I just came across this blog post regarding Study Blue's mobile flashcard app (works with both Android and iOS devices). As someone who always studied on his bus / train ride to school, this seems like a great idea. You never have to worry about bumping into someone and dropping all of your cards again (its happened to me on a number of occasions). At the same time, though, it also got me wondering if the use of study aids on personal digital devices are more distracting than they are helpful. For example, whenever I am on my laptop working on a project I will occasionally fall victim to the distraction of the Internet and start checking YouTube or gossip sites. I have to imagine that with students, especially young students, it is the same thing. Isn't the whole purpose of studying to be distraction-free so that you can retain information?
My question, therefore, is if anyone has had their students work with study aids on personal digital devices? If so, what was the result? Were the students able to remain focused, or did they get distracted by the Internet, e-mail, texts, etc? Also, if you had the chance, would you use such applications in your classroom? Being that I'm an aspiring teacher who has yet to be placed in a classroom I am very interested in seeing what technology works and what doesn't.
I'm anxious to hear responses to your question. Our freshmen will be getting a tablet sometime this school year. In all of my other classes, my students create flashcards made from card stock and we do a variety of activities with them. Since we are starting a 1:1 environment with the freshmen, we teachers are encouraged to do as much on the tablets as possible. I like the the Leitner method of studying flashcards, but have not yet found digital flashcards that allow me to put the new words into different "piles" based on how well I know them. However, I am just starting my search for flashcard apps.
If it helps any, I posted a similar question on the blog that I linked to. That question received a response from someone claiming to be a representative of Study Blue.
"we have an interesting answer your question. Our data shows that 37% of study sessions include a break for another activity that takes place on the phone. There are, on average, 2.6 breaks during each study session.
However, because the devices are so much more integrated into students lives, they average an additional 40 minutes of study time per week (over students who use the web only to study). We'll be releasing more data in the next few weeks, so keep an ear out!"
As Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh In, "Very Interesting!"
I'm dubious of research that is done to promote a specific product, but but that doesn't automatically make the results wrong. Most of my students are wonderful multi-taskers. Their brains are wired much differently than mine and the flashcards would be for them, not me.
I signed up for the Study Blue flashcards to see how it works, how to create my own lists, etc. Let me know if you find out any other research.