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Getting smart with smartphones

The mobile phone is no longer simply used for calling and sending texts, it is now also a valuable educational tool. Encyclopedias are gathering dust in libraries, unable to compete with their sleek contenders. A wealth of information is sitting right there in our pockets. 

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Marjun Ziarati looks at some of the ways the smartphone is changing how young people learn


Educational apps

There are so many apps, many free to download, that can be used on smartphones to help students learn in their own time. From acquiring new Spanish words to practising mental arithmetic, through these apps students are taking control of their learning, seeking fun ways to complement their school education.


Note to self

Smartphones come with voice memo options or the option to download voice memo apps, a useful tool for learning vocabulary, quotes for English or dates for History exams.


Listen up

It is now possible to learn information on the go with podcasts: audio files that you can download straight onto your phone. It is a convenient way to learn new information when you don’t have access to the right book or a computer.


Take two! Action!

Smartphones can be used in class or at home to make videos or record voices on audio to practise for presentations, language speaking exams and dance concerts. This can be a useful educational tool for young people to be self-critical, analysing their own work.   


Young politicians

For students interested in world events, it’s never been quicker and easier to stay updated. Some app developers have even been creating new apps to target young people and encourage this ‘smartphone generation’ to become more actively involved in politics.


School chat

Chat groups on the smartphone can be useful for sending information and resources; this is especially helpful for coordinating group projects. 


Get the lingo

Young language enthusiasts can set their smartphones to another language and pick up new vocabulary as they try to navigate their way around their new foreign phone.


Image: Public Domain