The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and IT 2009 has been released.This longitudinal study is an important gauge of how student opinion and practice in the US.Based on responses from 115 instututions and 30,616 responses this year it has some credibility! There was an emphasis on handheld devices this year too.
They note that some sets of student beliefs and adoption patterns re. technology remain the same, even as technology races forward. They adopt technology at varying speeds, which means that the technology leaders "can provide a glimpse into what higher education can expect".
Use of Social networking sites (SNS)and texting has surged and instant messaging has declined.
Use of SNS 2006-2009 has trebled for the 30-39s and quadrupled for 40+
Use of Web 2.0 technologies, as in previous years, is not necessarily for academic reasons.
80% rate themselves very confident in their abaility to search the internet effectively and efficiently.Lower figures for evaluating reliability and credibility and ethical and legal issues, but still high. Technology innovators and early adopters rank their IL skills higher than other students.
51.2% had an internet capable handheld device, but 35.4% of these said they never use the feature.
Only 11.3% said they used mobiles for course-related work.
There is evidence of a revolution in progress as a quarter of respondents this year say they are using mobiles weekly or more to access the internet. As access costs come down this could increased dramatically . EDUCAUSE article The revolution no one noticed : mobile phones and multimobile services in HE by Alan Livingstone is well worth reading.
Despite all this there is a clear demand for personal interaction "real books and people" and this supports the agument that librarians should concentrate on personal branding and personal service.