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"Education On Demand Within Your Hands" 


Digital eStudent

College female with smart phone.


Overview of Mobilization (iPad & Apps ) from a College Student





The Digital Nation

Watch Digital Nation on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.





21st Century Fluencies



The Fluencies

The 21st Century Fluencies are not about technical prowess, they are critical thinking skills, and they are essential to living in this multimedia world. We call them fluencies for a reason. To be literate means to have knowledge or competence. To be fluent is something a little more, it is to demonstrate mastery and to do so unconsciously and smoothly.

A young learner who is literate in the use of a tool, say a pencil for example, can use it to write, but does so haltingly because a great deal of focus is on the use of the tool. As time goes on, this learner will develop fluency with the use of the pen or pencil, or keyboard. No longer will it be an impediment, instead their thoughts and ideas flow directly to the paper. The use of the tool is transparent. This is the level of proficiency we will need to thrive in this digital landscape and is what we strive to develop in today's learners.

Current Issues, Studies, and News regarding the
Digital eStudent

Generation Mobile
Created by: HackCollege








“Work smarter, not harder.”

"Lectures are boring and inefficient. Long hours spent studying hand-written notes is very 1994. Anyone graduating today needs to know not how to operate a computer, but when. The fault is both with the students and the teachers. HackCollege is changing education.

HackCollege is educating the students of the world about effective, open source software, putting techno-political arguments in everyday language, and creating a cult of “Students 2.0.” If we can change the way 1 percent of college students and faculty in the world view education and technology, we’ve done our job. To read more about the contributors, visit their individual about pages:




This is Your Teen's Brain on Technology and Multitasking




How Students Use Technology
Robert B. Kvavik
EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


© Robert B. Kvavik



Much has been made about the new generation of technology-savvy students currently in and entering college. These students possess unprecedented levels of skill with information technology; they think about and use technology very differently from earlier student cohorts. They are characterized as preferring teamwork, experiential activities, and the use of technology. Prensky calls them "digital natives," referring to the fact that they have grown up with technology as opposed to "digital immigrants" who did not.1a,b

Jason Frand observed that today's young students take technology for granted and that staying connected is a central part of their lives. Doing is more important than knowing, and learning is accomplished through trial and error as opposed to a logical and rule-based approach.2 Similarly, Paul Hagner found that these students not only possess the skills necessary to use these new communication forms, but there is an ever increasing expectation on their part that these new communication paths be used.3

The assumption of the technology literate undergraduate student population needs to be demonstrated with quantitative data. Much of the work to date, while interesting and compelling, is intuitive and largely based on qualitative data and observation. A study by the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR), using both quantitative and qualitative data, addressed four questions:

  • What kinds of information technologies do students use, and what are their preferences?
  • With what levels of skill are they using these technologies?
  • How does this use contribute to their undergraduate experience?
  • What value does the use of information technology add in terms of learning gains?



Fully 93.4 percent of 4,374 students surveyed at 13 higher education institutions in 5 states owned a computer. We found that 70.7 percent of the senior respondents and 57.1 percent of the freshmen respondents reported ownership of a personal desktop computer; 38.5 percent of the senior respondents and 52.7 percent of the freshmen respondents owned laptop computers. Personal digital assistants (PDAs) were owned by only 11.9 percent overall, with male students more likely to own a PDA than female students. Cell phones were owned by 82 percent of the students, with femles (84.7 percent) more likely to own one than males (77.7 percent).

Internet Access

All of the students in this study had access to the Internet. Freshmen students, who most often reside on campus, access the Internet using university networks (82.2 percent). Seniors used commercial access most often (56.4 percent). More than 81 percent of students had access to broadband service, either through commercial or university sources, while 18.5 percent used modems.

Use of Technology

Students were asked about the applications they used on their electronic devices. They reported that they use technology first for educational purposes, followed by communication. Students reported using computers for writing documents (99.5 percent) and e-mails (99.5 percent), followed by surfing the Internet for pleasure (97.2 percent) and for classroom activities (96.4 percent). Students reported using technology for creating/editing video and audio and for creating Web pages the least.

Hours of Technology Use

By a wide margin, students said that they used a computer first for doing classroom activities and studying (mean of 4.01 on a scale where 1 represents "do not use," 2 represents less than one hour weekly; 3 represents 1–2 hours; 4 represents 3–5 hours; 5 represents 6–10 hours, and 6 represents 11 or more hours per week). Students used the computer approximately 2–5 hours a week for writing documents, surfing the Internet for pleasure, e-mailing, using instant messaging, using an electronic device at work or downloading/listening to music or videos. Other activities such as completing a learning activity, playing games, creating spreadsheets, and creating presentations (including Web sites) occupied an average student's time less than 2 hours per week (see Table 1).

Table 1. Activities and Hours Spent


Activities Mean*
Classroom activities and studying using an electronic device 4.01
Writing documents (word processing) 3.76
Surfing the Internet for pleasure 3.47
Creating, reading, sending e-mail 3.47
Chatting with friends or acquaintances using instant messaging 3.45
Using an electronic device (computer, Palm device) at your place of employment 3.31
Downloading or listening to music or videos/DVDs 3.15
Completing a learning activity or accessing information for a course using course management systems 2.48
Using a university library resource to complete a class assignment 2.46
Playing computer games 2.39
Creating spreadsheets or charts (Excel) 2.07
Online shopping 2.06
Creating presentations (PowerPoint) 1.82
Creating graphics (Photoshop, Flash) 1.79
Creating Web pages (Dreamweaver, FrontPage) 1.39
Creating and editing video/audio (Director, iMovie) 1.34


*Scale: 1 = do not use, 2 = less than an hour, 3 = 1–2 hours, 4 = 3–5 hours, 5 = 6–10 hours, 6 = 11 or more hours

These findings are supported by the qualitative data. When interviewed, students reported making heavy use of a computer for communication, but that was secondary to their use of the computer for schoolwork.

We found that the highest computer use was in support of academic activities and that presentation software was driven primarily by the requirements of the students' major and the curriculum. Students reported strong use and skill levels in support of communications and entertainment. As one student commented, "I would feel very disconnected and lost if my laptop and cell phone were taken away from me. However, had I never been introduced to them, I may not rely on them as much as I do now. Still, I believe they are very useful tools, especially for communication."

Factors that explain hours of use fall into the following categories: academic requirements, class status, gender, and age. Academic usage is strongly related to the student's academic major and class status (senior/freshman). Communications and entertainment are very much related to gender and age.

The significance of student major is supported by both survey data and findings from the qualitative interviews. From student interviews, a picture emerged of student technology use driven by the demands of the major and the classes that students take. Seniors reported spending more time overall on a computer than do freshmen, and they reported greater use of a computer at a place of employment. Seniors spent more hours on the computer each week in support of their educational activities and also more time on more advanced applications—spreadsheets, presentations, and graphics.

Men, and especially the youngest men in our sample, were more likely to spend more hours playing computer games, surfing the Net, and downloading music. Women spend more time communicating. Confirming what parents suspect, students with the lowest grade point averages (GPAs) spend significantly more time playing computer games; students with the highest GPAs spend more hours weekly using the computer in support of classroom activities. At the University of Minnesota, Crookston, students spent the most hours on the computer in support of classroom activities. This likely reflects the deliberate design of the curriculum to use a laptop extensively. In summary, the curriculum's technology requirements are major motivators for students to learn to use specialized software.