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Survey: 9 in 10 Students Say Tablets Will Change How They Learn

Ninety percent of students said tablets will change the way they learn and 89 percent said the devices would make learning more fun, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll for Pearson.

The survey of 2,252 students in grades 4-12 found that 81 percent of those surveyed said tablets help them learn in a way that's best for them and 79 percent said the devices help them do better in class. Black and Hispanic students, at 88 and 86 percent, respectively, were even more likely to say that tablets help them learn in their own way than white students, who only agreed 79 percent of the time. Similarly, black and Hispanic students were more likely, at 83 and 84 percent, to say that tablets help them do better in class than white students, at 77 percent.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • More students, 93 percent, reported having wireless Internet access at home than at school, 62 percent;
  • Two-thirds, 66 percent, of elementary students surveyed said they regularly use a tablet. That number dropped to 58 percent among middle school students and just 42 percent among high school respondents. High school students were more likely to report using a smartphone regularly, at 75 percent;
  • Students who said they owned a laptop or smartphone increased by grade level, but younger students were most likely to say they owned a tablet, at a rate of 51 percent among elementary students and 52 percent among middle school students, but just 36 percent among high school students;
  • Fifty-four percent of all students surveyed reported owning a smartphone;
  • Students in all grades were more likely, at 80 percent, to report using laptops for school work than other mobile devices, and high school students reported using them for school work more often than younger students;
  • Just under half of those surveyed said they had used a smartphone for school work, at 49 percent, or a tablet, at 47 percent. Only 30 percent said they use a smartphone weekly for school work and 29 percent said the same of tablets;
  • High school students were most likely to report using a smartphone for school work each week at a rate of 43 percent. Twenty percent of middle school students and 17 percent of elementary school students said the same;
  • Most students surveyed at all levels, 71 percent in elementary school, 67 percent in middle school and 56 percent in high school, said they want to use mobile devices in class more than they currently do;
  • Only 16 percent reported that their school provides each student a laptop or tablet, but 51 percent said 1:1 laptop programs are important;
  • Forty-three percent of students surveyed said that 1:1 laptop programs were important, though support dropped from 53 percent among elementary students to just 34 percent among high school students; and
  • Students told researchers that access to laptops and tablets was most likely to be offered through a computer lab at 35 percent, or via a set of shared classroom computers, at 27 percent.

"This year's study findings show a high level of optimism, engagement and confidence with mobile devices among U.S. students," said Douglas Kubach, president of Pearson's School group, in a prepared statement. "While we are seeing consistent growth of mobile device use among students for school work, a gap still exists between home and school access, preventing many schools from taking full advantage of the digital learning technologies available today that can be instrumental in improving educational experiences for students."

"Survey respondents included 501 elementary school (4th-5th grade) students, 750 middle school (6th-8th grade) students, and 1001 high school (9th – 12th grade) students," according to a news release.

Full survey results are available at pearsoned.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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