Surprise: Even Today, Not All Students are Tech Savvy

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).

  • hoof_hearted
    Does ones ability to play Angry Birds count as tech savy?
  • burnley14
    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
    Learning and studying are two very different things. Libraries are places dedicated to read and study, peoples' desks and couches are where they study at home. The "new world of mobile devices" simply allows people to find information at other locations (i.e. learning), but doesn't provide new places to study.
  • lmychajluk
    Forget how to Twit or post pics on Facebook, I'd define "Tech Savvy" as anyone who can explain the basic principle behind the internal combustion engine.
  • monsta
    Students are more interested in posting pics of their awesomeness on Facebook with their phones , they don't need to be tech savvy to do that
  • apone
    - Honestly I'm not surprised. However in my experience, many people think they're tech savvy just because they have a Macbook and an iPhone and can't be bothered to learn and understand anything else in the technology world that isn't Apple-related. What also compounds the issue is that the Macbook and iPhone platforms offer a sense of perceived operational simplicity which contradicts the complexity of emerging technology.

    - Also let's face reality, most people think it's a bad thing to be labeled as a tech geek or nerd so the idea is to appear tech savvy but also look cool (ahem Apple) in order to be socially accepted.

  • Apple Troll Master
    I work for a Technology training company and deal with network engineers on a daily basis. "SOME" of these guys are Routing and Switching gurus but have NO computer skills what so ever...Baffles the hell out of me. Students are worse. JMO
  • drapacioli
    Naturally the library or dorm is still the best place to study; teachers still want book sources in all my reports, and you try studying anywhere else, it's too loud or you're likely to run into friends and lose your focus! You can't exactly study while waiting in line for your coffee, or while driving, or while doing anything that requires even the slightest attention.

    I would define a tech savvy student as one who knows their way around both Windows and Mac, Linux is a plus but is not required, as very few if any public computers utilize linux. Knowledge of MS office or a comparable suite is a must so you can create reports and projects. Basic knowledge of how to diagnose a broken or ill computer will save you a lot of money, and knowing how to perform upgrades will save you the trouble of buying a new machine in your senior year or in graduate school (as long as you bought a good one to begin with). Smartphones, meh. You don't use smartphones in class. Tablets are a joke, you can't take notes quickly and there's not enough screen real estate to do any proper work. Plus the app atmosphere does not fit well with productivity, it's just too casual. Also, know some basic video and audio editing for projects, and photoshop experience never hurts. You can really blow away your teachers when you create professional looking projects, posters, and videos.

    Those are the BASICS for surviving. If you want to excel, learn every part of your computer inside and out, learn to repair laptops (since you'll be using them. Grab an old junk laptop and take it apart, you'll learn fast that way). Keep up with new tech and software that might help you, and know your way around a DOS prompt. Do all this, and you may be able to make some money on the side fixing your "tech savvy" friends' computers.

    Social media does NOT make you tech savvy, anybody can figure out a facebook page if they try hard enough. And if they can't, they don't belong on a computer period.
  • fulle
    Insightful article. Almost all college students have a cell phone, computer, and use social media? How enlightening! And, it was a huge stunner to hear that they study in the library, their bedrooms, and dedicated study areas. That is quite strange.

    When I was in college, I had no phone, since I preferred to drop in on people unannounced instead. Facebook? Twitter? Heck no! I made people paper letters instead. Much more thoughtful. I didn't have a computer, because I preferred researching reports based off the 2 related books I could find in the local library. What kind of research requires more than the opinions of 2 books? None I say. And as far as typing something up and printing it? No way. I went to the dean to force all my teachers to accept my handwritten reports, written in cursive with black pen. Sure, it wasted an absurd amount of time hand writing the reports, instead of just typing them, but they looked so pretty and formal the old fashioned way... that I just had to go to the dean and be all like "INJUSTICE! Mah oppressive teachers are all telling me I must submit my work in .doc format! This is discrimination of some kind, and I sue!" And she was like: "Whatever, weirdo, fine."

    As far as where to study? I don't know about you guys, but I found studying in the middle of I-25 pretty relaxing. Just propped a chair up in the middle of the interstate there, tossed in some of my earbuds for my Sony Walkman, and just chillaxed, you know? Sure, I'd have to grip my books tight to make sure they don't get blown away by a passing vehicle, and occasionally I'd have to escape arrest for "endangering the public" and "criminal mischief".... but, where else was I supposed to study? My room?

  • jaber2
    You mean to tell me that being able to take a photo of my self while driving and posting it to my facebook while at same time making each stop for the riders on the bus is not considered tech savey? well I will need to update my resume then, after next stop.
  • dr1337
    jajajaja, "tech savvy" probably the majority of people that refer to themselves as "tech savvy" turn out not be as "savvy" as they thought they were.