Study: U.S. students believe in mobile devices for education

Nine in ten of today’s elementary, middle and high school students believe that mobile devices will change the way students learn in the future (92 percent) and make learning more fun (90 percent), according to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive and released by Pearson. The majority (69 percent) of elementary, middle and high school students would like to use mobile devices more in the classroom.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Pearson between January 28 and February 24, 2013 among 2,350 U.S. students, including 500 elementary school (4th-5th grade) students, 750 middle school (6th-8th grade) students, and 1,100 high school (9th – 12th grade) students. The survey also included a national sample of 1,206 college students. The survey of elementary, middle and high school students finds that more than one-third of 4th and 5th graders (36 percent), and a third of middle school students (34 percent), currently owns a tablet. Hispanic students are more likely to own a tablet than non-Hispanics (36 percent Hispanic vs. 30 percent white and 28 percent black). Black (51 percent) and Hispanic (49 percent) students are more likely to own a smartphone than white students (40 percent). Twenty-five percent of all students intend to purchase a tablet within the next six months. Forty-three percent of students own a smartphone, with older students more likely than younger students to own one (56 percent high school, 42 percent middle school, and 19 elementary).

One-third of elementary, middle and high school students said that they have used a tablet for school work this academic year (34 percent have used a full-size tablet and 32 percent have used a small tablet), and 44 percent said they have used a smartphone for school work. Among students who use a tablet for school work, more than half (52 percent) use a device that they own personally, rather than borrow from the school.

The study showed that how students want to use tablets in school varies by grade level. Two-thirds of elementary (76 percent) and middle school (75 percent) students say that they would like to use mobile devices more often in class, compared to 61 percent of high school students and only 43 percent of college students. Students also said that they want to do more schoolwork activities with full-size tablets rather than with small tablets. For example, 70 percent of elementary, middle and high school students want to use a full-size tablet to do homework, compared to 53 percent who want to use a small tablet for the same activity. Elementary and middle school students are more likely than high school students to want to use full-size tablets for doing homework (77 percent elementary, 72 percent middle school, 65 percent high school), while older students are more likely to want to use tablets to check class schedules (45 percent high school, 38 percent middle school, and 28 percent elementary) and take notes in class (52 percent high school, 47 percent middle school, 40 percent elementary).