Tablets are set to change computing with intuitive operating systems, web browsing, access to hundreds of thousands of apps, and even the option to attach a keyboard. From the start, we knew tablets would be big—they’re more mobile than laptops but easier to interact with than phones. It hardly needs to be said (but we’ll say it anyway) that Localist performs well on tablets of all makes, but let’s not kid ourselves: when we say “tablets,” we mean the iPad. Apple’s tablet represents 89% of the US tablet market!
Tablets are being adopted at an impressive rate, and tablet purchases are expected to outpace smartphone purchases over the next two years. Tablet ownership among college students has correspondingly skyrocketed and a Pearson Foundation survey found that it has tripled from a year ago. One-quarter of college students currently own a tablet.
Your school should be preparing to incorporate tablets into campus life and the classroom. Below we offer some data and opinions on what college student tablet use looks like and what it means for your campus.
The way people use mobile phones is fundamentally different from how they use tablets—at least as the technology stands now. Your school should not approach the two devices with the same strategy.
Here’s the deal: according to a study performed last year by Nielsen, 59% of smartphone owners use their devices while shopping and running errands, and 47% use their devices while commuting (let’s hope they take public transit). The time distribution of their usage is all over the place, chopped into 10 and 20% chunks.
On the other hand, only 21% of tablet owners use their devices while shopping, and only 20% use the devices while commuting. Indeed, tablet owners spend a majority of their time on the devices when they’re either watching TV or lying in bed.
Applications and outreach methods designed for phones should be inherently mobile—taking advantage of knowing someone is out and about. For tablets, however, it’s a good bet that someone will want to explore your entire website while they’re sitting in bed—not just a small mobile version of it. Instead of developing a whole new app for tablets, ensure your web properties perform well on tablets as they are.
Ask students and they’ll tell you that tablets and eReaders are going to drastically change the way students learn and interact in the future. The Pearson Foundation study found that 90% of college student tablet owners believe that the devices are valuable for educational purposes. 77% of all college students, tablet owners or not, think tablets enhance the college learning experience, and 78% believe tablets make learning more fun.
It’s pretty clear that tablets are here to stay, and it’s a safe bet that they’re going to change the way students interact, learn, and engage with material. So what can campuses do to engage with students using tablets and truly embrace the technology? Here are a few ideas:
As you can see, there are a variety of ways colleges can engage students through tablets. With tablet use on the rise and college students affirming their preference for digital devices, it’s never been more important to keep up with our students and embrace new technology.
Photo Credit: O iPad 2 Voltou! E pode ser Seu! by sucelloleiloes