Monday, October 27, 2008

Undergraduate Student Use of IT

I've just been reading the key findings of the 2008 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. I read this one every year as I often cite numbers from this report in some of my presentations. I like that the response group is pretty large (27, 217 students from 98 U.S. institutions), and I really like the year-to-year comparisions as well as the new questions that are added each year. Some of my notes:
  • More than 80% of students bring a laptop to campus. This is up again--not surprisingly. In 2006, 65.9% brought a laptop compared to 82.2% this year.
  • Those laptops aren't all old clunkers, either: 71.1% of freshmen have a laptop less than one year old.
  • 66% of respondents have Internet-capable phones, though they still aren't surfing regularly due to a variety of factors: 25% use the Internet from a phone at least monthly, 17.5% weekly.
  • These students are spending an average of 19.6 hours per week online.
  • This year offered even more questions on social networking software (SNS). A few highlighsts: 58.5% use SNS daily; of those respondents 18-24 years old, about 95% are SNS users; nearly 50% of SNS users are making it part of their academic lives by using it for course-related purposes.
  • This year included a question on information literacy. Disturbingly, but not surprisingly, 79.5% of respondents consider themselves able to effectively use the Internet to find information. Half of those rated themselves as "very skilled" and one third considered themselves "expert."
There's much more here. Even if you don't have time for the full report, at least take a minute to scan the key findings.

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