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5 Ways Students Are Using Mobile Phones to Study Better

Every day, more than 20 million high school and college students use their mobile phones. Educators and educational institutions are beginning to notice this social trend and looking at how they can leverage it for enhancing the learning experience.

While electronic devices were often previously banned from campus, schools are deploying iPads and allowing students to bring their mobile phones into the classroom. Colleges are integrating mobile apps into their on-boarding, administrative and retention systems. Professors are using mobile apps in the classroom to expand on their lectures and subject matter. And, the educational research community [1] [2] is beginning to collect meaningful data on how mobile learning is influencing better outcomes.

However, the most meaningful insights can be found when focusing on student behaviors and their studying patterns. Here are five specific ways mobile phones are helping millions of students study better.

1. Byte Sized Learning

Students learn better when engaged in short, focused sessions. Mobile phones have allowed students to engage in these byte sized learning sessions whenever they want. Now they are able to study while waiting for the bus, commuting to school, or sitting in a cafe. Mobile learning through flashcards and note-taking apps is delivering just-in-time knowledge and skills, and are even some of the best selling apps on the iTunes app stores. For example, students can use a flashcard app to remember key concepts, formulas, theorems, definitions and more.

Notable apps: Quizlet, Flashcard+, StudyBlue and Evernote

2. Flipped Classroom

Students are spending more time watching video lectures usually at home or while on the go. What used to be homework is now done in class with the teacher acting as a facilitator and working closely with each student, offering more personalized guidance. Various schools are using Hippocampus, Khan Academy, or several other mobile video tutorials apps to give students the freedom to study anytime, anywhere.

Notable apps: iTunesU, Khan Academy, TED and

3. Study Tools

Being able to use the right tools and study aids is an integral part of learning and enhances the learning experience. The ubiquitous nature of the mobile phone is helping students to access tools like a dictionary or a calculator when and where they want it as well as in the format that works for their learning style.

Notable apps: app, Wolfram Alpha, Dropbox and Mathway

4. Schedule Management

If you ask a student about their biggest challenge, they will always say that there are not enough hours in a day to study, play, hang out with friends, go out, travel and work. These are often the excuses used when they miss homework deadlines and project submissions or are forced into pulling all-nighters. Mobile phones have helped students stay on top their schedule and deadlines with timely reminders and easy calendar integrations. Better time management sets a student up for better learning schedule so that they don’t miss deadlines or burn the midnight oil to study for a test or complete an assignment.

Notable apps: iStudiez, Clear, myHomework Student Planner and Remind 101

5. Mobile Games

Learning is not just about academics and it’s not all about facts. In fact, building cognitive skills are the core building blocks for memory retention, increasing problem solving abilities, and enhancing processing speed. To help these cognitive skills, mobile games combine the best of game mechanics with the basics of neuroscience to boost student’s learning abilities. And, for the student, these mobile games are more fun than work, making learning an entertaining experience.

Notable apps: Lumosity Mobile, and BrainPOP


[2] Mobile Learning: Shaping the Frontiers of Learning Technologies in Global Context

About the Expert:

Education futurist Ashish Rangnekar is CEO of BenchPrep, a pioneering EdTech company that uniquely creates test prep and other subject-based interactive courses that can be accessed via computer, iPhone, Android and iPad for on-demand, on-location learning. Visit him online at

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