Ninety percent of SHU faculty members use the iPad
College students are buying Apple iPads at a faster rate than they bought laptops when that technology first hit the market, although student perception of the iPad’s popularity may be skewed, according to a market analysis.
Twelve percent of college students who answered a recent survey said they owned an iPad, the Apple product widely expected to mainstream the use of tablets in higher education.
Two in three student respondents said the iPad was “in” on their campus—an indication that the tablet’s popularity among twenty-somethings is much greater than ownership. In 2010, just after the first iPads were released in stores, 11 percent of students said the tablet was “in” at their school.
Student Monitor, a national market research firm, conducted the survey among 1,200 fulltime students at four-year colleges and universities.
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Laptops remain far more common in higher education, with nearly nine in 10 students telling Student Monitor that they own one. And traditional printed textbooks are still dominant in colleges: 57 percent of all book purchases were new printed texts, according to the survey.
One in five book purchases were eBooks.
It’s not clear if students in the Student Monitor survey classified their iPads as tablets, but another survey from last spring showed that tablet use in higher education was much higher. In fact, 25 percent of students surveyed by the Pearson Foundation last March said they owned a tablet.
Six in 10 college students—and seven in 10 high school seniors—believe tablets will replace traditional textbooks within five years.
IT officials on campuses that were among the first adopters of Apple’s iPad in 2010 said the tablet has become a central part of teaching and learning over the past two years.
Phil Komarny, chief information officer at Seton Hill University (SHU)—which announced iPad pilot program before Apple released its tablet—said on Twitter last month that 90 percent of SHU’s faculty has integrated the iPad into their classes.
“Find me any [technology] in higher ed that was adopted at that rate,” Komarny said.
After SHU was named an Apple Distinguished Program in January, Komarny said the interactive, multilayered iPad applications used by SHU professors have led to a marked improvement in teaching at the 2,000-student university.
“Faculty have determined that students are more highly engaged,” he said. “The use of the iPad and applications we have implemented have resulted in more active participation and more meaningful discussion around issues. We have seen a significant increase in contact between faculty and students as a result of the new channels available for communication.”
An SHU survey conducted in early 2012 showed that six in 10 students used the iPad in their courses at least once a week, and half of student respondents said that tablet has had a positive effect on their college careers.
“We held a belief that mobile technology would become one of the most powerful tools of our time with which to teach and to learn, and as we took the giant step we were not at all certain how that leap would impact teaching and learning,” said SHU President JoAnne Boyle.
Not every college has an iPad success story to trumpet.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Technology Services blog said that a fall 2011 survey showed that tablet ownership among the school’s students is “very weak.”
“Still, the trend for mobile is steadily moving up and we would probably see that reflected in tablet ownership if our survey was administered again this spring,” the blog said.