In the first two parts of this series, we focused on how digital textbooks increase learning while reducing costs, and the benefits of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for both the online-based and traditional classroom. Part three of this series focuses on Internet connectivity both on- and off-campus.classroom Gone are the days of running to the computer lab between lectures, hoping to snag an available computer to do some research, check e-mail, or type up an assignment. Today’s students are connected nearly every minute of their waking life, and the majority are even connected whilst catching some z’s. The majority of campuses today still have computer labs, though these labs often have a very specialised purpose; for example, the University of California Los Angeles has both generalised computer labs as well as special laboratories for statistics, psychology, computer programming, and chemistry (Source: UCLA). The University of Iowa has more than 26 computer labs on campus, comprising over 1000 workstations available for students (Source: UIowa). Students can still drop in between classes or reserve a computer ahead of time to take advantage of high-speed Internet connections. On campus, Ethernet connections remain the fastest way to get online, with ping times of less than 10ms and download speeds ranging from 70 – 970 Mb/s Source: OOKLA). However, as more and more students bring their own devices to campus, wireless connectivity is becoming a major part of the learning experience, as students are able to get online anywhere, anytime, throughout campus without being figuratively chained to a computer lab table. fellow-tablet-laptopWiFi connectivity has become a huge selling point for higher education. As early as 2008, 73% of students stated WiFi helps them achieve better grades, and in 2011, 60% of students reported that they would not attend a college without WiFi services (Source: Wi-Fi.org; DigitalTrends). By the start of the academic year 2014, universities reported that new students expected WiFi to be readily available throughout the campus. 97% of student housing in the United States had wireless access available to students by 2013, an increase of 16% from the previous year. (Source: EdTechMagazine). At California Polytechnic State University, more than 40,000 unique devices connected to the WiFi network per day in 2014, up from about 8,000 in 2012 (Source: EdTechMagazine). This huge increase cannot be understated: WiFi and connectivity in general are hugely important to today’s student. Why is Internet connectivity so important? Today’s student is intricately connected to the world around him, constantly checking email, course information, grades. Pertinent information is often sent out via Internet, whether per email or via a virtual learning environment. Additionally, many technologies students use on a regular basis are cloud-based, and can therefore only be accessed with an Internet connection. These cloud-based technologies will be further discussed in the next part of this series. Whatever the future may bring for education, one thing is certain: the Internet will remain of upmost importance, as more and more students have more and more devices and require more and more of what the Internet has to offer in order to achieve success. This is the third part of our series: How the Digital Revolution is Reshaping Education. The next post will discuss computer labs and specialized software, with an focus on newer, cloud-based software.