Mobile technologies are playing an increasingly important role in college students’ academic lives. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, and e-book readers connect users to the world instantly, heightening access to information and enabling interactivity with others. Applications that run on these devices let users not only consume but also discover and produce content.1 As such, they continue to transform how college students learn, as well as influence their learning preferences, both within and outside the classroom.
The popularity of mobile technologies among college students is increasing dramatically. Results from the ECAR research study on students suggest that many undergraduate students bring their own digital devices to college, favoring small and portable ones such as smartphones and tablets. 2 Although students still rate laptops (85 percent) as the most important devices to their academic success, the importance of mobile devices such as tablets (45 percent), smartphones (37 percent), and e-book readers (31 percent) is noticeably on the rise. Increasingly, students say they want the ability to access academic resources on their mobile devices.3 In fact, 67 percent of students’ smartphones and tablets are reportedly being used for academic purposes, a rate that has nearly doubled in just one year.4