Published: February 25, 2016
Smartphones have only continued to become more prevalent in students’ lives, with the small devices being integral in handling the barrage of information constantly hitting them in forms such as emails, text messages, and innumerable apps all vying for attention. Without them, many would feel lost and disorganized as there are very few alternatives to having a single, portable device handle so many productivity tasks at the same time. With nearly endless applications available for users to take advantage of, it comes as no surprise that some students have taken to using their mobile phones as the primary source for their schoolwork.
“Even though people think it’s weird, I actually use my phone for schoolwork sometimes,” said Erin Fetsko, a senior business administration major. “If I am not near a computer and I have to write an essay, I’ll just start writing it in an email or something.” Like many students, Fetsko is constantly busy and on her feet going between school and the two jobs she works. “These days it’s hard to keep up since I am always busy,” explained Fetsko. “One day I was on a break during my job, and I was stressed out about an essay I had to write when I got home. Then it sort of hit me that I could easily write it on my phone, since it was always on me.” Fetsko first discovered the usefulness of writing outlines, essays and other assignments in her time away from a computer by writing in her email app, then sending it to herself to access on her Mac. As she got more serious about her mobile word processing, she downloaded the official Microsoft Word app, free with the University’s Office 365 subscription, to effortlessly edit her documents between her phone and computer.
Despite some students utilizing this newfound function to benefit their productivity, some simply do not agree about its usefulness. “I know some people who do stuff like that on their phones, but I don’t personally,” said Alex Hoffmann, a senior electronic commerce major and leader of the PRISM stock portfolio. “I just find it too tedious to write on my phone’s screen. It’s too small to see what I’m doing and the formatting can be annoying sometimes. I just always make sure to find the time to work on my PC when I have to get things done.”
Smartphones are also being used for more than simple work processing. PowerPoint, the well-known Microsoft software program used to create presentations, is also available to smartphone users who have an Office 365 subscription. Excel, the versatile and powerful spreadsheet application, is also available to help visualize information, calculate formulas and create graphs, among other things. Google Docs is another app that employs Google’s own cloud-based office suite to seamlessly edit files between a phone and computer at the same time. As time goes on, more and more students may begin to make use of their phones as their primary platform to do schoolwork on the go. Clearly app developers are taking notice, hence the host of productivity applications already available. Phone manufacturers as well are taking notice, and future designs may make schoolwork even easier to do. As technology continues to change and evolve, so in turn does the way students do their work.
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