Students, faculty finding new ways to turn smart phones into study tools

By Cindy Moonsammy

The modern student owns at least one gadget for entertainment and social networking, but some are finding productive uses to aid in their academic success. KU students have found some innovative ways to study right from their smartphones.

Almost every student has a smartphone on campus. Jocelyn Ascencio, a psychology major, uses an App called “StudyBlue” that allows students to create flashcards on their phones, making it extremely convenient to study for tests and quizzes.

“I always have my phone on me and this app is so easy to study during breaks,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about writing up index cards and then take it around with you.”

The StudyBlue app automatically silences text and email notifications to keep the student focused. The option the check off learned flashcards makes it easy for users to focus on the terms they have not yet learned, paving way for timely and effective studying.

Dr. Maximiliano Zuniga, who teaches Spanish at KU, promotes a link to her students on Quizlet that has pre-uploaded study questions and practice quizzes to aid in tests and quizzes. Students are able to conveniently study for exams and the service becomes especially useful around finals.

Since learning a language is challenging and requires extensive repetition and revision, Quizlet gives students the option to review newly learned subjects and concepts on a device they have with them all day. Most language departments at KU have their own Quizlet that is also accessible via computer.

Gearing up for those group projects at the end of the semester can be difficult, especially for students who commute. Psychology major, Tara Finkler, has been utilizing Face Time, a feature provided on the Apple iPhones, to practice for her group project with a group member who is a commuter.

“I almost had a panic attack actually because he lives off campus and also works so our schedule never lined up to to get together with the group. We just Face Timed each other and were able to practice our lines that way. It was definitely effective because we got an A on the project,” said Finkler.

Some students find cell phones to be distracting when studying so they prefer to turn off their devices. Micah Bollinger, a geology major, prefers to study the good old-fashioned way in a quiet setting.

“Kids are all about their phones these days and they miss out on half of what’s going on in the world around them,” he said. “I don’t even care to have a cellphone to be honest. It’s an overall distraction.”

For students who get easily distracted by their phones, an app called “SelfControl” puts on a block from certain social networking sites and websites for periods of time. The app allows students to enter times they are in class or studying and prevents access to social networks.



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