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StudyBlue reveals Smartphones, Tablets make you smarter – The Big Bang Theory on Google

Online Student Assistance website StudyBlue has come out with some self-serving statistics that, interestingly, stands up to basic scientific scrutiny, if it wern’t so self serving. Their results based on a survey of over one million (1,000,000) StudyBlue users over the Fall 2011 semester who use their study card and other study paraphernalia and services (hence my comments of self-serving promotion!!) can be best summarized in the infographic below:

The results in words is summarized as thus, for those of you who don’t like pretty pictures:

  • College and High School students with  smartphones study classes material for approximately 40 minutes more per week than students with no smartphone
  • College and High School students use the smartphone for studying while commuting or when at school or work.
  • Approximately half the College and High School students use the StudyBlue app to study during idle times i.e. going to bed, waking or standing in line.
  • 19% percent of College and High School students use a smartphone for studying while in the bathroom
  • 17% percent of College and High School students use a smartphone for studying study while exercising.

Curiously enough, StudyBlue did not make any connection between the increased level of studying with this device that make the Internet always available and any improved performance of the participants [College and High School students] in terms of grades or involvement in extra-curricular activities.

But it obvious had the following positive benefits:

  • College and High School students using StudyBlue apps on their smartphone three (3) time more likely to track progress of grades for tests, class assignments.
  • College and High School students with smartphones are less likely to pull an all-nighter when covering materials
  • College and High School students with smartphones are twice as likely to study between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m. prior to an upcoming test.

All study and no play makes jack truly uninspired. Thus StudyBlue’s stats on breaks reveals some interesting tit-bits about our phone habits as well as the fact that approximately 40% of all College and High School students study sessions include some form of break involving the smartphone. The most common break activity includes:

  •  Texting and Messaging friends and family
  • Reading (Really?)
  • Email
  • Browsing and Searching online information on the Web browser
  • Social Networking
  • Listening to music.
  • Talking over the phone (like really?)

These sound like the typical activities of Millennials [ages 18 to 28]  at College and High School, so despite the self-aggrandizement of the StudyBlue’s infographic, the findings are as expected for smartphone usage when compared to prior findings by analyst Nielsen.

More interestingly, it counteracts the view that having always-on always available access to the Internet and Google search engines makes one less intelligent as asserted in the research authored by lead researcher from Columbia University Dr. Betsy Sparrow, a psychologist by profession in the Science Journal under the title “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips”.

Clearly this StudyBlue statistics review combined with the research of Dr. Betsy Sparrow suggests that it’s not all bad to just know where the information is at all, counteracting the claims of author Nicholas Carr hypothesized in his book entitled “‘The Shallows’: Is the Net fostering Stupidity?”, which made its debut in June 2010AD and suggests that use of the Internet is making us stupid and less smart.

Smartphones and Tablets, by virtue of their portable and always-connected nature, enable Millennials with tools that allow them to reference the information once they know where to find is, as asserted by  Dr. Betsy Sparrow when speaking of her research, quote: “We are reorganizing the way we remember things. We remember less through knowing information itself than by knowing where the information can be found.”

Hence Google and our coming always-connected societies powered by Wired and Wireless Broadband have a net positive benefit, not negative as pessimists such as Nicholas Carr would have us believe, a view I myself support.

Truly, Google and the use of the Internet to find information is indeed rewiring how we access and use information and this statistical review by StudyBlue, albeit short of being scientific, is strong enough evidence to support the assertions of the earlier findings of  Dr. Betsy Sparrow.

Google is making us a bit like the PhD’s and Masters in Engineering folks on the hit show on CBS, The Big Bang Theory, who by the way all sport smartphones. So Jamaicans, go out and get your little one a smartphone or Tablet as a present this Christmas 2011AD as it will make him or her a whole lot smarter. Preferably an Apple iPhone 4S as per my analysis in the article “Apple iPhone 4S Post Mortem – Siri Voice Assistant and iMessage Rock”.

Now someone needs to do a study that correlates females having smartphones and tablets and said females taking an increased interest in STEM (Science Technology and Mathematics) despite the research of Dr. Lora Park, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo, who asserts that women are less interested in STEM courses because it makes them look nerdy and unattractive to prospective males

At that point, we could start a nice funeral pyre for the anti-Google works of author Nicholas Carr.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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