Teens love technology. According to a 2013 "Teens and Technology" study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 93 percent of all teens have access to a computer at home and 78 percent have cellphones. The same study found that 74 percent of teens are mobile Internet users, accessing the Internet from a cellphone, tablet PC or other mobile device at least part of the time. This puts a wealth of knowledge at teens' fingertips any given time—and not just for entertainment purposes. Such technology can help them advance academically, too.
1. Smartphones and tablets
A separate study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 73 percent of Advanced Placement and National Writing Program teachers say their students use smartphones to complete assignments. Meanwhile, 45 percent say they have students who use tablet PCs in the classroom. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the number of free or low cost applications available for these devices. With a smartphone or tablet, students have easy access to calculators, note-taking, unit conversion charts, mind-mapping software, and flashcard apps to help with memorization. With mobile Internet, they can search for answers on the Web and access lots of news reports and articles.
Anyone can access Tutor.com, an online paid subscription service offering tutoring and homework help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—no appointment necessary. Students can log in and interact with an expert tutor via an online classroom, complete with chat functions and a digital whiteboard to help work out tricky math problems. Access tutoring in nearly every subject for elementary school through high school advanced placement courses. Students can also access SAT and test prep help. In addition to accessing Tutor.com from home or school computers, the Tutor.com app allows students to access a tutor from their smartphone or tablet. Many public libraries offer patrons use of Tutor.com free of charge through the library's database.
LearningExpress, another online database offering homework help for students of all ages, does not offer access to live tutors like Tutor.com, but does offer supplemental instruction and practice tests for a variety of subjects. In addition to helping students improve math, reading and science skills, LearningExpress offers tutorials on popular computer programs, college prep and even personal finance. LearningExpress is another subscription database you can easily access through your local library.
4. Social media
In addition to using the Internet to find a tutor, students can use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to form digital study groups and find instructors for assistance completing large assignments or studying for exams. Students may find someone who will share study guides and other documents via Google Drive or email. Technology has made it easier than ever to find expert help from someone who can look over study guide answers or proofread an essay.
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