Survey of Student Devices and Sites

I was able to conduct my annual online survey of the computing and handheld devices used by my CORE114 Knowledge Society class over the last few days. The questions were adjusted to come in line with a similar survey conducted by colleagues with a new media class, so they are not quite directly comparable to my 2010 survey.

At the time of writing 116 students (63%) had replied out of a class of 184. Students are drawn approximately equally between our Business, Law and Humanities faculties, and for 40% of students it is there first semester. The computing devices results are:

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Approximating doubling from last year 52% use Macs. Counting netbooks as well 72% use Windows machines. In one year tablet use, presumably almost all iPads, has grown from nothing to 14%. My first surprise was the low usage of ereader devices at just 2%.

All students surveyed owned a mobile phone of which 91% are Internet-enabled. The breakdown of mobile phone manufacturers shows the dominance of Apple iPhones at 59%. All but one of the Other category are HTC phones which puts them on a par with Blackberry and Samsung.

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Again all students surveyed used online sites for their communications of various types with Facebook dominating at 92%. The only near competitor is the 83% use of online email. Twitter use is about the average for the population as a whole. The only disappointment is the low use of LinkedIn. At 8% this will need to grow as the students’ future employers are relying heavily on LinkedIn information to decide on who they will recruit. Blog use again, at 14%, is about the norm, and hopefully will increase as they become familiar with their weekly blogging task in the early weeks of the subject.

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Overall these numbers confirm the increasing use of Macs and the near universality of Facebook. At only 3% I found Foursquare use disappointingly low especially as it may be a useful tool in tracking students within the university context.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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