FIT stands for Fluent with Information Technology. It’s a term used to describe a person’s understanding of IT, its productive use, its necessity and its advancement.
There was a time where universities might establish so called FITness centers and design technology use courses to teach about computers and make the new generation of students ready for the digital age. That time has passed.
Today’s students are connected, collaborative, and online. Their use of technological devices is as natural to them as using desks or chairs. Almost all students own at least two electronic devices and consider their laptops critical to their academic success. For universities, it’s no longer a matter of preparing students for an increasingly technological world: Technology is their everyday life. It’s a matter of adapting to their need of creating a connection between their fast-paced and digital reality and their university life.
FIT inside and outside of class
Nearly nine in 10 students reported in a study that it was important to them that the institution they applied for was technologically savvy. Understanding how students use technology could help more universities overcome the gap between expected and provided digital tools.
99% of American college students own a laptop and 99.9% own a smartphone. Especially laptops are viewed as essential. They use their laptops and smartphones for different things: laptops are used for a lot of classroom and home studying activities, such as statistical analyses, writing projects and papers, finding research articles, watching educational videos and immersing in eBooks and online journals. Smartphones are used for campus and course information, communication and news. The devices are also often used simultaneously, as mobile devices foster collaboration and multitasking. They listen to music while studying, they communicate with their study group while writing projects and they stream new series while editing videos. In other words, they’re used to things happening fast and conveniently.
Implementing more digital teaching and learning tools is a good way to accommodate your students’ needs and lifestyle. However, 97% of students reported that technologies that support them outside of class are just as important as the ones used in class. They want technology that makes them feel more emotionally connected to their institution and more involved in campus life.
You can’t go wrong with digital tools
In a survey of digital tools that aid learning and overall university life, students were overwhelmingly positive about every single tool. We have to remember that studying is hard. Studying while also adapting to a new home, new surroundings, new people, new structures, new responsibilities is very hard. Particularly freshmen feel vulnerable at the beginning. In fact, 28% of students drop out before they even become a sophomore. Some of them can’t find the right balance between working and studying, some choose different schools and some are simply overwhelmed by their new life. When institutions connect with students on an emotional level, it makes the transition easier and supports long-term loyalty.
A centralized university app is one way to help students connect with their institution. It provides information about courses, notifies and informs about university events, shows individual calendars and lays the foundation for data-driven personalization. Overall, campus apps make the transition easier and encourages involvement - and it’s a great way for your university to brand itself and show future enrollees that you care about their needs. If you incorporate a digital wayfinding tool in your app, you’re already one step ahead because that means that you understand their main troubles as well as their technological ways.
Do you remember how it felt to start a new class in a new building? And you know that the class is in room 1.127 in building B, but the large paper map in the main cantina only shows building B1 and B2 and no room numbers above 1.111? It’s confusing. It’s stressful. And it’s not a great start, neither for the student nor for their impression of your institution’s level of tech-forwardness. Our indoor navigation solution, MapsIndoors, is built with Google Maps, which makes it a perfect fit for university campuses that often consist of several different large buildings across the university area. Our solution lets your students navigate outdoors and indoors seamlessly.
Today, the question is not whether your students are FIT. Trust us, they are. The question is whether your university is fit for your students’ increasing demand for accessible and engaging digital tools.
Want to know more? Check out our solution designed for universities and read the showcase of our solution for City, University of London.