THE SMARTPHONE IS THE new student planner – a virtual repository of dates, deadlines and important info. But unlike the traditional planner, there are options for countless add-ons in the form of mobile apps for college students.
Across the vast digital realm there seems to be an app for almost everything, whether ordering food, hailing a ride, posting silly videos, identifying dog breeds or reviewing virtual flashcards for college classes.
The ubiquity of mobile apps means that the options are nearly endless – but what about the value?
“I think with any application, it’s not a one-size-fits-all,” says Jessica Shelley, head of curriculum at Dailies App, a self-learning platform that features educational challenges to teach short lessons in brief intervals.
How an app works for one student may vary from how it benefits a classmate. When assessing a mobile app, students should ask: “What do I need the most help with?” says William Watson, a professor at Purdue University—West Lafayette in Indiana and director of the Center for Serious Games and Learning in Virtual Environments.
Finding the Right Apps for College Students
Educational technology such as apps can help students with time management, organization skills, homework, collaboration and more. Applications that keep students on task can be a big help, considering that incoming college students can often be unmoored, in Watson’s experience.
“I think the biggest challenge for most learners today is that they really have underdeveloped self-regulated learning skills and the reason for that, by and large, is that our educational systems – particularly our K-12 systems – are very teacher-centered,” he says.
Watson adds that college students should identify their strengths and weaknesses to see where they need help.