Mobile technology has been a subject of many discussions in the higher education community in recent times. Universities and colleges have been increasingly looking into ways of using smartphones and mobile networks to improve engagement and better captivate their students.
This trend comes as no surprise, especially if you look at the numbers. According to a recent study, 86 percent of college students own a smartphone, and nearly half (47 percent) of the population has a tablet. Additionally, 50 percent of students use their handsets for daily schoolwork, which, while a relatively small percentage compared to the 86 percent smartphone ownership statistic, is still remarkable if you consider the numerous advantages that college laptops have over smartphones and tablets.
And, as if that's not enough to win the case for mobile, handheld devices are now the most preferred gadgets for accessing the Internet, accounting for more than half of all browsing activity worldwide.
As students increasingly become married to their pocket-friendly mobile devices and leaving their college laptops at home. Here are five impressive ways that pioneering higher-ed institutions are making the most out of the technology.
1. Real-time Information
As the number-one device for browsing the Web, smartphones are finding use among students as a vital source of first-hand information and a crucial tool for research-based learning. In a bid to supplement the vast pool of educational content in mobile app stores, institutions have recently been liaising with third-party developers to create custom apps that depict coursework in easily digestible mobile-based formats.
Moreover, college students are applying location services in practical situations, from getting directions and recommendations for social places to acquiring news about campus activities and events. Thanks to mobile technology, universities and colleges have commendably streamlined the acquisition and exchange of information among students and staff.
2. Student-teacher Interaction
A smartphone is virtually as much a necessity in a college student's life as food and water. In fact, studies show that more than 90 percent of learners use their phones to text or log into social media while in the classroom.
Some higher education institutions have found effective ways of harnessing this reliance, and are now using mobile technology to enhance the learning experience. A good example is Purdue University in the US, whose Hotseat app allows students to provide real-time feedback during a lesson by turning a class session to a collaborative social-media-like classroom. Professors can then use this feedback to adjust the course content for a better learning experience overall.
3. Mobile Commerce
The adoption of mobile payments is now in full swing, thanks to remarkable solutions like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet, which have proven themselves as faster, safer and more convenient forms of payment than physical credit cards.
Mobile payment technology has been seeping into colleges as well, and institutions are experimenting with a myriad of devices to make in-campus payments easier for students. Several universities in Britain, such as Cardiff, Aberdeen and South Wales, have been working with Yoyo Wallet to allow college goers to pay quickly while getting rewarded with redeemable points for their loyalty.
Embracing mobile payments is gradually giving rise to new levels of data and commerce, providing schools with a clearer picture of commercial campus activity, along with better ways to uncover the services that are doing the best (or worst) financially.
4. Campus Safety
The advancement of mobile technology has motivated many higher-ed institutions to remove landlines phones from campus grounds, not just to save money, but because stationary phone-based systems have a host of limitations when compared to mobile phones.
Instead, colleges are giving students contacts of dedicated emergency-response teams, which they can call or text from anywhere and at any time. Furthermore, apps like MyForce Campus Interface are providing new ways of collecting crime data, in and around campus, from both students and faculty.
Mobile tech is proving itself to be of tremendous importance in bringing security assurance to higher education institutions.
Mobile technology has revolutionized how colleges build and maintain brand reputation. Today, developing a strategy that considers mobile activity is critical to attracting and retaining students. Many institutions are using smartphone apps to connect with existing and prospective learners via social media, which paints them as exciting, interactive and futuristic centers of higher education.
Moreover, a mobile social platform encourages students to share what they're up to with friends, mapping directly to a school's brand.
In just a few years, mobile technology has gone from having no place in higher education to being an absolute must-have for universities and colleges alike. Currently, mobile tech is making numerous aspects of higher-ed easier and adding new layers of knowledge, engagement, and safety. The result is a better college experience that promises to significantly boost the rankings and polls of every university that sufficiently invests in the technology.