Office for Information Technology

Tech Use Evolution

Each time we run the survey the first-year and sophomore respondents are answering it for the first time. By comparing one survey’s first-year’s or sophomore’s answers to another survey’s first-year’s or sophomore’s answers respectively we can look for trends in how the general technology landscape is changing.

As we conduct the survey each time the set of questions we ask evolves, depending on what we need to know for upcoming projects (e.g. when we ran the first survey we had a major phone project impending and needed to know how many students had/used their land-lines), depending on answers from previous surveys (e.g. since mobile phones reached 100% penetration in 2009 we’ve changed that area of questioning to be more about what kind of phone people have and how they use it), and depending on new technology (e.g. in 2012 we started asking about tablets). As a result, the items covered on this page don’t necessarily match exactly with the questions on any given survey, and sometimes data for a given survey are derived rather than being explicitly asked. With all that in mind, here’s what we know about how the use of technology is changing:


Phones

Has a land line phone

There is a clear and strong trend away from having a land line phone. As of the 2013 survey we stopped asking whether a student has a land line.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY 67% 30% 12% 12% 0% -
So 54% 21% 0% 4% 0% -

Has a cell phone

There is a clear and strong trend for having a cell phone. The campus had 100% (plus or minus survey margin of error) cell use by 2009. The question going forward is less about whether a student has a phone and more about what it can do (e.g. can browse the web, or run apps, or just make and receive calls).

These results may be skewed by the fact that the surveys are web-based – it’s not at all unlikely that a potential respondant that doesn’t have a phone is also less likely to answer a web-based survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY 88% 96% 100% 100% 100% 100%
So 92% 99% 100% 100% 100% 100%

What kind of cell phone

Has a smart phone (i.e. one capable of accessing the web and/or running apps)

This number has implications for the questions about how the phone is used.

NOTE: the definition of a smart phone shifts over time – a ‘smart’ feature in 2009 might be a basic feature in 2012.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 20% 27% 63% 94%
So - - 10% 23% 70% 87%

First-year

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2012 2013
Simple/basic - - 80% 73% 37% 3%
iPhone - - 8% 8% 46% 75%
Blackberry - - 12% 12% 14% 0%
Palm/Trio - - 2% 4% 0% 0%
Windows - - 0% 4% 0% 0%
Android - - - 0% 9% 19%
Other smartphone - - 6% 0% 0% 0%

Sophomore

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Simple/basic - - 90% 77% 27% 18%
iPhone - - 4% 14% 47% 73%
Blackberry - - 4% 7% 10% 5%
Palm/Trio - - 0% 0% 0% 0%
Windows - - 2% 0% 0% 0%
Android - - - 2% 13% 9%
Other smartphone - - 0% 4% 0% 0%

Combined first-year and sophomore

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Simple/basic - - 85% 76% 32% 9%
iPhone - - 6% 12% 46% 74%
Blackberry - - 8% 9% 12% 2%
Palm/Trio - - 1% 1% 0% 0%
Windows - - 1% 1% 0% 0%
Android - - - 1% 11% 15%
Other smartphone - - 3% 2% 0% 0%

How the cell phone is used

We did not ask about this on the 2006 survey.

The question allows a respondant to choose multiple answers, so the percentages often won’t add to 100% (and if they do, it’s just a coincidence). The percentages are the porportion of the respondants of that class that answered that question.

The answers here are also greatly influenced by the capabilities of the phone that the respondant has. Since we ask about using it for phone calls every person that has a phone at all can answer yes to that. The items that require more advanced phone features (e.g. email) will be capped at roughly the percent of people that have smart phones (see the previous item). It’s also worth noting that the definition of a ‘smart phone’ changes over time – what was a smart phone feature in 2009 might in 2012 be considered a part of a basic/simple phone.

Text messaging

Since we’re interested in function more than how it’s implemented, this item combines SMS and any other text-based chat tool (e.g. AIM, gChat, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 93% 100% 88% 97% %100
So - 90% 98% 96% 96% %100

Email

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 9% 22% 27% 63% 90%
So - 6% 8% 20% 54% 79%

Taking pictures

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 72% 71% 69% 63% 93%
So - 53% 62% 64% 93% 95%

Sharing/sending pictures

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 29% 45% 42% 38% 47%
So - 29% 42% 51% 36% 63%

Looking at pictures

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 31% 39% 42% 59% 87%
So - 26% 20% 36% 68% 69%

Watching video

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 8% 16% 19% 41% 47%
So - 5% 4% 11% 36% 42%

Recording video

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 11% 16% 19% 41% 57%
So - 8% 6% %<15/td> 54% 79%

Listening to music

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 6% 20% 31% 47% 90%
So - 7% 10% 20% 50% 74%

Web browsing

NOTE: we did not ask about general web browsing on the 2013 survey

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 9% 20% 31% 40% -
So - 7% 6% 24% 38% -

Calendar/scheduling

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 25% 49% 31% 63% 73%
So - 18% 30% 40% 61% 65%

GPS

This is probably pretty tightly linked to phone capabilities and general GPS system capabilities.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 3% 10% 27% 47% 80%
So - 5% 6% 9% 61% 84%

Blogging

We didn’t ask about blogging specifically on the 2013 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - 1% 2% 4% 3% -
So - 1% 0% 2% 12% -

Games

We didn’t ask about games on the 2008 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 32% 35% 23% 63%
So - - 18% 22% 8% 53%

Games

We didn’t ask about games on the 2008 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 32% 35% 23% 63%
So - - 18% 22% 8% 53%

Video call

We didn’t ask about video calls before the 2012 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - 94% 50%
So - - - - 89% 68%

new in 2013

As of 2013 we added several new categories of use

Read (ebooks, PDFs, etc.)

We didn’t ask about reading before the 2013 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - - 40%
So - - - - - 37%

Write

We didn’t ask about writing before the 2013 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - - 13%
So - - - - - 11%

Take Notes

We didn’t ask about taking notes before the 2013 survey.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - - 17%
So - - - - - 11%

Computers

The data in this section is presented in a slightly different format. The answers are indicated in the rows, and there are three separate tables: one first-year only, one sophomore only, and one combined first-year and sophomore.

In some years we asked about netbooks and hand-helds/palmtops, but the answers were never above 0, so they’ve been excluded from this summary.

This single biggest trend this reveals is the shift from Windows to Mac. Also, laptops continue to slowly whittle away at the few remaining desktops.

Starting in 2012 we changed this question a bit – instead of forcing respondents to rank their devices (primary, secondary, etc.) we ask about frequency of use. A device is then counted as ‘primary’ if its use at least once a day or more. This means that the totals starting in 2012 can be higher than 100% (e.g. if someone has a laptop they use daily and a tablet they use hourly).

Starting in 2013 we added e-reader to the list of device types. We also started including listing for lab machines (mac and windows desktops).

First-year

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
NO COMPUTER 1% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Windows desktop 6% 3% 6% 4% 3% 6%
Windows laptop 60% 55% 44% 38% 15% 22%
Mac desktop 3% 2% 0% 0% 0% 3%
Mac laptop 29% 40% 50% 54% 76% 72%
lab machine – windows - - - - - 9%
lab machine – mac - - - - - 22%
Linux desktop 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Linux laptop 0% 0% 0% 4% 0% 0%
- - - - - - -
Tablet - - - - 6% 13%
e-reader - - - - - 9%
Total desktop 9% 4% 6% 4% 3% 9%
Total laptop 90% 95% 94% 96% 91% 94%
- - - - - - -
Total Windows 67% 57% 50% 42% 15% 38%
Total Mac 32% 42% 50% 54% 79% 97%
Total Linux 0% 0% % 4% 0% 0%

Sophomore

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
NO COMPUTER 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Windows desktop 13% 3% 0% 2% 3% 5%
Windows laptop 57% 54% 40% 43% 10% 36%
Mac desktop 2% 1% 2% 0% 3% 5%
Mac laptop 26% 41% 54% 54% 77% 64%
Linux desktop 0% 0% 0% 0% 3% 0%
Linux laptop 2% 1% 4% 2% 7% 0%
- - - - - - -
Tablet - - - - 7% 32%
e-reader - - - - - 14%
Total desktop 14% 4% 2% 2% 10% 9%
Total laptop 83% 95% 98% 98% 93% 100%
- - - - - - -
Total Windows 69% 57% 40% 45% 13% 54%
Total Mac 28% 42% 56% 54% 80% 82%
Total Linux 2% 1% 4% 2% 10% 0%

Combined first-year and sophomore

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
NO COMPUTER 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Windows desktop 9% 3% 3% 2% 2% 6%
Windows laptop 59% 54% 42% 41% 13% 28%
Mac desktop 2% 2% 1% 0% 3% 4%
Mac laptop 28% 41% 52% 54% 77% 69%
Linux desktop 0% 0% 0% 0% 2% 0%
Linux laptop 1% 0% 2% 2% 3% 0%
- - - - - - -
Tablet - - - - 6% 20%
e-reader - - - - - 11%
Total desktop 11% 4% 4% 2% 6% 9%
Total laptop 87% 95% 96% 98% 92% 96%
- - - - - - -
Total Windows 68% 57% 45% 44% 14% 44%
Total Mac 30% 42% 53% 54% 80% 90%
Total Linux 1% 0% 2% 2% 5% 0%

Internet

The question allows a respondent to choose multiple answers, so the percentages often won’t add to 100% (and if they do, it’s just a coincidence). The percentages are the proportion of the respondents of that class that answered that question.

The results are group into 4 categories: Communication, Creative/productive, Entertainment, and Personal. However, these groupings provide only a very general perspective / guide – one could argue that participating in a forum is more about Creation/production for some people, and Entertainment for others.

Starting in 2013 we split this question by technology type (phone, tablet, or laptop/desktop) and asked users to mark all that applied. For the purposes of this longitudinal work we’re simply counting the highest value from those categories, on the assumption that most of the time a person will be performing the same action on multiple devices – this may lead to slight under-counting and we might have to shift this methodology in the future.

Communication

Social-site messaging

NOTE: we stopped asking about this specifically in 2012 – this is covered in the more general Social Networking section just below.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 86% 80% - -
So - - 82% 84% - -

Social networking

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 71% 84% 93% 100%
So - - 54% 64% 88% 94%

Professional networking

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - -% -% 17% 13%
So - - -% -% 27% 55%

Direct Communication (chat, voice call, video call)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 76% 64% 80% 93%
So - - 62% 61% 81% 89%

LEGACY: Participating in email lists / groups

NOTE: as of 2013 we combined the question about email lists and forums – we’re more interested in the activity of online discussion than the specific tech used to achieve that).

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 27% 24% - -
So - - 32% 61% - -

LEGACY: Participating in forums / discussion boards

NOTE: as of 2013 we combined the question about email lists and forums – we’re more interested in the activity of online discussion than the specific tech used to achieve that).

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 14% 20% 60% -
So - - 20% 13% 58% -

Online discussion (participating in forums / discussion boards / email lists)

NOTE: as of 2013 we combined the question about email lists and forums – we’re more interested in the activity of online discussion than the specific tech used to achieve that). The earlier data from when the questions were separate is combined below – the composite for email list + forum use is: the larger plus 1/2 the smaller.

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 34% 34% 60% 70%
So - - 42% 68% 58% 78%

Creative/productive

Publishing images (e.g. flickr, picasa, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 20% 36% 63% 63%
So - - 24% 23% 75% 84%

Publishing your writing / blogging

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 12% 0% 13% 7%
So - - 10% 13% 31% 11%

Micro-blogging (e.g. status updates, twitter, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 16% 20% 23% 30%
So - - 12% 21% 31% 56%

Publishing videos (e.g. youtube, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 8% 0% 50% 17%
So - - 6% 5% 50% 26%

Contributing knowledge (e.g. wiki editing, book reviews, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 8% 4% 50% 50%
So - - 2% 4% 58% 56%

Document sharing (e.g. slideshare, dropbox, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 10% 12% 63% 70%
So - - 22% 16% 69% 61%

Office tools (e.g. google docs, etc.)

NOTE: starting in 2013 we split Office Tools into a question separate from Document Sharing – data from before that will be identical from one to the other

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 10% 12% 63% 93%
So - - 22% 16% 69% 83%

Entertainment

Passive entertainment (e.g. watching videos, reading comics, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 84% 80% 91% 97%
So - - 92% 88% 89% 89%

Active entertainment (e.g. games)

2006 2008 2009 2010 20122013
FY - - 39% 52% 47% 33%
So - - 42% 36% 27% 33%

Personal

Calendaring / scheduling

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 18% 24% 47% %
So - - 24% 18% 61% %

Reading / watching news

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 78% 88% 90% 77%
So - - 78% 80% 88% 94%

Managing projects

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 6% 4% - -
So - - 2% 4% - -

Personal journaling

%

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 4% 0% - -
So - - 10% - -

Academic / College

Research

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - 74% 88% 93% 100%
So - - 82% 88% 81% 94%

Course work / Glow

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - 97% 93%
So - - - - 92% 100%

Formal / professional / academic writing

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - 77% 77%
So - - - - 73% 89%

College info (e.g. facility hours, game times, etc.)

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
FY - - - - 93% 97%
So - - - - 85% 89%

Social networking

First-year

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Facebook - - - 75% 100% 100%
Myspace - - - 29% 0% 0%
Friendster - - - 4% 0% 0%
LinkedIn - - - 4% 9% 6%
LiveJournal - - - 13% 0% 0%
Google+ - - - - 24% 34%

Sophomore

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Facebook - - - 43% 97% 100%
Myspace - - - 22% 3% 0%
Friendster - - - 9% 0% 0%
LinkedIn - - - 6% 14% 29%
LiveJournal - - - 31% 0% 0%
Google+ - - - - 14% 5%

Combined first-year and sophomore

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Facebook - - - 53% 98% 100%
Myspace - - - 24% 2% 0%
Friendster - - - 8% 0% 0%
LinkedIn - - - 5% 11% 15%
LiveJournal - - - 26% 0% 0%
Google+ - - - - 19% 23%

Email

As of 2012 we stopped asking about how often email was checked (it was always checked at least 1/day, and mostly more often) and instead focused on how students prefer to communicate with various population / categories of information. In the interests of saving space and making this more comprehensible the data shown here is for combined First-year and Sophomores (no split-out shown).

from Friends

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Phone call - - - - 55% 57%
Text/SMS - - - - 83% 96%
Email - - - - 28% 30%
Social site message - - - - 52% 46%
Hard-copy / paper - - - - 13% 7%

from Family

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Phone call - - - - 83% 83%
Text/SMS - - - - 55% 57%
Email - - - - 55% 50%
Social site message - - - - 8% 15%
Hard-copy / paper - - - - 13% 13%

from Classmates

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Phone call - - - - 13% 13%
Text/SMS - - - - 61% 69%
Email - - - - 81% 78%
Social site message - - - - 34% 33%
Hard-copy / paper - - - - 5% 4%

from the college – academic

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Phone call - - - - 0% 0%
Text/SMS - - - - 0% 2%
Email - - - - 98% 96%
Social site message - - - - 2% 4%
Hard-copy / paper - - - - 17% 17%

from the college – administrative

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Phone call - - - - 0% 0%
Text/SMS - - - - 2% 6%
Email - - - - 95% 100%
Social site message - - - - 3% 0%
Hard-copy / paper - - - - 17% 15%

from the college – social / campus life

2006 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013
Phone call - - - - 0% 2%
Text/SMS - - - - 6% 11%
Email - - - - 95% 81%
Social site message - - - - 45% 56%
Hard-copy / paper - - - - 14% 6%

 


LEGACY DATA

 

Primary email account

First-year

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Williams - 87% 65% 54% -
Google - - 22% 31% -
Hotmail - - 4% 8% -
Yahoo - - 4% 4% -
Other - 13% 4% 4% -

Sophomore

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Williams - 93% 74% 79% -
Google - - 24% 16% -
Hotmail - - 0% 4% -
Yahoo - - 2% 0% -
Other - 7% 0% 2% -

Combined first-year and sophomore

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Williams - 91% 70% 71% -
Google - - 23% 21% -
Hotmail - - 3% 5% -
Yahoo - - 2% 1% -
Other - 9% 2% 2% -

Check email how often

First-year

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Many times per day - - 69% 62% 89%
Few times per day - - 31% 35% 11%
Every few days - - 0% 4% 0%
Weekly - - 0% 0% 0%
Rarely - - 0% 0% 0%

Sophomore

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Many times per day - - 84% 80% 93%
Few times per day - - 16% 20% 7%
Every few days - - 0% 0% 0%
Weekly - - 0% 0% 0%
Rarely - - 0% 0% 0%

Combined first-year and sophomore

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
Many times per day - - 77% 74% 91%
Few times per day - - 23% 24% 9%
Every few days - - 0% 1% 0%
Weekly - - 0% 0% 0%
Rarely - - 0% 0% 0%

Williams-specific

NOTE: this question was removed as of 2013

Uses Williams-provided network storage space (Achilles)

  2006 2008 2009 2010 2012
FY - 32% 37% 4% -
So - 68% 63% 96% -