The EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECARS) has an excellent research study out titled The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008. ECARS mission is to foster better decision making by conducting and disseminating research and analysis about the role and implications of information technology in higher education. ECAR systematically addresses many of the challenges brought more sharply into focus by information technologies (IT).
Here's the study abstract:
Key findings in the study focus on:
- Mobility: Laptops and Internet-Capable Cell Phones
- Computer and Internet Activities
- IT Skills and Internet Literacy
- IT in Courses
- Instructor Use of IT in Courses
- The Impact of IT in Courses
- The Digital Divide
- Social Networking Sites
- Students expect IT services to be available when they need them.
- Students actively use multiple modes of IT to communicate, socialize and stay connected with others.
- Students perceive themselves as net savvy and choose mobile technologies and the use of visual media.
- Students take advantage of web 2.0 technologies to express themselves in various ways on the Internet.
- Students prefer learning environments where IT services are balanced with other learning activities including face-to-face interactivity with faculty and other students in the classroom.