Survey: Nearly half of schools to move to BYOT in near future

A few years ago, the notion of using a smartphone as a legitimate learning tool seemed improbable, if not out-and-out foolish. Students, in most cases were either prohibited from bringing their mobile phones to school, or at the very least told to leave them in their lockers or turned off and stored in their backpacks during school hours. However, according to a recent survey conducted by MDR’s EdNET Insight research services for Mimio, what many students are going to hear is, “Class, turn on your mobile phone; it’s time to learn.”

The nine-question survey polled more than 150 educational professionals, including school district technology, instructional media services, and curriculum directors, coordinators and specialists. Respondents were asked the impact that consumer technology devices and bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) initiatives were likely to have on future interactive classroom planning and purchases.

Sixty-six percent of poll respondents indicated their district currently allow the use of consumer mobile devices like iPads, 69 percent use district-purchased classroom-specific devices like classroom response systems and only 18 percent use student-owned mobile devices such as smartphones or laptops. But over 44 percent of the respondents plan to move to student-owned or BYOT devices within the next three years.

Those surveyed were also asked how the consumer (district- or student-owned) mobile devices are used in classrooms, selecting as many options as applied. Fifty-six percent indicated the devices were used for research, reference, and note taking while 47 percent used the devices with school- or district-approved software for instruction or assessment.

When asked how consumer (district- or student-owned) mobile devices are affecting technology purchase plans for each of the following – student device technology purchases, wireless infrastructure, or classroom technology purchases – plans for wireless infrastructure showed the strongest positive purchase impact at 74 percent. Plans for classroom technology showed a somewhat strong positive purchase impact at 51 percent.

When asked to think forward one to three years and indicate what impact the integration of consumer mobile devices (district- or student-owned) will have on the use of certain technologies like interactive whiteboards, document cameras, classroom response devices, adaptive instructional software and adaptive assessment software, 75 percent of respondents thought adaptive instructional software would see increased use.

The survey takers were also asked about the issues they saw as standing in the way of greater use of student-owned devices in classrooms. Eighty percent cited training on the effective classroom use of the devices as their primary concern.