The price of tablets could be a barrier in higher education adoption.

The future in which every college student is armed with a state-of-the-art tablet computer is seemingly still a long way out.

Eight in 10 students, in a survey conducted by professional services firm Deloitte, said they owned a laptop or desktop computer, while just 18 percent owned a tablet.

The overwhelming preference for what has become traditional campus technology shouldn’t come as a shock to educational technologists, said Brent Schoenbaum, a partner in the retail practice at Deloitte.

“The combination of smartphones and laptops makes the tablet redundant for students,” he said.

A central reason for students’ preference for PCs could have to do with a tablet’s purpose: to access apps, play games, and watch movies – not write lengthy research papers.

“Unless you’re shooting for a degree in Angry Birds, tablets are a horrible back-to-school purchase,” said Louis Ramirez, senior features writer on DealNews.com.

Price could also be a barrier in widespread tablet use on college campuses, according to Deloitte. An iPad Mini sells for $329, while a desktop PC can be had for $200.

Most tablet owners earn $75,000 annually, according to a report published in July by the Pew Internet Research.

The Deloitte survey comes just weeks after it was revealed in a report titled, “The Future of Education,”  that 84 percent of student respondents said they use a computer to study, while just one in five students regularly studied on their Apple iPads, iPhones, and myriad other mobile devices.

Findings showing students’ low use of tablets and phones to study comes several years after the first U.S. campuses gave iPads to incoming students and certain campus departments.

The number of college students who say they own a tablet tripled between 2011 and 2012, according to a poll from the Pearson Foundation.


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