If higher education was a smartphone…

Using current statistics about Smartphone use in the United States (Mobile Industry Statistics, 2014; Pew Research Internet Project, 2014), let us imagine a world where the same numbers would apply to education.

– 90% of Americans would have earned a high school degree.

– 58% of Americans would have a college degree.

– 67% of Americans would find themselves learning even without being enrolled in a formal class.

– 44% of Americans would put their textbook next to their beds to make sure not to miss any important information.

– 29% of Americans would describe education as something that they cannot live without.

– Demographics would not play a significant role in distinguishing who does or does not benefit from education.

– 86% of Americans would use higher education to solve problems, make decisions, or help in emergency situations.

– 75% of Americans would bring their school work… to the bathroom!

– Each day, Americans would spend an average of 197 minutes educating themselves.

We would not be able to put education down. Imagine that: compulsive learning! Students waiting in line for days before the new semester would start. Students would even pay people to wait for them to make sure that they would not miss it!

Education would appear intimidating at first, but its intuitive use would make the instruction manual superfluous. There would be mass market success of education: after the 16% of the early users who simply “get it,” everyone would follow to the point that the next 68%, the mass, would wonder how they lived without it for so long! And the last 16% would follow, just because there would not be any alternative left…

What world would we have then?

We make decisions based on the world we know and not based on what the world really is. Nobody can know everything about the world, but everybody experiences it. If we could rely on education the same way we rely on smartphones to expand our knowledge, our skills, our connections and our confidence; if we could all expand the world we know, what would the world become then?


Mobile Industry Statistics. (2014). Mobile commerce and engagement stats. Retrieved from http://digby.com/mobile-statistics/

Pew Research Internet Project. (2014). Mobile technology fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor