Technology's role in the classroom grows larger every academic year, according to West Liberty University's chief technological officer Jim Clark.
"Smartphones, iPads and Windows laptops, those are the core devices," Clark said. "Everything revolves around those three devices."
Each of the devices has its own role in academic life, Clark said. While tablets such as the iPad are useful for reading online or electronic books, he said laptops remain the most ideal tool for students who require a keyboard. Smartphones, meanwhile, serve as an important link to numerous college-related applications such as student voting and social media.
Almost all students will carry at least one of these three tools, Clark said.
"They're going to have one of them in their hand, the other two in their bag," Clark said.
But according to Clark, the tablet, especially the iPad, holds a place of distinction among technological tools for students.
"iPads, these are the new status symbols of students who are connected," Clark said. "They can be used for browsing, reading and keeping up with assignments."
West Virginia Northern Community College Director of Information Technology David Hanes agreed that technology is increasingly important for students, but noted he believes smartphones are more prominent than tablets at Northern.
"They (students) are using their cellular (smart)phones more than tablets," Hanes said. "Almost everybody has a smartphone and they're all on them."
Aside from the use of various educational-based apps, Hanes said smartphones can also be used to check schedules and email, access some reading materials and even take notes.
No matter which device students choose to use, according to Clark, there is one essential implement he said schools must provide at all times.
"Everybody's got to have Wi-Fi, though; that's for sure," Clark said. "It's all about connectivity and mobility."