Smartphones Have Influenced Higher Education

By Catherine Groux
Posted August 10, 2011 11:55 AM

Many students are using smartphones to enhance their education.
Many students are using smartphones to enhance their education.
According to a May 2011 survey by the Nielson Company, about 37% of mobile consumers have a smartphone, with a majority of these individuals using either an Android or an Apple model. As these tools continue to grow in popularity, their influence is extending onto college campuses, where they are used for a variety of purposes.

Some schools now post Quick Response, or QR, codes around their campuses to create more interactive tours, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. At Ohio's Wittenberg University, students can use their QR applications, or apps, to scan the black and white designs with their smartphone cameras in order to be directed to a website that features a brief history of that area on campus.

"The campus comes to life through the QR codes," Karen L. Gerboth, director of university communications, told the Chronicle.

Sarah L. Zauner, a research analyst at the Education Advisory Board, told the Chronicle that because QR codes are inexpensive to produce and easy to use, schools across the country are adding them to everything from admissions handbooks to alumni magazines.

Additionally, many organizations have created smartphone apps to assist college students. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that one of the most useful apps for degree seeking smartphone users is MyPocketProf. Using this tool, students can sync their class notes to their phones. This will allow them to review their course material on the go.

Another app that can help college students is Wi-Fi Finder, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. This mobile tool allows students to see where they can find internet access. Once they find a wi-fi hotspot, degree seekers can share the location with their friends through Facebook, email or Twitter. Since many college students spend a great deal of time online, this tool can be useful in setting up study groups or searching for a suitable workplace off campus.

As smartphones continue to grow in popularity, some schools are even creating their own mobile applications for their students. For example, the University of Phoenix launched the PhoenixMobile app earlier this year, according to a press release. With this tool, students can check their grades, complete assignments and engage in course discussions from their smartphones instead of using their computers. Michael White, chief technology officer from the institution, said the app will give students increased access to online education.

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