Tech advances at college: Does your dorm do that?

(Editor’s Note: I picked up progressive bifocals yesterday and my head is killing me!! It doesn’t seem like I am having a hard time adjusting to the new lenses but my head sure hurts. Did you get headaches with bifocals? P.S. I am officially old. )

A mom friend posted on Facebook that the dryers in her daughter’s dorm at Arizona State University will TEXT you when your load of clothes is done! I just think that’s the craziest thing. How smart and easy for the students. No more sitting around killing time in a stinky basement waiting on your clothes so no one removes them before they are done.

A student of mine reports that there are no keys for her apartment at all – everything is done with a swipe card. Need to get into your apartment, swipe the card. Need to go to the gym, swipe the card. Front gate – swipe the card.

Another student was telling me how they hook up their computers to the TV so bye-bye to cable bills.

I am wondering what other amazing changes technology has provided in dorms, dining halls and apartments? What are your kids seeing? How is technology making their lives easier?

19 comments Add your comment


September 4th, 2013
1:22 am

Georgia Tech has had the laundry machine notification for a number of years — at least six or seven, possibly longer. First it communicated by email, and now it’s integrated with smartphone technology. And since Hulu became popular, a lot of college students don’t bother paying for cable, and just watch TV via Hulu, Netflixs or even on the network websites, such as CBS. A lot of non-college people are heading in that direction, too, because of massive cable bills for hundreds of channels, when they begin to realize that there are only a very few that they watch consistently.

Yeah, I had a bit of a headache when I first got bifocals about 10 years ago, but you adjust quickly. If they are still bothering you in a week, go back, because the glasses may need to have the lenses reground if the “line” is too high or too. (Getting bifocal sunglasses was wonderful for me — I could read street signs AND the speedometer while driving!) Bifocals do not make you old, they make it so you don’t squint, which is fewer wrinkles. Bifocals make you young! (That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it!)

I think one of the major things that make students’ lives easier is how much easier it is for parents to transfer money to their accounts via internet banking. :-)


September 4th, 2013
1:23 am

Oh, one other thing: eBooks! Far cheaper than regular books — I would have loved to have been able to carry 40 lbs. of books in one slim tablet!

Young Lady

September 4th, 2013
6:45 am

The only one I’ve practically seen is dropping cable. But that’s mostly by choice because younger adults trend towards a different style of media consumption.

I think the level of tech really depends on the school you go to. My sister’s school had hand scanners at the door into the dorm and key cards. The campus apartments there only had keys. I know they were still using keys at my school when I was going.

Also there’s renting text books! Some of the rentals are cheaper than e-books. Man I seriously wish that had been around when I started college. No more buying books and hoping they take them back if I don’t need them!


September 4th, 2013
6:47 am

Yeah, a lot of this stuff has been available. I don’t have bifocals, but I am blind without my glasses or contacts. @DB I cannot read massive amounts of educational stuff on a computer screen. If it is something important, I have to print it off. My mind tends to wander if it sees it on a screen. I guess I have done too much recreational stuff on computers and my mind won’t stay focused. I have a tablet that I read on for personal books all the time and I have no problems (I read A LOT). Unfortunately when it comes to something that I must learn, it has to be on paper. I guess I’m just weird like that. Of course we may find out years from now that there are a lot of people like this and it effects their learning. Oh and it also makes my head and eyes hurt. So yes educational eBooks are cheaper, but not as effective for me. Some graduate classes were boring enough without me loosing focus every time I start to read the book.


September 4th, 2013
7:15 am

Lol I don’t have bifocals yet, but I’m headed that way soon. I have my regular vision glasses, prescription sunglasses, and three pair of readers. I look so silly when shopping. I have to have my regular glasses on in the store, with a pair of readers on my head. I am constantly switching them. But I am not alone.. That’s how my girlfriends shop too. You should see us…..we are a sight. But I guess the time as come for bifocals. Ugh.

Mother of 2

September 4th, 2013
7:18 am

My college age son uses a swipe card for entry into everything. I don’t think his school use the text message on the laundry facilities. But each hall on each floor has several washers and driers, so he rarely has an issue.

With respect to your bifocals, try only wearing them for an hour, and gradually increase the time you wear them. It’s very common to get headaches as you get used to them. It took several months for me to be able to wear mine full time.


September 4th, 2013
7:28 am

You really haven’t heard of dropping cable using technologies like Hulu or Apple TV? My house doesn’t even have a key – we have a key pad. Best thing ever – no locking yourself out! I will say I wish MY dryer would text me when it’s done – it’s on another floor…


September 4th, 2013
7:31 am

Our’s is at Georgia College and State University and yes, they have the “high tech” washers/dryers that will text when laundry is completed. They also have closed circuit TV so they can tune in and “see” how busy or available the laundry facilities are. And, yes, eBooks where available, are also great and far less expensive.
I have had the progressive lenses for about a year now – these are my first glasses ever – but I don’t recall having headaches.


September 4th, 2013
7:49 am

Everyone kept telling a friend of mine she would get used to her bifocals. Turned out she had the wrong prescription.

I do research at the local college library. While microfilm is still microfilm, the readers are hooked up to computers. I can send copies of the research material to my e-mail. Libraries and archives are trying to digitize everything they have so research materials will be even more accessible, but it is slow-going and takes a great deal of human power and money. Eventually, though, all written and photographic material that is archived will be available over the Internet.


September 4th, 2013
8:04 am

Yes, I thought the swipe cards were interesting as we actually put coins in the washer and dryer. I don’t remember mine telling me about letting them know when the laundry was done. They lived in apts. after theri freshman year. Mine also had the hand scanners at the doors, in the dorms. Daughter rents a lot of her books and saves $$. Son did not.

Not sure I would rely on a Keypad for my house as I have had trouble with my garage door opener keypad and not been able to get inside ( did not bring the key for the front door with me). I have also been stuck in the middle of no where with a GPS and phone that had no service. HAHA who am I kidding ATT has dropped my service on I85 . I reported it and they claim it is a bad cell area near Sugarloaf Mills…really?

A friend has the auto start Nissan and it has not auto started, at times. Apparently you have to take the battery out to re set it. I will NOT rent one of the auto start cars!

No bifocals for me. My distance vision is 20/20 and my Doctor says he does not even have many patients whose vision he can correct to what I can see. I wear readers 1.50 for close up. At least something is holding up! I got the reader sunglasses at Costco and love them but I do pull them out in a restaurant to read the menu and my daughter says it looks ridiculous to see me with them on inside. Oh well…some Moms are ridiculous!


September 4th, 2013
8:04 am

comment gone not retyping…haha!

ATL Born and Raised

September 4th, 2013
8:34 am

Fancy! We used our student IDs to swipe into the dorm buildings, but I think we still needed physical keys to open our individual rooms. The laundry machines certainly never alerted you, though! I always had to set a timer on my phone to remember to go get my clothes.

Netflix and Hulu were just launching when I was in college. (Back when Hulu was free!) But the university provided basic cable to the dorms. Now it makes more sense to just get an HD antenna to pick up broadcast channels and stream everything else through a device. Cable is such a racket.


September 4th, 2013
8:46 am

The laundry texting thing is really nifty, but how does it keep people from taking your clothes out before they’re done? Does the text feature smack them as they open the door? Or do you mean if they’re sitting in the dryer after the cycle has ended? But if that’s the case, why would you have to sit in a basement and wait? Back in the stone age when I was in school, we had these gadgets called watches. We’d go back to our rooms and wait until those indicated it was almost time for the clothes to be dry — no waiting around in the basement.

DB — you’re right, cable really is unnecessary now, especially in major metro areas. In addition to online options, I get 35-40 channels via digital antenna.


September 4th, 2013
8:58 am

You’re not old- just clueless.


September 4th, 2013
9:40 am

They make bi-focal contacts, too!


September 4th, 2013
9:52 am

My son’s school notifies you via text and actually they have an app where you can check the washer and dryer status as well so if you want to do 2 loads at once, you can find out where two are open. He has it easy though, my husband’s grandmother lives nearby campus so he goes to her house to do laundry and get a home-cooked meal.

His school ID is used for just about everything at school including paying for the washer/dryers (they don’t accept coins at all). He has to show it to get into his dorm hall and also to get into his dorm room (along with a PIN).

His dorm does have basic cable but he has Netflix and uses Hulu for other shows as well as logs onto our Uverse account for certain shows you can’t stream.

TWG – One of the most interesting things he uses though is called a “Clicker”. It’s about the size of a calculator but uses RFID technology. His biology lecture has about 200 students and that’s what the teacher uses for attendance and for feedback on questions or quizzes. I had to google it when he told me about it.

Uh, Misty...

September 4th, 2013
11:16 am

…not sure you are correct about “bi-focal contact lenses”…different strengths for each eye, giving the ability to read up close and far away, but not “bi-focal lenses”…

Sk8ing Momma

September 4th, 2013
3:15 pm

I’m certainly old school. IMO, there is value (ex. proper planning, budgeting etc.) in having to use coin-operated laundry facilities while in college. Everything doesn’t have to be done with a swipe! Really, IMO, things are just far too easy for this generation and contribute to a generation of wimpy whiners — IJS! Coins and a watch worked just fine…Fancy that!


September 4th, 2013
4:26 pm

Doesn’t using a card require budgeting and planning? You still have to plan and put money on it. You just don’t have to scrounge specifically for quarters. Laundry cards are actually kind of old school now — they installed campus ID card readers on Emory’s washing machines over 15 years ago.