Smartphones – Changing learning and teaching

Geez I’m old now. I mean, proper old. When I was at school, if our class was given an essay to write or a book to review, there was no easy way. No simple research option. No, you had to read the book, you had to go to the library and you had to do your research.

Then there was something that you guys will probably never understand or indeed experience now You simply couldn’t find the book you wanted when you were trying to research a topic or complete an essay.


The reason? Well, back when I was at school the internet was in its infancy. Add to that the fact that your entire class were told to go and research or write about farming in the 1920’s (for example) and you’d have to head to the library. You couldn’t go on the internet, there were no smartphones so instead you’d rely on books and the library. That’s when your problems would get worse, because all your classmates were doing the exact same thing. That meant that all the books on historical farming, or any kind of farming, weren’t available. You were stuck.

Yes, to the smartphone generation of today it seems like a different planet. What I can only equate it to now is if you get on a plane and don’t have any WiFi. That moment when, some 30-odd thousand feet up, you have that need to Google something and you suddenly remember you can’t. It’s basically like that.

Now though, we’re in a totally different world – at least when there’s an internet connection. You can grab information, white papers and research documents about anything, at any time. It makes researching a topic so much simpler and easier, plus you don’t even need to go into a separate room to fire up an old-school PC any more. Remember that? That was just yesterday. Now we’ve got laptops that we can stuff down the back of the sofa and smartphones that are in our pockets all the time.

In addition, there’s now websites like where you can look through old essays that others have written. We’ve moved up to another level now – not just finding bits of research and information – but actually getting targeted and precise guidance on how that research should be applied and how you should compose and construct an essay or thesis.

In addition there’s time management apps for your phone plus study planners, guides and revision help. That thing in our pocket, although it can be a massive distraction and a big time waster, can – if used properly – be a benefit and a helper at the same time.