I am coming to you from the OC (Orange County [California]) where I am attending the SouthWestern Anthropological Association (SWAA) annual conference. I heard this panel today which discussed a study of how students at California State University Fresno use technology. The researchers specifically wanted to compare how “at risk” students used technology compared to students who are not “at risk.” “At risk” as a category is defined as students who have a GPA that is lower than 2.0; students who are on academic probation; and students who have been disqualified from the university in the past but have been re-admitted.
The (student) researchers found out (through interview and photo journals among other methods) that many students rely on their smart phones for a myriad of reasons: checking email, using social media (facebook, instagram, etc.), personal health apps, calendar apps, checking online course portals (BlackBoard, WebCT, etc.), taking notes, and reading course materials (to name only a few). Students reported that using a smartphone was easier, quicker, and generally more convenient. Laptop or computer use was viewed as too cumbersome, too heavy, and too inconvenient.
When these uses of the smartphone were categorized according to “at risk” versus not at risk students, the researchers found that “at risk” students were more likely to rely on their smartphone for everything — calendar, email, social media, and schoolwork. Yet, they were “at risk.” The students who were not at risk used their smartphones for personal health apps and checking in with friends and family; they did not use them for schoolwork.
Now, the researchers have not followed these students (“at risk”), to find out if they move out of their “at risk” categories due to their use of technology. But the research suggests that using your cell phone to study may not give the best results.
In short, the effort required to take out the laptop, boot it up, and get to work suggests that this effort will be beneficial to your study habits and your success in school. Make an effort. Invest in the extra time it takes to sit down, at a computer or laptop and log into our student learning portal — research suggests it will pay off!