ruled notebook and pen for each class.

Student blogger Sabrina Leung uses Microsoft OneNote to organize and color-code her class notes. OneNote even has capabilities to bring in PowerPoint outlines for classes that provide slides before lectures.

Leung writes on her blog that she also uses the newest OneNote features for audio recording.

“The recorded audio also syncs with the notes you typed, so when you are not sure about a certain part, you can click on the play button next to that particular bullet point and OneNote will play the audio …,” writes Leung.

3. Mobile Apps Create Flexible Learning

About 60 percent of students say they are using smartphones for studying. Business Insider indicates this may be due in part to the number of mobile apps — many that are free — for Apple and Android devices. Some recommended apps include:

  • Documents, an app for iOS that can help keep track of documents in the cloud, no matter if they are from OneDrive or Box. It also helps edit and annotate PDFs.
  • Wunderlist, a to-do list that can be collaborative, making it perfect for group work.
  • Cite This For Me, an app that puts together a citation in any format simply from scanning a book’s barcode.

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