The Digital Revolution and Higher Education
As online college courses are becoming more prevalent, the public is skeptical about their educational value. Only 29% of Americans say online classes are equal in value to classes taken in person. College presidents have a more positive view of online learning and they foresee dramatic growth in this area.
35% of American Adults Own a Smartphone
Smartphones have captured a significant share of the cellphone market in the U.S. and a quarter of owners say they go on line mostly using their device.
E-reader Ownership Doubles in Six Months
The share of U.S. adults who own an e-book reader — such as Kindle or Nook — doubled to 12% in May 2011 from 6% in November 2010. This is the first time that ownership of this device has reached double digits among adults.
Internet Phone Calls
After years of modest activity, online phone calling has taken off as a quarter of American adult internet users (24%) have placed phone calls online. That amounts to 19% of all American adults.
Latinos and Digital Technology
Latinos are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone. However, Hispanics and whites with similar socioeconomic characteristics have similar usage patterns for these technologies.
Generations and Gadgets
While many tech devices have become popular across generations, Millennials are by far the most likely group not only to own most gadgets, but also to take advantage of a wider range of functions on those devices.
Generations Online in 2010
Even in online pursuits still dominated by Millennials — such as social networking use — older generations are making notable gains.
Global Publics Embrace Social Networking
Although still a relatively young technology, social networking is already a global phenomenon. A 22-nation survey finds that in regions around the world, people who use the internet are using it for social networking. Cell phone ownership and computer usage are also increasingly popular across the globe.
The Better-Off Online
Some 95% of Americans who live in households earning $75,000 or more a year use the internet at least occasionally, compared with 70% of those in households with less income. Even among all internet users, the well-off are more likely to own and use various types of technology.
The cell phone — by a wide margin — is the most commonly owned piece of personal technology. Three-quarters of the public own a computer and nearly half own an mp3 player, while e-books remain a niche item. The average adult owns three of the seven gadgets asked about in the survey.