Smart phone can make students smarter

Smart phones can be study aids, writes Geoff Cain, director of distance education at College of the Redwoods in California.

Darrell is a part-time student who does not own a car. Every Tuesday and Thursday, he takes the hour-long bus ride to school. Like many students at his community college, he works nearly 30 hours a week while taking three classes. Between work, commuting, and attending classes, he is hard-pressed to find time for studying.

Fortunately for him, though, while taking the bus one morning, he found himself sitting next to one of his fellow classmates, Julie. He told her about his frustrations with his schedule and the homework and how he didn’t feel like he had time to see a tutor. She told him about the many educational sites that can be accessed on the phone. Sites like the Mobile ESL page from Athabasca University ( that has online grammar lessons and short self-tests that will help you check your work. She also pointed out that parts of the college’s own learning management system were accessible by phone. She even had one instructor who was using an electronic textbook that was accessible by smart phones.

Mobile learning (often called “mlearning”) can use smart phones, tablet computers or netbooks, Cain writes. Instructors can help students study by hosting content that’s easily accessible to smart phones. “Many software packages make mobile-friendly websites out of the box, and many phones have simplified web browsers that help make accessing the information easier.”

Cain has other suggestions for using smart phones to reach and teach students.