This presentation was given at the Ascilite conference 2009 hosted in Auckland, NZ.
Matt Riddle started by giving a bit of background to the study (which was funded by Blackboard). He advised he used the ‘day experience method’, which followed the use of technology in students’ daily lives. Students were given a kit which they used via their own mobile phones. The idea was to build up a picture of students’ lives – a day in the life of…as opposed to the institution expectations of what a student’s life actually comprises. Data included photos, notebooks, videos etc.
To the question ‘what are you using?’ – the use of technologies and techniques was very broad – pen and paper (53%), and face-to-face (38%) – only 17% mentioned laptops, but 100% said that they had their mobile phones with them at all times. One example…a student using a laptop in the bookshop to search for an item. Power points were mentioned as an issue where people wanted to use their laptops but could not as their battery would run out, and this could be a reason that they didn’t use as much technology as they might otherwise do so. Comfort (e.g. people smoking in non-smoking zones where there is wireless, meaning that students would go home to study). Some students were reluctant to bring laptops on campus, in part because the wireless coverage was too restricted – in coverage, and they could only access the intranet rather than the internet. The policy has since changed, and students can access the wider internet, but the physical coverage has remained the same.
Image by hazelowendmc via Flickr
Feelings were mainly positive with ICTs (64%), with only 14% feeling frustrated. In summary, students are using technologies throughout their day and everywhere, on campus, in transit, at work at home. Institutions need to a better job in providing comfortable spaces – with power - in which to study.
Not really surprising results…and perhaps suggesting that the reason tertiary education institutions are not seeing more ubiquitous wireless mobile device use around campus is practical rather than philosophical.