tiny frog

Smaller is better?

Here is a story about how some universities struggle to keep up with students’ demand for ever-more bandwidth – a demand driven, the article notes, by the laptops, smartphones, and tablets being brought to campus. Though students seem to expect wireless will be there, naturally, on campus and will work at the speed they desire, all this access costs money, and hence the rub: universities across the US are

“exhausting their budgets just to maintain their existing networks while congestion threatens to choke their online traffic.”

Where’s that money really going, after all? Well, one might ask what students are doing on their electronic devices – surely, study some of the time, and surely, engage in extra-curriculars too. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it a lot – and the healthiness of being “always on, all the time” via mobile device is addressed in this interesting piece: “Smartphone Addiction.”

Back to the studying, though – when it comes to the use of phones for schoolwork, I (like some commenters to the article) wonder how much deep learning can be done on a phone’s tiny screen. As people haven’t had tiny screens on which to study before, I suppose the verdict is still out; but the experience of trying to focus on learning material a few inches square at a time seems to me unnecessarily onerous.

At any rate, if you, students, are attempting to study on a teeny device and are running into problems remembering what you read (as manifested in your grades), try studying via a book or at least a bigger screen. Also, try taking notes and annotating your readings, and do all this in an environment free of distraction. It’s easier said than done, but it could make the difference in your learning and your grades.

Articles cited above: “Device Explosion” by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, 9/5/13.
“Smartphone Addiction” by Stephen Pirog, Inside Higher Ed (“Academic Minute” recording), 3/18/13.

Image via mrg.bz / aophotos