Mobile technology adoption could help Hispanics in higher ed

Hispanic broadband use jumped from 28 percent in 2004 to 68 percent in 2008.

Hispanics in the U.S. use mobile devices and social media more than any other demographic, while colleges and universities adopt both technologies as key parts of course work.

Almost 90 percent of Hispanics own a mobile device, with 53 percent using their smart phone to access the internet, according to research detailing Hispanics’ use of mobile technology and social sites like Twitter and Facebook, released May 17 by The Hispanic Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization.

Eight in 10 whites included in the study said they have a mobile device, and one-third said they peruse the web with their phone.

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The institute’s study, “Connected Hispanics & Civic Engagement,” focused mostly on mobile technology’s role in effecting social change through improved communication, but Gus West, board chair of The Hispanic Institute, said widespread use of educationally relevant technology could serve Hispanics well in higher education.

“[Mobile technology] is the most significant tool for students today starting in elementary school and reaching all the way to college and post-graduate years,” West said.

Reliance on technology for homework, test preparation, and student group work makes familiarity with mobile devices an academic must, West said.

“It’s difficult in this day and age to not use some sort of internet access for every part of a person’s education,” he said.

Hispanic use of broadband internet jumped from 28 percent in 2004 to 68 percent in 2008, according to the research. Overall U.S. broadband use increased from 31 percent to 71 percent during the same period.