Laptop ownership spikes among increasingly wired college students
Despite common wisdom about the poverty (and resulting legendary thriftiness) of students, American college kids are doing pretty well for themselves when it comes to gadgets. A new report from EDUCAUSE finds that nearly every college student in the US owns both a computer and a phone; 36 percent of students own two computers.
What type of computer do they favor? Laptops, of course. In only two years, laptop ownership on campus has surged from 52.8 percent of the student population to 75.8 percent, while desktop use peaked in 2006 and dropped to 62.8 percent this year.
If students no longer head off to campus without a computer, they also need a cell phone now. 86 percent of students say they own a simple one (without Web access), while another 12 percent have a smartphone. Though the report doesn't look into the matter, I for one would like to see some research into just why it is so difficult for students to silence their ringtones while in the campus library. My guess: the constant diet of pizza and Mountain Dew.
And then come the iPods. More students own an "electronic music/video device" (76 percent) than own a laptop. This has certainly cut down on the frequency of hard rock tunes blasting from an open dorm room window, but one sometimes wonders when these students find time to speak to each other. Between the allure of the little white headphones, the handset, and the computer screen (err, and the studying, of course), collegiate life is stuffed to the brim.
Students appear to take it all in stride, though. As the report notes, many students "have never known a world without personal access to information technologies, often take them for granted and integrate them seamlessly into their daily lives."
That integration takes plenty of time out of each week. The report found that engineering students spend an average of 21.9 hours a week doing online activities. The humanities are lower, at 18.7 hours, and education majors are at the bottom, spending only 15.9 hours a week online.
Disturbingly, a full six percent of those surveyed spent more than 40 hours a week online. That's either some serious dedication to learning or the result of a WoW addiction.