Survey Shows Hope for Mobile Technology in Schools, Highlights Hurdles

Interactive Educational Systems Design has conducted an online survey on mobile technology for education that details why some districts are struggling to increasingly powerful mobile technology in their schools.

According to Laura Devaney of, the survey looks at adaptation of mobile technology in the classrooms, and “reveals what’s keeping some districts from forging ahead with mobile technology deployments.” Mobile technology adoption is increasing and this growth is projected to continue in the next two years, the survey found.

According to advocates of mobile technology in the classroom, smart phones and tablets are important for boosting student engagement and offer a way to personalize learning for each student.

The survey focused on the current and future levels of mobile technology adoption in schools; the most significant hurdles to mobile technology adoption; access to mobile technology in the classroom; bring your own device (BYOD) policies; interest in purchasing tablets for student use; the types of mobile devices that have been adopted or will be adopted for student instruction; and more.

Gartner research says that across the globe, tablet sales have soared since 2012 and are expected to top laptop and desktop sales by 2015. More than one-third of U.S. teenagers own a smart phone, and nearly one-quarter – 23 percent – have a tablet. Parents believe that use of mobile devices and related applications improve students’ reading and math skills.

Most barriers to adopting mobile technology in the classroom seem to be financial, with most districts reporting that they would deploy a one-to-one initiative and/or purchase tablets if they could afford it. District educators and technology leaders said that mobile technology helps make learning engaging and personalized, but that mobile device management issues persist, as well as the need for ongoing and targeted professional development and implementation support for teachers.

More than half of survey participants said they have adopted mobile technology in the classroom, and 15.5% said their district is very likely to adopt mobile technology in the next one to two years.

But even schools eager to adopt mobile technology are facing funding and infrastructure problems. Survey participants said they need digital textbooks, student productivity tools, and creation tools for their mobile devices. More than half said they would pay $4 or more for an essential app, while 32.3% said they’d pay that much for a supplemental app, and a little more than half of respondents said they would pay $1.99 or less for a supplemental app.

In addition to funding problems, survey respondents said that their schools and districts are struggling with a lack of technology infrastructure to adequately support mobile technology in the classroom. The schools are facing bandwidth limitations, wireless connection challenges, and device maintenance and security.