More Nebraska college students have Internet-access from the palm of their hands as so-called smart phones and other handheld devices become more common, affordable and powerful. Information technologist Brian Rust says a survey last year found about 24-percent of college students had a smart phone.
This year, the number nearly doubled to 45-percent and Rust expects the numbers to leap even farther next year. He says the rising numbers mean many students are looking for more ways to use those phones as a part of the learning experience.
As the devices can do more, students expect to be able to do more with them in terms of access to academic resources, library information, research tools, and even with simple things like bus schedules and the campus map. Rust says this year’s survey of students shows they’re constantly interested in new ways to make technology play a bigger role in their education.
He says, “It isn’t just a matter of putting that information on a screen in their hands, it’s intersecting that information with other resources, such as GPS data, locations of classes, locations of libraries on campus.” Rust says the growing presence of smart phones on campus has universities looking at ways to better connect with students.