Fall semester is kicking off over the next couple of weeks at schools across the country. More college students will have smartphones on campus than ever before. Instead of seeing them as a distraction, professors and administrators should aim to empower students. They have access to information and tools in the palms of their hands that we only dreamed about a few short years ago. Here are several ideas on how to keep students engaged and focused.
Smartphones and college students are typically attached at the hip. Productivity apps can keep them on track. There are many popular (and usually free) apps that can help students stay on task:
Not only is blogging popular among this generation of college students, but it’s a great way to engage them on topics, too. There are many free blogging platforms available that could give students an opportunity to express themselves, turn a term paper into a fun experiment and take advantage of every function on their smartphone. A blog that includes photos and videos taken with a mobile device is a new challenge, and it sounds a lot more exciting than typing up another tedious report. Here are a few free blogging apps:
Yes, it’s a distraction. There is no way around that. But social networking could be an avenue for very effective communication between professors and students. Not every student is inclined to raise his or her hand in class, so why not open up the floor for Twitter and Facebook? Remember that these are tools students will need when they graduate. Google+ Hangouts could change your office hours. You can speak with any students who want to join, and they can submit questions via video or chat.
Technology really is changing higher education, and a little creativity can change the way students use devices, such as smartphones. What are your plans for incorporating technology into the classroom this year?