In a student’s capable hands, a smart­phone might as well be a rocket ship.

It’s got a camera, a GPS and an accelerom­eter,” said Uni­ver­sity of Michigan elec­trical engi­neering and com­puter sci­ence pro­fessor Elliot Soloway. He was addressing teachers, aca­d­e­mics and industry pro­fes­sionals who filled the Raytheon Amphithe­ater on Monday for a day­long con­fer­ence on using tech­nology in the class­room. “These are far more pow­erful than your average computer.”

Soloway and Cath­leen Norris, a pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of North Texas, deliv­ered the keynote address for Northeastern’s sixth annual Teaching with Tech­nology Day, which was spon­sored by the university’s Edu­ca­tional Tech­nology Center and Aca­d­emic Tech­nology Services.

Provost Stephen Director, who invited Soloway and Norris to speak on campus, wel­comed atten­dees to the conference.

I thought it would be useful to dis­cuss what the stu­dents of today, and, more impor­tantly, the stu­dents of the future, know about tech­nology,” he said.

The lively keynote address focused on the way col­lege stu­dents use tech­nology. Soloway and Norris said col­leges will have to con­tinue to shape their cur­ricu­lums to meet the demands of increas­ingly con­nected students.

Smart­phones, Soloway explained, are “far more pow­erful tools than your average com­puter.” He noted that hand­held mobile devices engage stu­dents in far more dynamic ways than a net­book, laptop or tablet com­puter, which often stay in a student’s backpack.

Stu­dents often use mobile phones to take photos or record audio on their way home and then bring their find­ings back to the class­room for fur­ther dis­cus­sion and learning, he said.

The ubiq­uity of mobile tech­nology, noted Norris, makes it easy for users to rapidly access reli­able infor­ma­tion about nearly any topic. This can serve as an oppor­tu­nity for edu­ca­tors to shift their focus to broader, more com­plex dis­cus­sions, she said.

It’s the big pic­ture ques­tions — the how and the why — that tech­nology is going to let us focus on,” Norris said. “You can get the who, what and where in a second, so you don’t have to spend as much time on them.”

The day­long con­fer­ence also included talks on new hard­ware and soft­ware for use in edu­ca­tion and ses­sions on pro­grams and prod­ucts avail­able from com­pa­nies such as Adobe, Apple, Pearson and Blackboard.