Smartphones. Tablets. Laptops. E-readers. For work or fun, these devices continue to play a larger role in the day-to-day life of most college students. According to 2010 research from the PEW Internet and American Life Project, undergraduate students are some of the most tech savvy users: 98 percent use the Internet, 86 percent use social networking sites and 63 percent access the Internet or email via their smartphones.
Yes, undergraduate students are plugged in, networked and connected to their technology devices. But, do these wizardry gadgets impact educational success? Can and do they improve educational outcomes? An infographic from the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research details just how undergraduate students view and use technology.
According to the infographic, 75 percent of surveyed students said they believed their academic success could be helped by technology. The laptop (85 percent), printer (84 percent), tablet (45 percent), and smartphone (37 percent) varied on the importance level to students.
Students want face-to-face and digital communication
The EDUCAUSE infographic shared a wish list from students about how they want to communicate with instructors. Traditional communication, such as face-to-face (53 percent) and phone conversation (28%) were at the top and bottom of this communication wish list.
The other items on the list indicate students' desire to use and take advantage of new tech: course management systems (53 percent), email (45 percent), text messaging (43 percent), instant messaging (37 percent), social studying sites (36 percent), and Facebook (29 percent).
Learning goes digital
Both students and educators continue to become more comfortable with what technology has to offer education, both in and out of the classroom. Within the classroom, online learning continues to gain traction across the country. The 2012 Survey of Online Learning from the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board revealed that over 6.7 million students in the fall of 2011 were taking at least one online course, and 32 percent of higher education students take at least one online course.
Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders in higher education believe that online learning outcomes are equal to and, in some cases, better than face-to-face instruction. However, a blended approach to learning (part online, part face-to-face) seems to be particularly appealing to students. Seventy-four percent of students surveyed by EDUCAUSE feel they learn the most while participating in blended learning environments.
While it certainly hasn't been an overnight revolution, changes to the shape of modern higher education continue to take place. The chalkboards of yesterday are becoming the touchscreens of today.