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The Multiple Apps and Devices of Swiss Freshmen University Students


World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning,


Over the past decade mobile learning has dramatically changed with the widespread acceptance and ownership of smartphones. Given the speed of these changes and the lack of data, the scale of the mobile devices' impact on educational institutions is hard to estimate. As topics such as multimodal learning appear in the scientific discourse, universities continue to struggle in understanding the changing digital landscape of digital natives. Different to previous research and market studies, this paper focuses not only on smartphone ownership, but includes the parallel use of different devices. The analysis grounds on surveying five consecutive cohorts in the same study program of a Swiss university. The paper provides an overview on the changing device ecologies as new technologies reach the mass markets. The observations show the broad role of digital technologies for students and that the parallel use of several devices is not science fiction for many of them: A majority of students reported to own and use several mobile devices at the same time. However, over the years we can observe subtle changes in this device ecology as new device types enter the mass market and become affordable to students. Although the scope of this study is limited and one cannot generalise the findings to other study programs or institutions, the findings provide valuable insights for further research on leveraging bring-your-own-device strategies in higher education.


Glahn, C. & Gruber, M.R. (2019). The Multiple Apps and Devices of Swiss Freshmen University Students. In Proceedings of World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2019 (pp. 13-20). Retrieved April 5, 2020 from .