Mobile devices: Student ownership and usage

As we experiment with new learning technologies that depend on mobile devices  it is worthwhile to take stock of student’s ownership and usage of mobile devices. The following data comes from the 2015 Educause Center for Analytics and Research (ECAR) survey.  411 Brown University students completed the survey.

  • Of the 383 students who answered this question 98% owned a laptop and 94% owned a smartphone.
  • Majority of the smartphones (73%) were iphone, followed by Android phones (24%).
  • Majority of students (97.5%) used a laptop to do academic work for most or all of their courses compared to smartphones (18%). Another 12% reported using smartphones for at least half of their courses. This is overall academic use related to the courses not necessarily use in the classroom.

Mobile Devices in the Classroom: Managing Distractions

Mobile devices are an integral part of increasing number of students’ lives. This has generated mixed reactions in the higher education community. Some have focused on the shift in the way we learn enabled by smart devices while others worry about the potential for distraction for the student themselves and the rest of the class when devices including laptops are used in the classroom.

Opponents of mobile devices in the classroom point to multitude of studies that have shown multitasking to be detrimental to learning. The assumption here is that by the virtue of being always connected, students with laptops, tablets, or smartphones are always multitasking and distracted. Some instructors manage this problem by strictly implementing a policy of no devices in the classroom. Some colleges go a step ahead and block internet for some classrooms.

Although distraction due to mobile devices is a legitimate concern, we can take a more inclusive approach to the problem rather than implementing restrictions top-down.

Educate about effects of multitasking and distraction
Here are a few points you can share with your students. Multitasking: Continue reading