By Sarah Stoolman, TLT communications intern
Nowadays students are constantly tied to technology. Whether they are on their laptops for class, walking around with their cell phones in hand, or are plugged in to their music, the fact that technology is a dominant factor in students’ lives is undeniable.
Even within each device, there is a subset within that technology that offers something new and different. Students bring their cellphones everywhere they go, and, consequently, bring texting, email, Facebook, Twitter, games, music, and the entire Internet with them. Students are able to stay connected to every aspect of their lives with these devices.
Penn State’s WebMail is provided to all students, faculty, and staff. However, a decent amount of students have stated that they forward their WebMail to Gmail accounts. “The reason I forwarded my WebMail to my Gmail was because I could not figure out how to get WebMail on my iPhone. Also, being a senior, I know that I will lose my WebMail account soon after graduation. Getting a Gmail account was my way of thinking of the future,” stated Heather Pine, senior, psychology.
Combining the two accounts allows students to prepare for post-graduation and also allows them the opportunity to combine all of their academic and personal emails into one space. “I do still use WebMail because of the directory and the ease at which I can get to my Penn State WebAccess account. You can’t not be connected to it as a Penn State student,” added Pine.
Receiving email to one’s phone is crucial to most students nowadays. “I couldn’t imagine not being constantly connected,” stated Liz Pataki, sophomore, marketing.
Job offers, leadership positions, extra-curricular events, and invitations are expected to gain quick responses, so being in constant contact with email certainly allows students to be the first to respond to a job offer, accept leadership roles, and get spots on that invite list.
Also, texting is a staple in students’ lives. The instantaneous notion of being able to contact anyone and get a quick response is another asset to our impulsive lives. The fact that texting, email, and social networking all tie into one device makes the constant attachment and interaction with others extremely easy, quick, and organized. “I enjoy being kept up to date on everything,” noted Laura Davis (junior, telecommunications). “I’ve noticed that professors seem to also enjoy having a smartphone. When I email them with questions, I receive a quick response from them because they get emails on their phones. It’s like having the benefits of text messaging, while maintaining that professional relationship.”
Photo by Tara Caimi
Students seem to believe that using social media and forms of popular modern technology would help in their learning processes. “I would encourage more use of social media in classrooms. We are already so plugged in to everything that there is no point in trying to fight it,” added Pataki.
Being connected to social media does not necessarily mean that the interdependence is exclusively social. Students have the opportunity to “follow” their colleges on Twitter and “like” them on Facebook. Fan pages and accounts regarding topics such as colleges, THON, Onward State, Penn State Sports, Greek Life, and UPUA are popularly followed among the University Park population. “I follow my specific college on Twitter and get updates from it everyday. Along with the emails that I receive from my advisor, I feel extremely in tune with the happenings in my college,” noted Pine.
Smartphones are such commodities in today’s world because it is the one device that you can access these three types of technological necessities. They help students stay connected to their classes, instructors, friends, families, and potential future employers on a constant basis. Students’ constant ties to technology via their phone, email, and social networking allows them to be kept up-to-date in everything that’s important in their busy, everyday lives.