But how students are using their devices, how technology is affecting their educational experience, and what effect it has on their well-being are questions that are harder to answer. In the infographic below, online higher education database Onlineeducation.net has summed up some of the existing research on these points.
Many college students are dependent on digital technology in the classroom, according to a study released on Tuesday by etextbook seller CourseSmart and Wakefield Research.
The study surveyed 500 American college students. Seventy-three percent of them said they would not be able to study without some form of technology, and 38% said that they could not even go more than 10 minutes without checking their laptop, smartphone, tablet or ereader.
Many of the students said they used technology for learning tasks traditionally completed with paper. In addition to the unsurprisingly large majority of students who used it to research and write papers (81% and 82% respectively), 70% of the students said they use keyboards rather than paper to take notes and 65% said they use digital devices to create presentations. Technology was also a preferred method for getting in touch with teachers — 91% of the students cited email as a method for seeking extra help from their instructors.
Using an ereader for assigned reading hasn’t caught on quite as well. A 2010 study by OnCampus Research found that 74% of college students surveyed still preferred to use a printed textbook. But the CourseSmartsurvey suggests that further etextbook adoption might be on the way.
Nearly half of the 98% of students in the survey who owned a digital device said they regularly read etextbooks. Sixty-three percent had read an etextbook on their device at least once, and the majority of the survey group agreed that etextbooks are easier to carry, simpler to search, cheaper and better than traditional textbooks for reading on-the-go.