Younger Generation Able to Moderate Use of Tech Devices

By October 21, 2011
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When revising for exams, students are able to cut down on their use of the high tech tools and devices that they usually rely on at all times…or else they use them to good effect.

Young people just can’t do without their mobile devices?  Well, it’s not as bad as that, reveals a recent University of Washington survey carried out among a panel of 560 students at eleven US university campuses. The research team, who interviewed the students inside university libraries, found that they were quite capable of managing and moderating their use of technological tools during pressure periods such as when revising for examinations. In fact many students were using the library not just to look things up, but also as the best place to concentrate, a refuge from such distractions as Facebook. While 40% of those interviewed were using the library’s computers and printers, only 20% had gone into databases or consulted reference books available on the shelves.

Moderate students

Some 61% had only one or two web pages open in their browsers and only a quarter had email boxes or social networks permanently open on their screens. The majority saw Facebook as a reward to be enjoyed after 15, 30 or 60 minutes of intensive study. However, the report indicates that the students were also coming up with inventive approaches to learning, using their tech devices. Around 65% used social networks to coordinate course-work meetings with classmates or to access specialised forums in order to increase their knowledge of particular subjects.  Some said they had followed YouTube tutorials to understand material still unclear after reading textbooks and attending classes.

Smart use of smartphones

Some students said they used smartphones to record lecture notes so as to be able to listen to them in their own time, while others had taken phone-snapshots of maths equations from library textbooks they couldn’t afford to buy.  And while it’s often said that students are over-dependent on electronic gadgets and incapable of concentrating properly on one thing at a time, it’s noteworthy that the researchers found the vast majority of those surveyed did not fit this description. As many as 85% of the students could be classified as “light” technology users, who had only one or two devices – most frequently a smartphone plus a PC – switched on when interviewed.

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