The majority of students in the DIGE focus groups ranked mobile phones among the ‘essential’ tools in their lives, and several owned a smartphone.
Students reported that they used smartphones in a variety of ways and that smartphones were central to their lives: ‘I would forget everything without it,’ said one student. Uses for smartphones included reading emails (but less for writing or sending them), checking Facebook, synchronising calendars, and communicating via messaging tools such as Whatsapp.
Many students reported that the first thing they did on opening their eyes each morning was to check their emails on their smartphones. One student told us she had even used her smartphone as a wireless hot spot to connect her tablet PC to the internet when her college’s wireless service was not working.
Another student described how he would use his phone to photograph the whiteboard during tutorials, instead of taking notes, and would later share those photos on Facebook with his peers.