2014 break-down: This is how college students use mobile devices

According to the survey:

College students have high interest in tablets for school work, but mixed feelings when it comes to the future use of mobile devices in the classroom—which could be attributed to mobile devices being used more frequently in class than in previous years:

  • The vast majority of college students agree that tablets will transform the way college students learn in the future (81 percent); yet, they are somewhat less positive when asked whether tablets help students learn more efficiently (66 percent) and whether tablets help students perform better in class (62 percent).
  • 1 in 3 (36 percent) students would like to use mobile technologies more often than they do now, one half (48 percent) say their usage is just right, while 1 in 5 (17 percent) would like to use mobile devices less often than they do now. The percentage of students saying they would like to use mobile devices “more often” declined significantly, from 43 percent in 2013 to 36 percent in 2014.

Usage of smartphones is still outpacing the usage of tablets.

  • 8 in 10 (83 percent) college students regularly use a smartphone, up significantly from 72 percent in 2013. Smartphones are now close to laptops (89 percent) as the mobile device students are most likely to use on a regular basis.
  • 45 percent of college students report that they regularly use a tablet, up from the 40 percent who reported using a tablet last year. 29 percent of students who own a tablet have a separate keyboard they can use with that tablet.
  • 8 percent own a hybrid or 2-in-1 computer.

Laptops are still the most commonly used mobile device for school work.

  • 9 in 10 (89 percent) college students use a laptop, notebook or Chromebook computer every week in order to do their school work. By comparison, 56 percent use a smartphone and 33 percent use a tablet. 12 percent use a hybrid.

College students typically (54 percent) use a single mobile device during an average school day. Nearly four in ten (37 percent) use two or more devices.

Next year, students say they want to use more tablets.

  • 36 percent of students say they want to use a tablet a lot/a great deal for school work next year (2015); 24 percent say they would like to use hybrids; and 34 percent would like to use a smartphone.

College students tend to prefer not to switch to a smartphone or tablet that is larger or smaller than the one they now use.

  • Most college students (86 percent) continue to prefer the standard size tablet. However, there is a small–but noticeable–shift towards using the phablet next year (14 percent vs. 5 percent currently).
  • The large 10” tablet remains the preferred tablet for school work (46 percent in 2015 vs. 45 percent currently).

Students are more interested in using a tablet with separate keyboard.

  • Despite their current lack of experience in using tablets with separate keyboards, 2 in 5 college students (44 percent) would like to use a tablet with a separate keyboard during the next school year.

More details on the surveys methodology, as well as breaking down mobile device ownership and usage by demographics, can be found in Pearson’s full report here.

Pearson’s infographic: