HigherEdMorning.comA student's stranded on a desert island ...

A student’s stranded on a desert island …

November 4, 2010 by Geneva Reid
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Tech News

Strand a college student on a desert island, and what’s the one tech device he’d want to have with him? Cell phone? Laptop? E-book? Take a look at the results of a new study. The Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) just came out with its 2010 Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.

Here’s what the study found when students were asked what pieces of tech equipment they owned:

  • 83.8% have laptops
  • 62.7% have hand-held devices with Internet access
  • 45.9% have desktop computers
  • 13% have netbook computers
  • 3.1% have e-readers

What’s surprising is that in spite of all the hoopla we’ve been hearing about e-readers, fewer than 4% of students surveyed said they owned one.

At the same time, about 25% of students said they use e-textbooks in their courses. According to ECAR, it appears they use their computers or hand-held devices to access the e-texts.

When asked specifically what Web-based technologies they use in their courses — and which ones they use for collaborative purposes — students’ answers yielded the following results:

  • Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc: 36.2% — for collaborative use: 53%
  • Wikis (Web pages that can be created and/or edited by a group of people): 33.1% — for collaborative use: 30.7%
  • Social networking sites: 29.4% — for collaborative use: 49.4%
  • College opinion sites (RateMyProfessors, etc.): 27.1%
  • Textbook publishers’ resource sites: 26.1% — for collaborative use: 23.2%
  • Video-sharing (YouTube, etc.): 24.3% — for collaborative use: 33.4%
  • Blogs: 11.6% — for collaborative use: 37.6%
  • College study support (Cramster, Turnitin, etc.): 10.9%

Do these findings surprise you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Alex Johnson

    I was surprised that more students would choose a web-based word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation technology than social networking sites.

  • BG

    Interesting results, however, the article didn’t address the:

    “Strand a college student on a desert island, and what’s the one tech device he’d want to have with him? Cell phone? Laptop? E-book?”

    question, it only answered what device(s) they currently own, not which ONE of those they feel they couldn’t live without.

  • Mel—

    Good point, BG! I specifically checked out the article to see this result. What a disappointment – and misleading title!!

  • Bob

    Agree with BG and Mel: a very misleading title. Of course, if the students were given a millisecond to answer the stated question, the winner would have been “satellite phone with built-in GPS,” and we wouldn’t have gotten the other interesting statistics.


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