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Tech Trends for the Class of 2017

Posted by admin on 10/22/13 11:00 PM
Topics: back to college, Higher Ed, retail technology, millennials

The following excerpt is from the article 7 Tech Trends for the Class of 2017, written by Brandon Croke, Director of Marketing at Uversity, and published on Doteduguru. Croke details seven significant technology trends that colleges must be aware of in order to meet students where they engage. You'll find three of the points that are most relevant to college stores below. Read his full article for more information on what today's students are looking for.

Your Students Are Addicted To Their Phones

Perhaps that headline is a little dramatic, but have you spent time with a group of high school students who wasn’t sending texts or taking photos every few minutes? Almost 50% of students report using their mobile device for all of their web browsing. In order to fully engage this generation, colleges must look into a student’s relationship with their smartphone and how it will affect their academic, social, and college transition process.

Students send around 3,000 texts a month (about 100 each day) and are constantly in touch with their friends. As Sherry Turkle explains in Alone Together “… people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people – carefully kept at bay. We can’t get enough of one another if we use technology to keep one another at distances we can control.” This is especially true for teens, where over half of themexchange text messages every day with their close friends and family.

With the popularity of texting also comes a new breed of “texting apps” which rely on data plans instead of a fixed amount of SMS credits. Snapchat, Kik and WhatsApp are growing in popularity as a way to be “always connected without a trace” and according to Apple, Snapchat has 5 million daily active users who send over 200 million photos a day.

(See how college stores are taking advantage of SnapChat)

Your Students Aren’t Rocking Tablets

While students may be highly engaged on their phones, the “tablet revolution” isn’t coming to most college campuses this year. Students heading back to school will be sporting laptops this fall season, not tablets (only 1 in 10 students report owning a tablet). Of course this is true unless you go to Arkansas State University where each incoming student receives their own iPad.

And while platforms like CourseSmart and Inkling can offer a new breed of digital textbooks, 60 percent of students still prefer to read on paper. It’s important to note, as the essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out, we overestimate the impact new technologies are going to have on our lives. Even though digital textbooks can provide the “same information” as a paper book, they don’t necessarily offer the same experience.

Your Students Still Read Books

Some people may see millennials as the generation that has ditched reading for technology, but that could not be further from the truth. According to research from Pew, College-aged adults from 18 to 24 years old have the highest reading rate of any age group. When looking at young people aged 16-29, more than eight in ten have read a book in the last year.

While students may still be reading, research shows they prefer less rigorous books than their peers read decades ago. Looking at the top 40 books read in grades nine through 12, almost all of them were below the high-school reading level. According to Stickney, as quoted in this NPR article “The complexity of texts students are being assigned to read,” Stickney says, “has declined by about three grade levels over the past 100 years.”

SuHua Huang, author of “Reading Habits of College Students in the United States,” explains that more than 40% of the time they spend reading is on social media, and these digital experiences often contain shorter bits of content.


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