Mobile technology is on the minds of higher education professionals more than ever before. At the recent HighEdWeb conference in Austin, the itinerary included several ways schools can use social media, blogs and mobile technologies to better captivate its student body. And last week, hundreds of orientation professionals gathered in New Orleans for the National Orientation Directors Association annual conference, where they discussed how to engage with prospective students in modern and relevant ways — including mobile — to welcome the next freshman class.
It’s no mystery why: The latest numbers show 40% of teens plan on buying an iPhone within the next three months. In the last three years, the smartphone penetration rate among the 18-24 age demographic has risen by nearly a fifth. It’s not unreasonable to expect that nearly all of the Class of 2015 will have smartphones by the time they graduate. At the same time, nearly half of all college students are using their phones to access the mobile web.
There’s a recent debate about whether schools should create mobile apps or mobile websites. Either way, according to Dave Olsen, a web developer at West Virginia University, roughly 15% of colleges and universities even have a mobile website, much less an app or set of apps targeted to their prospective, current and/or alumni bodies.
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