From the Horizon Report 2010 Edition: “ The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Projects, a qualitative research project established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses within the next five years.” “ In each edition of the Horizon Report, six emerging technologies or practices are described that are likely to enter maintream use on campuses within three adoption horizons spread over the next one to five years.”
The 2010 edition of the Horizon report identifies “Mobile Computing” as one of these emerging technologies with a time-to-adoption horizon of one year or less.
One of the more recent studies we have about mobile internet use comes from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The July 2009 study titles “Wireless Internet Use” examines internet use across a range of wireless devices including wifi enabled laptops, cellphones and game consoles. The data is based on telephone interviews of 2253 adults conducted in March and April 2009.
The chart on the screen focuses on use of the internet on a handheld mobile device such as smartphones. The dark blue bar indicates the percentage of individuals surveyed who said they accesses the Internet YESTERDAY on a mobile device. The light blue bar indicates the percentage who have EVER accessed the internet. “ The rate at which Americans went online with their handheld on the typical day increased by 73% in the sixteen months between the 2007 and 2009 surveys. The measure for “ ever having used the internet on a handheld ” increased by 33% in that time frame.”
A little closer to home is the ECAR study of undergraduate students and Information Technology published in 2009. ECAR stands for the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. ECAR is a division of EDUCAUSE that has engaged in an ongoing survey of the “IT practices, preferences, preparedness, and performances of college students” since 2004. The most recent study was published last fall, and has a chapter examining the role of mobile technology in the lives of undergraduates.
The 2009 study surveyed over 27k students at 103 higher education institutions. Although the report covers a range of Information Technologies, the 2009 study dedicates a chapter to what they call “the Mobile Revolution”. The 2009 study asked the students questions about their ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices. I believe this study is likely the best source of information regarding mobile internet use on college campuses. Key finding: “More than half of respondents owned an Internet-cable handheld device and another 12% planned to purchase one in the next 12 months. About a third of respondents did not own such a decide and did not plan to purchase one in the next 12 months”.
If we dig a little deeper we find that about a third of respondents reporting owning and using the Internet from a handheld device, and of these, about 45% use it on a daily basis. One way of looking at this data is that just under 15% of the surveyed undergraduates are mobile Internet “power users”--meaning that they report using the Internet from a handheld device on a daily basis.
Opportunities for Mobile Enhanced Library Services and Collections Tito Sierra, NCSU Libraries JHU Libraries Assembly May 21, 2010
“ In the developed world, mobile computing has become an indispensable part of day-to-day life in the workforce, and a key driver is the increasing ease and speed with which it is possible to access the Internet from virtually anywhere in the world via the ever-expanding cellular network.”
“ I am writing to tell you that I think usage and therefore your impact will be minimal if you only have a mobile website. You need to port your website to apps for the Apple and Google App Store. People spend most of their time accessing data on the web through apps.”