A growing number of students and teachers possess and use laptops, smart phones or other portable communications systems for learning or working. This is the reason that Maastricht University started a project on Mobile Learning last April, in which several pilots will focus on how students and teachers can use their mobile devices for teaching and learning.
In addition to this the UM pays growing attention to education for new target groups (not attending a standard program). Teachers ask to use more flexible tools to enhance interaction between students and the teacher during face to face activities. Moreover, there is a movement to deploy (existing and new) functionality to support previously used “techniques” to support teaching and learning activities (think of concept mapping, CSCL, voting). It seems a trend to make use of mobile devices within and outside the walls of the institution.
The project focuses in 6 pilots on how mobile devices can be used to increase interaction within the education (both under-face education and online sessions) and what implications this has for teaching and learning, but also for creating a suitable infrastructure and support service. Results of the pilots and the project as a whole will be available in spring 2011.
From the sixth of October 2010 till the first of November a questionnaire was sent out to gather information about the diffusion and use of smart phones and laptop among the entire student population of Maastricht University.
Summary of survey results
52 % of the respondents own a smart phone, 48 % own a regular mobile phone. Apple is the most popular smart phone brand university wide. As an exception at FHML-Health Sciences HTC is the most popular brand. iPhone Os is the most popular smart phone platform, followed by Android and Blackberry Os.
78 % of the smart phoning owning students have a data subscription for internet access. Almost all, 95 %, have WIFI on their smart phone.
Texting and making phone calls are by far the most used features of the smart phone. Some features with potential for educational uses are also used by many smart phoning students; Internet access (91 %), e-mail (81 %), Social Networking (79 %) and Chatting (IM) (50 %). Even watching video (49 %) and Reading/editing documents (39 %) are quite popular.
94 % of the smart phone students indicate they would use university e-mail on their phone, which is already possible. It is unknown how many students already make use of the university e-mail on their smart phone. Other services that are very likely to be used are Class schedules/Time tables (81 %), EleUM Announcements (64 %) and EleUM Courses/Organizational content (57 %). Less popular but still likely to be used services include University/Events Calendar, Library – Free Computers/Workplaces and a Course Catalog.
96 % of the respondents own a laptop. Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system (76 %), followed by Apple Mac Os (22 %). Firefox is the most used as a browser by the laptop owning students (42 %), followed by Google Chrome (21 %) and Internet Explorer (19 %).
76 % of the laptop owning students bring their laptops to the University. Of the students that bring their laptop 94 % make use of the wireless network. The most popular place to use the laptop is within the library (92 %). 51 % of those that bring their laptop use it in the tutorial groups.
The full report can be downloaded here