Students’ desire to use mobile devices and social media tools is often thwarted by school policies and other institutional barriers.
As the third graders who were the first Speak Up participants in 2003 graduate from high school this spring, a decade of digital learning research provides a birds’ eye view of the changing environment for digital learning both in and out of school. Today’s students are more concerned about using a variety of digital learning tools such as mobile devices and less concerned about access to the internet, according to the Speak Up 2012 National Report on K-12 Students released June 4.
The shift from personal cell phones that cannot access the Internet to Internet-enabled smart phones is increasing among students, however the vast majority of this access is not school provided and many students say they cannot use their own mobile devices at school.
With smart phone usage dramatically on the rise–65 percent of students in grades 6-8 and 80 percent of students in grades 9-12 are smart phone users–a main concern among today’s digital learners is how to leverage the unique features of different devices, from laptops to smart phones to tablets or digital readers, and use them for certain academic tasks.
(Next page: How technology and digital learning needs have changed)