Almost half (46 per cent) of students are using their smartphone for watching or listening to learning materials. That is according to the Making Connections: Global Student Technology Survey, which also found that the portable device, despite its small size and touch-based input, is also used for taking notes (37 per cent).
Among the 96 institutions surveyed in 26 countries, more students admitted to owning a smartphone (93 per cent) than a laptop PC (79 per cent), though both are actively being integrated into learning. While smartphones are used to manage group work, laptops are typically used more for productive work, such as essays or presentations.
40 per cent of students say nothing stops them from using technology for learning at home, on campus, or in other spaces where they gather to learn and collaborate. However, slow or no Internet access (28 per cent) was highlighted as the top technological barrier.
A positive technology experience for students often hinges on the speed and reliability of Wi-Fi. 90 per cent said they had a positive experience where the Internet quality was “excellent”, compared to only 47 per cent with “terrible” quality.
While it may be a moving target, 75 per cent of students said their course uses the right amount of technology, though many feel that technology could be further implemented to better organise and manage their learning. Only 41 per cent of students said their teachers require or encourage the use of personal devices in the classroom, highlighting a potential need for greater clarity over the use of devices for learning.
Only 16 per cent of students said they use online spaces to communicate with teachers, indicating it is still early days for collaborative platforms at educational institutions. These online communities hold the potential to foster meaningful connections, peer support and relationships between teachers and students, so best practices from social media and messaging platforms could be adopted to improve group discussions and community engagement.
Teaching for tomorrow
Regardless of the country, course or device preference, respondents showed a very similar profile to using familiar technologies to enhance their learning. They are also increasingly expecting education providers to offer contemporary, tech-enabled learning environments.
The survey highlights how engaged students are with the use of technology in learning, and how this is creating an opportunity for education providers to shape their future policies and platforms. In addition to the institutions themselves, teachers now need to think about how they can best integrate technology into their teaching.
New technologies such as AI and VR may disrupt the education further once they become more commonplace. In the meantime, education providers can start measuring and benchmarking their own technological footprint, as well as looking at how student experiences, needs and expectations can shape technology policies and augment the delivery of learning.
We’ve already assisted educational institutions such as Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Massey University, University of WA, University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington and others with their systems and digital transformations. Visit our Education page to see what our industry-specific services and solutions are, and how we used them to improve our clients' business and processes.
If you are looking for guidance with supporting emerging technologies, or perhaps you need assistance with ensuring security and stability of your content delivery platforms, we can help. Contact us to find out how.