Survey: Mobile learning at a tipping point

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor
October 29th, 2010


Students said their 'ultimate school' would allow them to use mobile technology in the classroom, according to Project Tomorrow's most recent Speak Up survey.


According to a recent national survey, access to mobile technology in the classroom has more than tripled among high schools students in the past three years—and even more interesting, parents say they are more likely to purchase a mobile technology device for their child if it’s for classroom use.

The information comes from Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey and was presented at a conference on mobile learning in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29.

Focusing on mobile technology in the classroom is important, said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, because of a confluence of positive factors: matured technology, teacher buy-in, and low price points.

“Mobile technology has been developing for years, to the point where there’s now a wide variety at low prices, and each [type of mobile learning device] can provide anytime, anywhere access. Teachers are also using these devices in their everyday life and have been using technology in the classroom to the point where they feel comfortable with mobile technology for their students,” Evans said.

She continued: “And we’re also at the tipping point because most students already own a mobile device, meaning that administrators might not have to spend as much on initial hardware for tech initiatives.”

Evans said administrators also are considering the implementation of mobile learning devices because of parent buy-in.

According to Speak Up survey results, 62 percent of responding parents report that if their child’s school allowed mobile technology devices to be used for education purposes, they would likely purchase a mobile device for their child.

Even more encouraging, Evans said, is that Project Tomorrow staff found no demographic differentiation when sifting through parent responses, meaning that parents from urban, rural, and Title 1 districts all agreed that they would purchase mobile technology devices for their children’s learning.

“This gives administrators a good idea at how to better invest resources in terms of instructional technology,” said Evans. “It’s also good for administrators, and for teachers, to know that if they decide to use mobile technology in the classroom, they’ll get parental support.”

Not surprisingly, students, too, support the use of mobile learning devices in school.

According to the survey, students no longer view their schools’ internet filters as the primary barrier to using technology in the classroom, as they have in years past. Instead, when asked how schools could make it easier to use technology for school work, students’ responses indicated that they want to use their own mobile learning devices.