Survey: Students want more digital engagement on campus

The increasing number of internet-ready devices flowing to college campuses gives institutions the opportunity to create more engaging and dynamic learning environments, according to a new survey.

More than half of surveyed students bring at least two of their own internet-connected devices with them to campus, according to the TopHat survey of more than 500 college students. Because students use technology for almost every aspect of their lives, universities should focus on offering access to engaging and interactive materials.

The survey shows that students want interactive digital course materials; 36 percent of students said they learn best from an interactive digital text, compared to only 19 percent who said they learn best from a static PDF course pack.…Read More

The rise of mobile technology in higher ed

Between the ever-expanding popularity of tablets and the continued rise of smartphone ownership, all evidence points to an unabated focus on the adoption of new mobile devices and innovative technologies, The Huffington Post reports. According to a study by the Online Publishers Association, smartphone owners have increased by 44 percent between 2011 and 2012 and that figure is expected to increase to 57 percent during 2013. As mobile device adoption has increased, so, too, have the number of new applications. From mobile banking to real-time entertainment, there’s seemingly no end to what Americans have come to expect from their mobile lifestyles. And, higher education is a market where mobile technology is playing an especially prominent role. Today’s digital natives are no longer confined to their desktops as the mobile revolution spreads across higher education. Florida Lynn University, for example, is requiring all freshmen enrolled in fall 2013 semester to purchase an iPad mini in order to guarantee a “truly modern college experience.” Seton Hill is providing all new, full-time students with iPads, while the Illinois Institute of Technology is providing the popular devices to all first-year undergraduates.

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5 of the smallest tech-savvy campuses

Small colleges have experimented for years with mobile technology.

Technology and innovation isn’t the domain of sprawling campuses. eCampus News staff members have compiled a list of five small but technologically advanced campuses that have set an example of small schools looking for the best ways to use limited resources on the most effective educational technology.

Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a public two-year college located in Bentonville, Ark. NWACC opened its doors to 1,200 students in August 1990 and now has more than 7,000 students, making it one of the largest and fastest growing two-year college in Arkansas. It serves another 7,000 students throughout the region with non-credit courses. Read about NWACC’s mobile efforts and web-based mapping of its campus.

Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., is a private, Christian liberal arts college with 1,300 undergraduate students. Westmont IT officials have implemented predictive modeling and cloud-computing programs to save money and spend budgets efficiently, becoming a model for small schools looking for ways to survive the slumping economy. Read more about the school’s money-saving technology.…Read More

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.…Read More

Colleges hanging up landline phones in dorms

The era of the landline phone has ended on many college campuses.
The era of the landline phone has ended on many college campuses.

Tired of watching dust gather on dorm phones, several colleges in Indiana and elsewhere are pulling the plug on landlines, making their classes of 2014 the first to be totally cellular.

Without landlines, some colleges will save tens of thousands of dollars in hardware and hook-up fees paid to phone companies. Butler University, for example, could save up to $60,000 a year; Indiana State about $35,000.

But the reason for the change is not money: It’s the reality of a new high-tech generation.…Read More

Students send texts for cheap textbooks

More than 20,000 students have texted their textbook requests this year.
More than 20,000 students have texted their textbook requests this year.

College students reeling from textbook sticker shock in their campus’s bookstore can send a text message to a popular book rental company to see if they can save serious cash every semester.

Online textbook rental companies, which allow students to rent books for a semester, often for a fraction of the retail cost, have seen consistent growth in the past three years, industry experts say—and one company, Chegg, now invites text-message inquiries to help students check availability and rent from the company’s repository of 4.2 million books.

College students still can check availability and prices on Chegg’s web site, but they also can scour Chegg’s book options by texting a textbook ISBN or title to a designated number. The student will receive a responding text with a link to Chegg’s mobile web site, accessible on popular mobile devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry.…Read More

Stanford doctoral student seeks peace through technology

Stanford officials and volunteers collected about 100 accounts from children in the West Bank.
Stanford officials and volunteers collected about 100 accounts from children in the West Bank.

The stories are harrowing, but Elizabeth Buckner hopes sharing accounts of the tension among Palestinians and Israelis with the help of mobile devices will offer perspective to children from both sides and promote understanding in the volatile region.

Buckner, a doctoral student at Stanford University’s School of Education, heads a group of volunteers who collect everyday stories from children who detail their experiences in disputed areas, road checkpoints, and border regions between Israel and Palestine.

The kids’ stories will be recorded and downloaded onto mobile devices that will be distributed at schools in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Buckner said the children’s stories—which range from details of family gatherings and sporting events to close calls with Israeli soldiers—soon will be available as a free iPhone application.…Read More

Higher education’s best mobile technology programs

The University of Missouri last fall required all incoming journalism students to have an iPhone or iPod Touch.
The University of Missouri last fall required all incoming journalism students to have an iPhone or iPod Touch.

With small private campuses and large research universities alike teeming with iPhones, iPod Touches, BlackBerries, and other mobile devices, a college counseling company has highlighted five institutions in particular as the best landing spots for students attached to their gadgets.

IvyWise, a New York-based counseling company that released a list of the most environmentally friendly colleges in April, recently unveiled another list to help college applicants, this time focusing on schools that leverage the power of mobile devices to store and deliver recorded lectures, syllabi, homework, tests, and a host of other information that can be accessed any time, anywhere on campus.

The list, compiled by IvyWise counselors and released May 12, includes Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., Stanford University, the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, Ohio State University, and the University of Missouri.…Read More

Tech-savvy university grows mobile learning with $1.8M award

ACU gave iPods and iPhones to about 1,000 incoming students in 2008.
ACU gave iPods and iPhones to about 1,000 incoming students in 2008.

Abilene Christian University, among the leading users of mobile technology in higher education, will use a $1.8 million award from AT&T to build a studio for mobile learning experimentation and a K-12 professional development program that will train teachers to use education technology devices such as eReaders and internet-ready phones.

This isn’t the first time AT&T has partnered with ACU, a campus of almost 5,000 students in Abilene, Texas. The phone giant and Alcatel-Lucent helped develop the university’s Wi-Fi internet network earlier this decade. AT&T also gave $1 million to ACU in 2007 for the computer infrastructure in the school’s Bob and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center.

The wireless network powers the thousands of mobile devices—mostly Apple iPods and iPhones—that ACU has doled out to incoming students in recent years. The school pays for the mobile hardware, while students pay for the monthly AT&T service plan, according to ACU officials.…Read More

Author: ‘iGeneration’ requires a different approach to instruction

A new book asserts that students who have grown up with constant access to mobile technology learn - and need to be taught - differently.
A new book asserts that students who have grown up with constant access to mobile technologies learn—and need to be taught—differently.

The students entering college today learn much differently from students just a few years older—and that’s mainly because they’ve never known a world without the internet or cell phones, says psychology professor and author Larry D. Rosen, whose research could give educators valuable insights into the needs of today’s learners.

Children born in the 1990s, dubbed the “iGeneration” by Rosen, live in a time of rapidly changing technology, in which they are constantly connected to a number of mobile technologies. Rosen said the “i” stands for both the technologies these students use—such as the iPod, iPhone, and Wii—and the individualized ways in which students use these tools.

“iGeners are growing up with portable technology. Literally from birth, these children are able to grow up using mobile technology,” he said. “But I also look at the little ‘i’ as reflecting the individualized culture—reflecting our needs and desires.”…Read More