Digitally-rich learning experiences
Students’ use of digital media tools and mobile devices in their personal lives also applies to their school lives. More than 30 percent of both middle and high school students use digital resources to take tests online. Seventy-nine percent of high school students and more than 60 percent of middle school students use these resources to complete writing assignments.
More than half of third through fifth graders use digital tools to play educational games, and nearly 30 percent use the tools to create slide shows, videos, or web pages for school.
Outside of school, nearly 60 percent of high school students and 65 percent of sixth through eighth graders use digital resources to upload or download videos, podcasts, or photos to the internet.
Roughly 65 percent of third through fifth graders play online games, and slightly more than 40 percent participate in 3D virtual reality.
Almost 45 percent of high school students and 40 percent of middle school students create or modify digital media.
Top student answers for the value of using video or online games as part of regular schoolwork or classroom activities included making it easier for students to understand difficult concepts, learning more about a subject, becoming more engaged in a subject, and making practice problems more interesting.
Seventy-six percent of parents said that gaming appeals to different learning styles and increases student engagement. Fifty-seven percent said gaming develops problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Online textbooks are a hot topic with students as well.
“When asked to design the ultimate online textbook, the students focused on … interactivity and relevancy of content, fostering collaborative learning, and personalizing the learning process,” the report says.
Students said games, online tutors, links to real-time data and web sites, and animations and simulations should be included in an ideal online textbook.
And students would use those online texts to personalize learning through electronic highlights and notes, search terms, quizzes, brain teasers, cell phone downloads, and organizational tools.
Ninety-three percent of parents said they like the idea of online textbooks, and 47 percent believe online texts would be good investments for schools to make to improve student achievement.
On the brink of educational change
“Groundbreaking policies, programs, and plans are being unveiled to jump-start a new standard for 21st-century learning in America,” the report says.
“Our nation’s students already have a plan in mind for how to effectively leverage technology to drive student achievement and ensure that all students are well-prepared for the future, and they are, in fact, with or without the rest of us … executing a 21st-century education.”
Project Tomorrow surveyed 299,677 K-12 students, 26,312 parents, 38,642 teachers, 1,987 pre-service teachers, and 3,947 administrators representing 5,757 schools and 1,215 districts nationwide, including public (97 percent) and private (3 percent) schools. The student report is the first in a series of soon-to-be-released reports on technology and education.
Schools were located in urban (38 percent), suburban (31 percent), and rural (32 percent) communities. More than one-half of the schools were Title I eligible, and 42 percent of the participating schools had a minority student population of more than 50 percent.
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, an educational nonprofit organization that works to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to enter the college and the workforce.