What concerns cross the minds of students and parents at the start of another school year? Anticipation of adulthood, with equal parts anxiety about responsibilities, can overwhelm those heading off to college for the first time. Meanwhile their parents may find themselves nostalgic at the passing of childhood, suffering a touch of separation anxiety and marveling at how technology has changed the experience.
“My son, in college, would not have been able to take some courses without it,” remarks April Elliott of that technological impact. “Most all of his assignments are posted on the professor’s website.”
And my coworker Lorna McNamara says it gave her three girls the ability to skip the lecture and get the video re-broadcast online as they worked their way through advanced degrees.
For a more statistical look at some always-evolving trends in the use of technology in the home, in school, between family members and friends Dell partnered with Harris Poll to conduct a survey.
The findings of our ‘Where Learning Meets Doing’ Back to School Survey, revealed that today’s mobile devices are helping bridge distances and empower achievement more than ever before. For example, according to the survey, for parents with a child away, over half are talking with their child less, but communicating more thanks to texting and e-mailing. Especially good news for the parents of out-of-state students.
The study surveyed more than 1,000 respondents from across the country, including 506 students aged 16-19 who are attending or planning to attend a 2–4 year college. Five hundred and five of the respondents were parents of this type of student.
Even with the distractions of high school or campus life, more than four in five parents of 16-19 year olds (and nine in ten kids) claim that it’s very easy to stay connected with the family due to all of the devices in their tech arsenal. Perhaps the old adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” rings true; the survey reveals that 80 percent of parents with a child who is away or will be away are likely to text more with their kid, while more than 62 percent will video chat with their child. [see infographic below]
A student’s tablet, laptop, or 2-in-1 device clearly serves as an important link for keeping in touch. So it’s not surprising that nearly 60 percent of student respondents said they will be purchasing a laptop or tablet before the next school year starts. Among those students who say their parents will be buying their device for them, over half say they have all or most of the influence on the purchase. Yet parents can rest assured that the mobile devices their students are carrying around campus are playing an important role that transcends rudimentary note-taking and movie-watching.
“A good number of classes offer electronic testing, giving the student a time frame in which the test needs to be completed,” college parent Melissa O’Neill noted. “It has its pros and cons. I see a lot of positive, but could be an issue if the student is a procrastinator.”
These systems can’t eliminate procrastination, but they are helping students apply classroom teachings to real-world accomplishments, flipping from learning to doing in an instant. Students take full advantage of their devices’ mobility: over half in our research say they study wherever they can grab a few minutes.
The devices are also portals to a limitless educational landscape. Over three-quarters of students have gone online after classes to get more information and applied that research to their hobbies or passion projects, while seven in ten have used online “how to videos” to supplement what they are not learning in class.
As parent Hollie Arnold puts it, they can now “Google search anything instead of having to go to the library!”
Nine in 10 of the parents and students polled in the Dell ‘Where Learning Meets Doing’ Back to School Survey agree: devices today DO make learning easier. As studies extend beyond the classroom, we are excited at Dell to arm students with technology solutions that will forge meaningful connections across space and time, and catalyze the ideas that will shape a very bright future.
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