Thursday, March 8, 2012

Colleges going mobile?

I have written about tech mobility before. Most recently, I wrote about the "Bring Your Own Device" culture that is rapiding growing on college campues. I am in the middle of doing our annual student technology survey. In less that 24 hours I have had about 550 responses to the web survey. Trends are already developing and they show interesting results. These trends show an amazing shift in the tools that students are using to work and communicate. The speed of this change is what amazes me. Here is some early data, since the survey is still open:

Smart phone ownership:

2009- 5%
2010- 36%
2011- 48%
2012- 70%

This is consistant with national data, but is truly amazing. The shear speed of this change is uprecedented and presents challenges and opportunities for colleges and universities. If we are not already creating mobile web sites and adding apps to connect our Learning Management Systems to the web, we should have done this yesterday. Can students see a campus map; find out what is for lunch; see their academic schedule; check their email; see what their homework might be for a given class; or view the bus schedule and bus locations on their mobile device?

Smart Phone ownership by vendor:

2011- iPhones 8.7%
2012- iPhone 36.6%

2011- Blackberry 11.1%
2012- Blackberry 5.1%

2011- Android 19%
2012- Android 25.5%

The Apple iPhone has made a huge surge in just one year. Blackberry is fading, as the market news suggests and Android has lost some ground. In our area Verizon has the best 3G support (soon to be 4G), so this could be a factor, coupled with the recent availability of the iPhone with Verizon. It could also be that students are consolidating their music, email, web surfing, texting, and photos on a single easy to use device.

The last factoid discovered so far is the expected increase in the ownership of tablets:

Tablet Ownership:

2011- 7.6%
2012- 18.1%

The 18.1% is still fairly modest, but noteworthy since the devices have only been on the market for two years. We are seeing more mobile devices per student. I think this will have an impact in areas that we cannot yet imagine on college campuses. Stay tuned for more College Tech Trends for 2012. If you want to learn more about college trends take a look at the the New Media Consortiums 2012 Horizon Report.