According to survey results released by the Economic & Social Research Council, being "tech savvy" is a complex description that does not only cover using a laptop and a smartphone anymore. And by that definition, there are apparently significant gaps, especially between generations and between students and teachers.
The study, which covered more than 2,000 first year students at five English universities, found that a mobile phone is the most common tech equipment today, with 97.8 percent of all students claiming to own such a device. 83.2 percent of all students also mentioned the cell phone as the as the device they would miss most if they did not have access to it. 77.4 percent said they owned a laptop and 38.1 percent owned a desktop computer.
70.1 percent of students said that their ability to access a computer was enough to "meet their computing needs".
Engagement in social networking is now also included in the tech savvy category and it is clear that it is an activity that has its traction among younger students. 95.7 percent of students aged 20 and younger have used social networking, while only 21.5 percent of those 35 and older have done so. Interestingly, however, younger students do not necessarily use access to new technologies to enhance their learning ability. The study found that they use information and communication technologies for social life and leisure more often while older students were more likely to use them for study purposes.
Also, despite the fact that the praised new world of mobile devices would enable students to learn anywhere and anyplace, they still study in the same places they did decades ago: They continue to study in their bedrooms, the university library or other dedicated study spaces, the study found.
The least likely tech engagement areas were contributing to blogs (21.5 percent) and wikis (12.1 percent) or participating in a virtual world (2 percent).