Smart phones edge out computers, tablets as study tool

More students now use smart phones to study than use tablet devices or computers, a new study released by McGraw-Hill Education found.

Smart phones are now an educational tool for many students.

The study, which was commissioned by McGraw-Hill but was conducted by a Hanover Research, surveyed more than 500 students about their study and technology habits. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents said they use smart phones for studying.

Only 22 percent said they opt for a tablet or computer.

The findings fall in line with a survey conducted earlier this year by Wakefield Research.

In that study, just over half of students said they would be more likely to complete required reading if it was available on their phones. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they had studied this way for tests at the last minute.

“Studying effectively – and with the right type of technology – is one of the best ways to ensure that students succeed in class,” said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education. “But focus is the key.”

And therein is the conundrum of using smart phones to study.

The devices may provide an easier, more efficient way to access study materials, but they also encourage distraction.

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See page 2 to find out how many students text friends during study sessions…

If a student is studying and a text message from his friend appears on the screen, the focus exhibited by the student has suddenly been split.

Nearly half of respondents admitted that they also used their phones to texting friends while studying. This also translates to other devices, with a similar number of students saying they toggle between study and non-study activities on the same device.

Forty percent of the students said “anything online” is the biggest distraction when studying, with particular emphasis on social media.

McGraw-Hill commissioned the survey as a bit of marketing for their adaptive learning program LearnSmart, so the study also provides broader insight on technology-aided studying, as well.

More than half of students said study technologies helped them feel more prepared for class. Nearly 70 percent said digital study tools, like adaptive learning software and mobile apps that can provide study materials on the go, can save them up to five hours a week when studying.

When asked what they do with that extra free time, 50 percent of students had the same response.

They sleep.

Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake. Join the conversation with #eCNMobile.

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