Education apps: help or hindrance?

By offering a way out of our routine daily problems and making life easier, apps have become a common feature of everyday life

Education apps: help or hindrance?

With an abundance of educational apps at their disposal, it is a tempting proposition for students to rely on technology to streamline processes and provide respite in the academic maelstrom

Apps have come to represent a considerable part of the digital tech market; by 2017, it’s expected that over 268 billion downloads will generate $77 billion. But has app culture drifted away from its original underlying principles?

The debate as to whether apps are successfully lightening the load or causing more trouble than they are worth is far from closed. Ultimately, the purpose of an app is to save time and energy by condensing the user’s experience into a simple application with a single scope; but the case made by those who question their true efficiency is stronger than one might think.

Are educational apps beneficial or detrimental to productivity? Here is a look at both sides of the argument.

Apps: the unnecessary obstacle

Various educational apps claim that they can increase productivity, but few have significant data to prove this; so, are these apps effective?

For example, the My Study Life app is a digital interface that works as a calendar and planner, providing scheduling tools and reminders about upcoming deadlines.

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The process of installation, learning the features, and successfully integrating it into your study routine takes significantly more time than just getting a piece of paper and writing a to-do list.

In addition, relying on technology in this way can be a double-edged sword. While an app offers the benefit of conveniently accessing material on the go, if the app breaks down or your device is damaged, the data you have stored will be inaccessible.

The reminders and notifications on mobile devices, in particular, have an adverse effect on student productivity as the constant disruption hampers workflow. There is also the threat of losing focus while completing the debatably necessary task of updating information on an educational app, not to mention the temptation to foray into other apps unrelated to your studies or to quickly update social media. A simple task that should have taken 5 minutes has then expanded into 30 minutes.

Ultimately, many apps that are designed to improve student productivity and workflow can have an opposite effect as they become a distraction. This may be great for the app developers, but it is counterproductive for the student.

Apps: the future of education

Many students have taken the online education route in order to balance their academic pursuits with their careers. These learners have little time to waste, and the app, in theory, is a brilliant concept as it offers a way of improving time management and getting the most out of each day.

Research from software company Salesforce.com suggests that they can boost productivity by more than 34%, as they offer a great deal of flexibility in completing tasks and planning.

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Apps are always available and can be used during free time such as lunch breaks, turning what used to be “dead times” into a way to balance careers and studying online. Educational apps can work as the perfect tool to negotiate between these two worlds.

By incorporating a time-management app into their daily processes, students can improve productivity by expanding the potential volume of data input compared to traditional methods, eliminating the need to carry physical documents, and having data that is easily accessible anywhere, anytime.

A well thought out online study platform removes the problems associated with external apps, as it includes a calendar, planner, course notifications, and email update and reminder functions.

Furthermore, being located in a single location associated with the study tasks at hand removes the allure of wandering aimlessly online. All of these features work to negate the pessimism and problems surrounding time-management apps, while incorporating their best features.

The one thing apps can’t do for you

Time is an extremely valuable commodity for all of us, and students feel the pressure more than most as they aim for perpetual productivity in order to complete coursework, pass exams, and reach project deadlines, all whilst dealing with the complexities of everyday life.

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With an abundance of educational apps at their disposal, it is a tempting proposition for students to rely on technology to streamline processes and provide respite in the academic maelstrom.

Whether or not you believe in the usefulness of apps, it is important to remember that technology can only take you so far. While apps can certainly help, it is ultimately a combination of desire, hard work, and dedication to your studies that will yield academic success.

 

Sourced by Jeremy Bradley, director of academic affairs at InterActive

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