In recent years, the use of smartphones has quickly evolved from a nice-to-have to an existential necessity in an increasingly busy, connected world. We are driven by a need, not only to have access to knowledge/information on the go, but even study and work without being constrained to device accessibility in specific places. We simply want it all, when and where we want.
It is small wonder then that students, millennials and mature-age alike, all over the world have embraced this evolution with open arms. After all, they are busy and the access to knowledge means do or die in their worlds.
With this growing usage of mobile phones by students, it has become an imperative for educational institutions to cater to their “customers” by integrating mobile technology into their communication strategies. Effectively they need to take their institutions to student mobile devices and consequently their fingertips. Instant gratification maybe, but it is also effective, real-time communication providing real-time results and higher productivity.
By fall 2015, 83 percent of colleges and universities in the US had activated mobile apps or planned to implement them in the coming academic year. As time passes, more join these ranks.
According to a national report conducted by Pearson on student mobile device usage, ownership of smart phones and tablets among college students rose significantly last year while there was a comparative drop in ownership of laptop computers.
*as of March 31, 2015. A report by EDUCAUSE
Benefits to schools of an integrated mobile strategy:
Ease of use
Smartphones have evolved from their initial “status symbol” positioning to simply becoming an important access point for service, engagement and learning. Today’s students are dependent on their smart phones not just for calling, but also for text, email, social media or accessing information through their browsers throughout their day. Levels of student mobile device usage are rising by the day. In this “always connected” world, the opportunity for schools to seize is to scale up and integrate their student communication strategies, making them mobile-centric. Give the students information, ask for timely completion of tasks through notifications and interact with them all through their mobile device. Make it easy and time-efficient for them to not just comply, but actually achieve necessary outcomes for themselves and for their schools.
Each school has a unique culture and a vision for brand communication that shouts about its personality, giving the institution an edge in an increasingly competitive market. Schools also have a set of processes, procedures, and services that work for them. Choosing the right mobile technology to suit their specific needs will maximize required results. The mobile app should, along with college-branding, possess the ability to including features that facilitate navigation of campus systems, providing portals to information, integrate individualized communication between staff and student population, develop strong communities and more to enhance the student-staff experience. The app should be configurable and scalable to achieve this key outcome.
Mobile apps can provide the means to send out broad communications and alerts about campus events, and other highly time-sensitive information. New payment technologies will soon allow education-related payments like book purchases, tuition fees and even library fines to be paid using a smart phone app. Institutions can put information such as interactive campus maps, timetables, staff directories and access to course work etc. at students’ fingertips. Why waste the power of the human brain to simply tick a box, when technology, particularly mobile technology can gain us compliance?
Higher Ed institutions can not only get more productive, but can build a lean, enriched team that focuses less on simple compliance fire-fighting and more on building strong processes and getting better and better student and institution outcomes, taking their employers into the future ahead of the competition.
This is simply a start to what mobile technology can do for Higher Ed. We are thought-leaders in this field. Ask us how we can help you integrate your institution’s mobile communications strategy, providing real opportunity to effectively engage with future, current and past students.