More college students are accessing the Internet, broadband and cellphones than young adults who are not attending college, according to the Pew Research Center.
These statistics are represented in college campuses with laptop-filled lecture halls, social media browsing students and armies of headphone-clad students walking the 10-minute commute between class periods.
BYU students have also been using their technology to make getting through school a little easier to handle. Students are using the thousands of resources and applications available to take some of the stress out of classes.
BYU student Thomas Nelson uses a Spanish dictionary app to help him study for his Spanish class. Nelson also uses an app called Supernote, which is a voice recorder.
“It’s nice if you’re taking notes and you don’t want to type it,” Nelson said.
BYU also offers its own app, which allows access to class schedules, calendars, directories and maps. The app links directly to students’ LearningSuite and myBYU accounts and allows them to put money on their student ID cards.
Pre-English teaching major Victoria Talbot struggles to keep up with due dates and deadlines.
“The BYU app and LearningSuite online really helps,” Talbot said. “I’ve tried the whole paper thing, and it doesn’t work.”
Another technological shortcut to school is to use an e-book as opposed to a regular textbook. E-books often come with extra content such as online help and interactive software, and are usually cheaper than their paper counterparts.
For studio arts major James Schofield, e-books are a helpful alternative in a different way.
“I hate reading with passion,” Schofield said. “When I see a book and it’s really big, I just abhor the sight of it. Having it on a computer where I can just scroll down through helps me. I don’t have a big sight in front of me; I just have one page and I can just focus on finishing that page.”
Students are not the only ones making use of their technology to enhance learning. Psychology professor Mark North uses technology because it makes it easier to interact with students and because it provides a unique connection to the technologically adept generation.
“I think it’s more intuitive for students,” North said. “This generation is much more technology savvy. They bring laptops, or iPads, or whatever. It’s already in their hands, and so it seems like a natural thing to use something they are already used to and accustomed to in the process of education.”
While critics may say that so much technology can distract young adults, students are finding that it can also stand as a helpful resource that can make their lives easier.
“I feel like it helps fill in the gaps when you can’t do everything,” Talbot said.