Freshmen are Mobile, Social, and Always Connected

Results of the 2015 Freshmen Technology Survey are in and they confirm that our first year students are indeed part of Generation Z: Connected from Birth.  We surveyed incoming students during the summer orientation session and received over 500 responses.


Devices and phones students are bringing to campusStudents can access the internet anywhere they can get a signal.

  • 99% of students responding reported that they would bring a smart phone to campus
  • 91% are bringing a laptop
  • 41% are bringing tablets


Students use the internet to connect with information but even more to connect with each other, increasingly over video.

  • 90% use the web for social media
  • 66% use FaceTime
  • 50% use Skype

Top Social Media?

The two leading social media tools–Snapchat and Instagram–focus on instantaneous, impermanent communication.

  • Snapchat: 82%
  • Instagram: 81%
  • Facebook: 69%
  • Twitter: 59%

While our students are comfortable using technology for socializing and accessing information, they are less practiced at using it for creation, academic purposes, and productivity.  As this year’s first-year students make the transition to college, we–their instructors and university staff–will need to help them partner with technology to create, to solve problem, and to manage their personal and academic projects.

What’s Next?

When asked what new technologies most interested them, the clear winner was 3D printing at 57%, with wearable tech (like the fitbit) coming in at 51%.  Looks like those TLTR pilots are coming just in time.

What new technologies most interest students

Full Results

See full results of our 2015 Freshmen Technology Survey in our infographic, created by SEU Senior Elyssa Turner.  Questions covered include how students prefer to communicate with instructors, as well as how they take notes, write papers, and keep to do lists: FreshmanTechSurvery_2015_finalupdate

Freshman Technology Survey Infographic Thumbnail
Click the image for larger version


And compare this year’s answers with those from last year: 2014 Freshman Technology Survey

About Rebecca Davis

Rebecca Frost Davis Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology Rebecca Frost Davis joined St. Edward’s in July 2013 as Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology, where she provides leadership in the development of institutional vision with respect to the use of technology in pursuit of the university’s educational mission and collaborates with offices across campus to create and execute strategies to realize that vision. Instructional Technology helps faculty transform and adapt new digital methods in teaching and research to advance the essential learning outcomes of liberal education. Previously, Dr. Davis served as program officer for the humanities at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), where she also served as associate director of programs. Prior to her tenure at NITLE, she was the assistant director for instructional technology at the Associated Colleges of the South Technology Center and an assistant professor of classical studies at Rhodes College, Denison University, and Sewanee: The University of the South. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. (summa cum laude) in classical studies and Russian from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Davis is also a fellow with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). As a NITLE Fellow, Dr. Davis will develop a literature review relevant to intercampus teaching, which will cover contextual issues such as team-teaching, teaching through videoconferencing, and collaboration; a survey of intercampus teaching at NITLE member institutions; and several case studies of intercampus teaching at liberal arts colleges, including interviews with faculty, students, support staff, and administrators. This work will be summarized in a final report or white paper to be published by NITLE. At Rebecca Frost Davis: Liberal Education in a Networked World, ( Dr. Davis blogs about the changes wrought by new digital methods on scholarship, networking, and communication and how they are impacting the classroom. In her research, she explores the motivations and mechanisms for creating, integrating, and sustaining digital humanities within and across the undergraduate curriculum.
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