Schools are starting to recognize the importance of gadgets to the 21st century learning experience, even implementing bring-your-own-device or BYOD policies to make classroom teaching more efficient.
Mobile devices make it easier for students to manage their time, focus during review and improve retention. Multimedia features even help different kinds of learners absorb information the best way they know how, be it through visuals, sounds or applied learning through games and quizzes.
Here are some tips to help students to improve their exam scores by making the most of their gadgets:
For the longest time, professors and school administrators were wary of cellphone use in schools because they feared it would distract students. But with the right mindset and appropriate tools, it soon became clear that cellphones can actually be a boon instead of a bane to academic performance.
Smartphones let students sync their photos of lecture slides, study schedules and reminders on the cloud. This makes it easier to prioritize subjects and coordinate with others for group reviews. Some who prefer to study alone or those who follow productivity practices like the Pomodoro technique also use phones as timers for pacing their review sessions and breaks.
2. Mp3 players
Music players help students, especially auditory learners, master their lessons on the go with podcasts and original compositions. Podcasts are great resources because they tackle subjects in a way that’s informative and interesting. Some students even go the extra mile and compose songs related to exam topics.
Those not keen on podcasts or song-writing can also listen to ambient music while going over their notes. The best part? Portability makes an mp3 player the perfect companion for reviewing when exercising, commuting, running errands or killing time while waiting for the next class period.
Students can easily fit the contents of their bookshelves and years worth of files in a tablet. When using a stylus or device like the Boogie Board, they can even recreate the feel of putting pen to paper with the convenience of digital file back-ups and annotation. Apps also make the review process more convenient from start to finish.
The Exam Countdown reminds users of test schedules, Silence toggles a phone’s sound and alarm settings, and Study Checker helps review study patterns (or lack thereof) over a specific period. Test your knowledge of different subjects with the online exam question bank Oust. Pressed for time? Use Audacity or VLC Media Player to play back lecture recordings of your professors’ lectures at twice the speed.
Tablets and smartphones may have the upper hand when it comes to mobility, but laptops are here to stay. Larger built-in keyboards make it much easier to write notes and transcribe lectures on a laptop than on a handheld device. What’s more, students can make use of mind-mapping software like MindMeister to organize information.
Review pre-made digital flashcards or create new ones with StudyBlue and Quizlet, both also available on mobile. With its larger screen, a laptop also makes it more convenient to stream, download and watch documentaries and TV series on related class topics – or to consult study buddies on unanswered review questions over Skype.
5. Portable printer
Mobile gadgets make it easier – and more rewarding – for classrooms to go paperless. However, some professors continue to give take-home written exams, requiring students to turn in hard copies. Other times, students queue at photocopiers or resource centers for copies of sample exams, additional readings or other students’ handwritten notes.
With the portable printer-scanner-copier combination of the Primera Trio All-in-One ($199), students can print up to 4800 x 1200 dpi of legal size documents in a nifty 1.2 kg package – light enough to slip into a purse or backpack.
For an even handier alternative, the ZutaLabs Pocket Printer lets users print over WiFi from any PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. This mobile printer is half the size of a standard pencil case at 10.2 cm and weighs only 350 g, but can print over 60 pages with a single charge and ink cartridge.
Your turn: What features do you look for when using a gadget for studying? What devices or apps help you give your best in school? Sound off in a comment below!