May 20, 2013

Students Using Mobile Devices Now More Than Ever



A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the well-known educational publisher Pearson polled more than 2,300 students in grades 4-12.  The intent of the Student Mobile Device Survey, published April 2013, was to determine what tech devices students are currently utilizing in their educational activities as well as data on their device ownership.

Overall, the survey found that only about 1% of students used no electronic devices at all for educational purposes.   The more granular feedback from the survey can be found in the table below which is parsed by grade level.











































Device Use by Grade Level

Laptops



Desktops



Smartphones



Small Tablets


(i.e. 7” Google Nexus or iPad mini)



Large Tablets


(i.e. 10” Google Nexus or iPad)



e-Readers



Netbooks


Elementary

64%



68%



5%



32%



21%



16%



5%


Middle

70%



66%



47%



25%



23%



17%



12%


High

75%



65%



60%



17%



19%



16%



10%



Source: Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2013, published April 2013.

Clearly smartphone use for school work at the middle and high school levels is substantial enough that we cannot ignore their use in the classroom.  Not only are students more able to conduct quick research of information, but are also capable of producing more lengthy writing samples with the ever increasing array of educational apps.  Teachers are subsequently finding it difficult to sift through and select the best app and doing so without feeling as though in a week it will be obsolete.  It might be best to just let the students select the best tool for their application rather than dictating which one they should use.

These smaller, more portable devices also present a definite risk of student misuse.  Student temptations to text-message, play games, or find some other way to stray from the task-at-hand is real and needs to be addressed before the first device even crosses the threshold of your classroom.  Staying vigilant and monitoring student use can reduce the incidence of abuse of these devices.  Planning for activities and requiring student products at the end of class is another way to ensure an increase in productivity.

As I have shared in past blog entries, smartphones are seemingly the device that will be most readily available, yet most difficult to include.  Don’t get too focused on finding the best app for the activity, but focus rather on the teaching and learning associated with the activity and let the students find the best way to achieve their end product.