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Tips for studying with technology

Five tips for studying using technology, referring to the benefits and the pitfalls of technology while studying.
Two male figures, one with a hand on a laptop
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Whether you like to adopt the latest technologies or prefer using pen and paper, we have already seen that there is no escaping digital technology at university.

In this article, we’ll look at some tips for studying using technology, and we hope you’ll share your own tips in the comments too!

Tip 1: Create a workspace.

Digital technology can offer choices about where you study, with information right at your fingertips, but this can make it harder to get started or switch off. Try to find different spaces to study and relax, and create boundaries to show you’re working even when using the same device or room. For example, getting dressed and moving to a different position in your room, or turning off notifications on your phone whilst studying.

Tip 2: Manage your time (and distractions!)

It can be very easy to just go and look up something on a website and find yourself lost on the internet, hours later. Using digital calendars and timers to help you plan out what you’re going to do with your time, and then help yourself to stick to it, can be very useful. Having a routine can make things easier, or you could try the Pomodoro Technique, which is a method of working for short chunks of time and taking regular breaks.

The Times Higher Education has some guidance on managing your time as a university student.

Tip 3: Think critically about what you read online.

Critical reading is a key skill for studying at university, and when reading online material it can be particularly important. Evaluating anything you read for reliability, trustworthiness, and whether it is suitable for an academic assignment helps in this age of fake news to use good sources and to keep yourself safe online.

Ask yourself where information comes from, whether there might be bias, and if that bias might impact the information or your interpretation of it.

Tip 4: Bookmark your key websites and resources

You can waste a lot of time looking for stuff online so create bookmarks in your web browser to save links to important pages such as your university email account, the university virtual learning environment (VLE) where you access course content, the library catalogue, and other useful resources. Look in the Help in your browser for how to create a bookmark (in Microsoft Edge, they are called Favourites).

Tip 5: Know where to get help

You don’t have to be an IT whizz to use this technology (and even IT wizards get stuck sometimes). Universities have dedicated teams to help with digital issues, whether you need help connecting to WiFi, accessing emails, or creating a long and complicated Word document. No question is a silly question, because we’ve all been there.

The internet is also a great source of help, though as we said in Tip 3, make sure to think critically about the websites you use.

Do you have any tips?

In the comments, share any tips you have about studying using technology, or any questions you have about using digital devices and tools at university.

© University of York
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