Get To Know Your Moblearners

Just last night one of our circulation desk student workers was showing me her new Sidekick and explaining to me how it works and its various features. I still marvel at the student’s ability to text out a message so quickly with just two thumbs. We should expect to see more of our students with all types of handheld information devices. Digital mobility is a critical part of their lifestyle. They communicate and learn moving from place to place, and enlist an array of devices, primarily laptops and cellphones to facilitate their moblearning ways. At least this is according to new data from the 2006 Alloy College Explorer Study. According to the study students now own a record number of gadgets that “tether them to a sophisticated, wired campus where connectedness extends from the dorm room to the classroom and all points in between.” So in what ways are moblearners navigating their lives?:

  • 50% of students came to college with a laptop
  • Students spend 6.5 hours a week in social network sites
  • Students claim an average of 111 friends and 61% interact with people that are total strangers on the social network sites
  • 85% of students plug into MP3 devices frequently
  • Students spend 20 minutes each day sending and receiving text messages
  • Over 70% of all students use courseware and administrative tools in managing their academic existence
  • I don’t know about you but I am sometimes concerned that academic libraries are, to a significant degree, not ready for moblearners. By that I mean that our resources are far from ready to be used efficiently on the mobile devices that are dominating students’ lives. I know there are a few libraries out there that have experimented with delivering databases to the handheld device, but those seem few and far between. What I would really like to see are more traditional database aggregators developing their products for the small screen so that academic libraries can be a part of the mainstream mobile learning environment. We may also need to do more with texting as a communication channel. I suppose the saving grace of all this change is that there are abundant challenges for academic librarians as we navigate the road to relevancy. Having to adapt to moblearners and much more will keep us from growing complacent.

    3 thoughts on “Get To Know Your Moblearners”

    1. Just a thought-

      Content, Content, Content. Before a traditional library goes mobile, it should ask Why?. If it is simply because they feel they need to reach to the Gen Y or Millennials, they should start by looking at what they are accessing.

      Simply creating a database of content may not be useful on mobile devices. Instead, start small, an ezine (or mZine) that can be accessed in multiple formats.

      Get the association with mobile and the library connected first, then slowly introduce more functionality as the needs grow.


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