Survey Shows Proliferation of Mobile Devices in Schools

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A recent survey pertaining to mobile learning put out by Project Tomorrow suggests that current schools are increasingly asking students to use devices such as smartphones and tablets to make use in today’s curriculum.

The 12th annual Speak Up Research Project used information provided by 431,000 students, and thousands of teachers and educators from 8,000 schools and 2,600 school districts in order to gain a deeper understanding of how mobile devices are affecting education, writes D. Frank Smith for EdTech Magazine.

“We definitely have seen an increased sense of urgency around how to effectively use digital tools and content to be able to impact student learning,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, during a Congressional briefing to discuss the data.  “There isn’t one recipe for implementing digital learning, particularly personalized learning. …As part of that, we’re seeing more and more use of digital content,” she said.

According to the findings, 45% of educators say their use has resulted in positive outcomes.  While 27% of principals say they do not yet offer online classes, 24% of students would like to see all their classes become online.  Almost 75% of students feel that “every student should be able to use a mobile device during the school day for learning.”

The survey also discovered that 58% of high school students are using their own digital devices in class, while only 32% use laptops, Chromebooks and tablets provided by the school.

Meanwhile, among middle school students, 34% said they use school-provided laptops and only 23% report using their own devices.

When asked what the devices were used for during school hours, the most popular answers included taking online tests, creating presentations and accessing web-based services.

The survey focused on four key areas that aid in digital learning in the classroom: digital equity, blended learning, online learning, and STEM learning experiences.

Almost half, 47%, of technology leaders in schools reported digital equity and Internet access off school grounds to be the most challenging issues for them.  In addition, 13% of high school students and 21% middle school students said they did not have regular Internet access while at school.

“Today, as many as 7 in 10 teachers assign homework that requires access to the internet and broadband,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner, at the Congressional briefing. As many as 1 in 3 households in this country do not subscribe to broadband. Where they overlap is what I call the ‘homework gap.’ Nearly half of all educational technology leaders are concerned about student access to the internet outside of school. Their concern is spot-on.”

64% of students said blended learning helps them to learn at their own pace, 63% believed it helped them to attain creativity skills, and 61% reported it aiding in peer collaboration.

Online learning is increasingly popular, as survey results show only 27% of high schools not offering any online courses.

Survey data also showed that early STEM engagement was important to holding girls’ interest in STEM subjects.