Despite the benefits of using smartphones, smartphones have long been viewed as a distraction than a learning tool. A study on the effects of mobile phone use in a simulated university classroom found that most students who did not use their smartphones took more detailed notes and accessed information better than those who used smartphones. Eventually, non-smartphone users scored an average more than smartphone users in their academics.

Benefits of Smartphones for Students

Smartphones continue to evolve as their manufacturers try to keep up with the latest technological innovations and the growing demand for real-time information and connectivity. For online graduate students, there are many reasons smartphones can be useful learning tools.

Benefits of Learning Applications

Teachers use learning apps to enhance their lessons, while tech-savvy students can use smartphone-based learning tools like myHomework Student Planner, or rent/buy textbooks with apps like Chegg at significantly discounted prices. Evernote continues to be one of the best note-taking apps for students of all ages, and the Duolingo language learning app can be of great help when practicing foreign languages.

Students Prefer Smartphones

For many students, using a mobile device is more conducive than using a pencil and paper. Simply put, students want the benefit of finding information as quickly as their fingers can hover over tiny keyboards on their phones. And as online learning becomes more popular and convenient, students are using chat rooms and checking their phones to view their work.


However, using your smartphone at school can also lead to several difficulties, including the following:

1. Unreliable Research

A significant drawback to using smartphones in academia is the difficulty in identifying reliable sources of information. Whether you’re looking for a specific answer quickly or researching an article thoroughly, you need to know the difference between good and bad sources. Let’s face it: a Harvard white paper has a lot more impact than a Wikipedia article.

2. The Principle of This Topic Is: Oh Look, a Casserole Dish!

Another big problem with smartphones is the element of distraction. You may be doing endless searches on a topic when a message appears or the phone rings. While many students have developed strong endurance skills in college, smartphones can sabotage even the best of them. 

3. Formatting Issues

Teachers usually prescribe specific formats for homework, with points deducted if these instructions are not followed. While it can be handy to use an app like Evernote to create a document, you should still use a word processor on a laptop or desktop after you’ve completed your task.

4. Reduced Cognitive Skills

Before you decide to rely heavily on your smartphone as a learning tool, keep in mind that you can compromise your ability to read and process large amounts of information. The attention span of students already seems to be suffering from the use of smartphones, and some experts fear that soon students will not be able to understand something longer than the average text message.

5. Psychological Dependence

In one study, 4 in 5 students experienced “panic, isolation, and stress when they tried to unplug their phones for a day.” So, using your phone as a study aid can help from time to time. However, if you cannot concentrate on your education without your smartphone, it might be time to limit the use of your mobile device.