Recently Peter Schilling, Amherst College’s director of IT, posted interesting findings about his students technology preferences. Amherst is hardly a typical U.S. institution of higher learning. Located in western Massachusetts, Amherst is regarded one of the nation’s very best liberal arts colleges. However, Schilling’s findings do show the direction in which our college students are using technology and consuming media.
Some of the points Schilling made have to do with how quicky technology is being adopted, and how quickly old technology is being sloughed off. For instance, the number of first-year applicants applying online has jumped from 33% to 89% in just five years.
On the other hand, of the entire enrolled class of 2012, only five of the 438 first-years students (1.1%) registered a telephone land line. The portability of cell phones has clearly won hearts and minds. Similarly, notebook computers abound. Only 14 students of the class (4.3%) registered a desktop computer for use on the school network.
Here are other findings from the 30-point list that Schilling posted (these are direct quotes. I know point #5 is vague):
- Students in the class of 2012 who registered computers, IPhones, game consoles, etc. on the campus network by the end of the day on August 24th, the day they moved into their dorm rooms: 370 students registered 443 devices.
- The number of individual film titles in the College’s digital video streaming collection: 1,260.
- The number of times these films were watched last year: 20,662.
- Number that brought iPhones/iTouches: 93.
- Likelihood that a student with an iPhone/iTouch is in the class of 2012: approximately 1 in 2.