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The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Mobile May Replace Computers by 2020

Forty-two percent of Black Friday shoppers placed their orders via smartphone this year, while 49% used a laptop or desktop computer, according to Fortune magazine. That marks the first time computers accounted for less than half of all online orders made the day after Thanksgiving.

As mobile gains on the shopping front, the same is happening in the classroom. Although students still prefer laptops to mobile devices, that preference may tip in mobile’s favor in as little as three years if ownership trends and technological advances continue at their current pace, according to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

In 2010, 88% of U.S. adults aged 18-29 owned a computer, but that number had dropped to 78% by 2015. At the same time, smartphone ownership in that age group surged from zero in 2010 to 86% by 2015, and tablet ownership shot from 5% to 50% over the same period. As mobile devices become capable of doing more things that computers do, they are likely to supplant them as devices of choice.

The iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion chip is reportedly 120 times faster than the original iPhone chip, and by 2018, smartphones are forecast to be able to handle 4K streaming and virtual reality. Phones’ current shortcomings regarding connectivity and storage will diminish as tech advances, but some analysts believe that the digitally connected Internet of Things may ultimately replace both PCs/laptops and mobile devices.

In the meantime, expect to see mobile make significant inroads as classroom technology, which means school districts and higher-ed institutions need to ensure their resources are mobile-friendly. Educators may also need to modify their teaching methods, in some cases serving less as instructor and more as facilitator of students’ self-directed learning efforts.

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