Tech Trends | Research

Mobile Devices: 70 Percent of School Districts Have Substantial Deployments

Mobile may once have been proscribed tech on American K-12 campuses, but it now enjoys a "substantial presence in most school districts." According to a new report published by ed tech firm IESD, more than two-thirds of school districts in the United States have mobile technologies deployed in a significant number of their classrooms.

The report, "2014 National Survey on Mobile Technology for K-12 Education," surveyed more than 300 school district leaders to gauge their attitudes toward mobile technology and examine how mobile tech is being used in instruction. The report — the third annual edition — was produced by IESD in collaboration with STEM Market Impact and MCH Strategic Data.

According to the report, 70.8 percent of district leaders said that mobile tech has been adopted in at least a quarter of their schools, with another 9.8 percent saying adoption is likely to happen in the next couple years.

Among adopters, about one-fifth said their districts have 1-to-1 deployments in place. The biggest barrier to 1-to-1 adoption is funding, as, according to the report, "most districts are interested [in adopting 1-to-1 or expanding their 1-to-1 programs] if they could afford it."

Other findings from the report include:

  • There is strong interest among districts in purchasing both tablets and Chromebooks;
  • Districts leaders see mobile tech as a means of increasing student achievement and making "learning more engaging and personalized";
  • Personalized instruction was also seen as a benefit to mobile;
  • The most beneficial mobile apps cited by district leaders were textbooks, collaboration tools and "creation tools"; and
  • Benefits cited by survey participants included "uses of mobile technology as a tool for completing assignments; as a tool for online instruction and for whole-group instruction; as a platform for course communication; as a way for students to demonstrate learning and/or share their work with the class; and as a student collaboration tool," according to the report.

Aside from funding, the biggest challenges cited by district leaders were:

  • Teacher professional development and support;
  • Mobile device management;
  • Bandwidth limitations and lack of networking infrastructure, including inadequate WiFi; and
  • Device damage and repair.

The complete report is available for a fee from


About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).