In the past several years, the use of smart phones has quickly evolved from a fringe curiosity to an absolute necessity in today’s connected world. The impact and usage of mobile phones, especially smart phones, is prevalent among today’s student populations. Thus, it has become imperative for educational institutions, to integrate mobile technologies into their student communications plans and strategies.
As of fall 2014, 83 percent of colleges and universities in US had activated mobile apps or had planned to implement them in the coming academic year, according to the 2014 Campus Computing Survey. According to a 2014 national report conducted by Pearson on student mobile device usage, ownership of smart phones and tablets among college students rose significantly, compared to a drop in ownership of laptop computers.
Benefits to schools of an integrated mobile strategy:
1. Ease of use
The most immediate benefit to schools of an integrated mobile strategy is the chance to tap into the high level of mobile device usage among students. Smart phones have evolved from their initial “status symbol” positioning to becoming an important access point for service, engagement and learning. Today’s students are dependent on their smart phones for text, email, social media or calling throughout their day. In this “always connected” world, it is imperative that schools’ communication strategies be increasingly mobile-centric.
Each university has a unique set of culture, procedures, and services. As a result, each needs mobile apps that best suit their needs. The apps should be college-branded and contain features that facilitate navigation of campus systems and communications with staff.
3. Instant updates
Mobile apps can provide a way to send out broad communications about campus events, alerts, 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. on students’ fingertips.
Since mobile devices are always close at hand, a school’s mobile communications strategy provides an opportunity to effectively generate meaningful engagement with students throughout the lifecycle of prospects, enrolled students, and alumni.
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