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Half of High Schoolers Own a Smartphone or Tablet, According to Report

According to a new mobile learning report from Blackboard and Project Tomorrow, about 50 percent of high school and 40 percent of middle school students now own or have access to a smartphone or tablet, a 400 percent increase since 2007.

The report’s data comes courtesy of Speak Up 2011, Project Tomorrow's annual survey of participating educators, parents, and kids. This year, the organization also found a growing number of administrators (27 percent) exploring the idea of letting students use mobile devices in school, and 62 percent of parents said they would buy their child a mobile device if it would be used for academic purposes. 

"Many parents, teachers and administrators are now mobile device users themselves, which has increased their appreciation and understanding for how these devices can support and enhance learning," said Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow in a statement. "We found nearly 90 percent of parents say that the effective implementation of technology in instruction will positively impact their child's future. This growing understanding has allowed for an increase in the development of personalized education and a more sophisticated use of technology both in and outside of the classroom."

The report, titled Learning in the 21st Century: Mobile Devices + Social Media = Personalized Learning, was released at the recent iNACOL Virtual School Symposium in New Orleans.

Previously, results from the same Speak Up survey revealed that while only 10 percent of Americans have tablets, more than half of principals and administrators who responded to the survey use these tools. Furthermore, the findings indicated that district administrators who are mobile users themselves are twice as likely to be piloting or evaluating a BYOD program than other administrators.

The 2011 online survey was completed by more than 416,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, and administrators. Information about the 2012 survey is available online.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.