Tag Archives: laptop

Electronics: Better For Education or Entertainment?

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - Angelina
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Student dependence on electronics is rising. Recent studies have shown that 98% of students claim to use their electronic devices for school, incorporating it into their study habits and on the go. In fact, many classes are taught on the web. Technology plays such a large role in college life by furthering education and providing entertainment – but the big question is whether it poses as a great educational tool or simply as a distraction?

The Laptop

The college necessity is still the laptop. Although Skype calling your friend most likely won’t earn you that A – using your laptop to type papers, do research, upload assignments, and communicate with professors via email are all essential ways to keep up with college. Although, students may get distracted easily from browsing social media websites.

The Cell Phone

While many professors embrace turning all phones off, I recently had a professor who challenged students to use gadgets to help them learn in the classroom. The cell phone can be used to quickly get information and there are tons of applications (apps) available. One of my favorite apps is Dropbox: a free app which allows you to upload class notes, movies, and music to access from any linked device. It’s a great way to sync your music or share notes with friends. For some more hot apps check out Rachel Freeman’s suggestions.

The eReader

The eReader is the easiest way to take your whole library with you anywhere you go. Many textbooks now come with a digital version which you can access on your eReader, and public libraries (and select schools) allow you to borrow books for free using the Overdrive Media Console. This is a nifty tool that is not as easy to get distracted on.

The Tablet

The more media driven may forgo the eReader and push for a tablet (the middle area between a traditional computer and eReader). The tablet’s portability and fun apps make it more popular for in the classroom and on the go. These are great to bring to the class to take notes on, however are just as easily to get distracted on as a cell phone or laptop.

Do you think devices promote educative learning, or are more of a distraction?

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Sometimes a Computer is Necessary for Class…

Filed under: All Things Tech, College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Stan Whitcomb
Stan is a freshman at Santa Clara University. He is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a major in computer science. He is new to the blogosphere but is a seasoned writer (thanks English class!). In his free time, he likes to Dougie with his hallamtes and he is an avid Frisbee player.

Laptops are considered a bare necessity in college these days. I can count on one hand the college students I know who don’t have a laptop. We use them to email our parents, register for classes, and help us with our homework (and help us procrastinate from doing homework!). Unfortunately, these wonderful machines can be a help and a hindrance if we bring them to class.


Photo by Stephanie Asher

First off, most people who own a computer can type faster than they can write. This can be helpful when you want to take a lot of notes quickly and don’t want a sore hand afterwards. In addition, with typing, you no longer have to worry about problems like illegible handwriting. Great for those of us who take avid notes, look down, and realize that we can read about one of every five words we wrote.

In a recent study, students who used their laptops for note-taking and in-class activities scored higher than the students who took notes the traditional way. There were, however, two catches in the experiment: the students were policed heavily in regard to their use of the internet, instant messaging, and gaming and the class that students were in was geared towards laptop use.

If both of these parameters are not met, we see a negative correlation between laptops in class and test scores, according to this study and others. The moral of the story is, we need discipline if we want to use our computers effectively in class (I personally suggest turning off your computers Wi-Fi capabilities in class if all you are doing is taking notes. This strategy has done wonders for me).


Initially, there is the whole dawdling issue. With the internet, you have basically infinite potential for bumbling around looking for something funny or interesting online. This could be through Tumblr, Facebook, Stumbleupon, or even old fashioned Google searches. The point being, these sites are timewasters and take up a portion of your concentration. You may think that you can listen to a lecture and look at memes. But recent studies show that multitasking and performance share an inverted relationship. Another downside to typing your notes deals with your memory. There is something about writing that allows you to remember it more easily, and thus not have study your notes as much. The same cannot be said for typing unfortunately. When the same can be said for typing as writing, I know my computer will be out every class, timewasters aside.

So now you have it out on the table. If the pros outweigh the cons, take your computer to class  (I encourage it!). However, if you know that halfway through your lecture you are going to start scrolling through your news feed, perhaps closing the laptop for a second will be a better option.

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The Season’s Top 6 Gifts for Graduates

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Feel free to leave this list lying casually about the house.

by Guest Blogger Keith Kaplan I ALBION COLLEGE: Brains (double-major honors student, Mortar Board, College Fellow) and brawn (swim team captain and an avid outdoorsman who most days can be seen paddling on the river that runs through his campus). Regular blogger. Co-founder of the eponymous DK Cookies (on Facebook!).
    So you’re a graduate now. Time to move on to the next thing, right?  Not quite yet; don’t go anywhere until you get your graduation gift. Some families have a tradition of giving “green” (as in money) gifts on big occasions. Others favor the idea of giving a specific gift – something more permanent that will be treasured for years to come. Then there are those who just can’t seem to make up their minds about what gift to get their newly-minted graduate and need your help, or at least a few hints.

    by Jason Bache

    So I’ve compiled a short list of some of the top graduation gifts this season. (You may feel free to leave this list lying casually on the kitchen table, nesting in a stack of bills about to be paid, or taped to the screen of the GPS in your dad’s car.)

    by bfishadow

    1. Gift cards are a popular item these days. A great place to get them: GiftZip.com. This site specializes in providing eco-friendly eGift cards, and has a variety of retailers and gift-card amounts to choose from. If you’d rather buy offline, you can usually find a wide variety of gift cards for sale at your nearest chain discount or big-box store.

    by MJ/TR (´・ω・)

    2. Smartphones are another sure-to-please gift as we continue to move towards an all-wireless world.  (Just make sure you have at least some idea of your graduate’s preferences when it comes to platform – big difference between Android and iOS – and features.)  The “big three” cell phone service providers – AT&t, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint – all sell smartphones. For less expensive options, Metro PCS, U.S. Cellular and Cricket are great choices.

    by Chi Nguyen

    3. Smartphones are popular, but Tablets are growing even faster. If you don’t know what a tablet is, check this link out, and yes, an iPad is a tablet. (Until recently the iPad was the best-selling tech gadget of all time; but in Q1 2011 it was toppled from first place by Microsoft’s hands-free game controller, Kinect for Xbox 360.). One of the great advantages of a tablet is that it doubles as an e-reader. So instead of hauling around 60 pounds of textbooks, carry a tablet and read that instead. The best place to buy a tablet: Check out newegg.com.

    by Ben Babcock

    4. If a tablet isn’t for you, check out a Laptop. Would you not agree life without a computer is difficult, especially for a graduate? If you’re entering college, you will definitely need a computer, preferably a laptop. If you’re graduating from college, it’s probably time for a new computer because a) you’ve worked your old one into the ground, and b) you’re going out into the real world and let’s face it, you need to keep up with the new technology. The best place to search for almost any tech gadget is newegg.com. They consistently have lower prices than any other retailer, online or brick-and-mortar.

    by Andrew Turner

    5. Another great graduation gifts is a GPS – instantly recognizable by the little screen above a car’s dashboard and otherwise known as the “Save me, I’m lost” device. The two biggest GPS brands today are Garmin and TomTom. A GPS is a worthy graduation gift because graduates moving on to new places will need a guide to tell them what road to take (I’ll leave the metaphysical implications here for another day).

    by Elsie esq.

    6. The last hot item on the list is transportation, either a bike or car. Getting a new car is almost every student’s dream, but that could be a little pricey for a graduation gift. A bicycle, on the other hand, is not only more affordable, it can actually be an easier (and far cheaper) way to commute to and around campus. If you’ve graduated and don’t plan on more schooling, use that bike to commute to your new job. Or take up a new hobby like mountain biking or cycling. A great place to check out new bikes for cheap is bikesdirect.com (hint, hint, Mom and Dad, this is may be what I want for my graduation gift).

    These are some of my top items for graduation gifts. What are yours?

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