Partnering with parents can help ensure the success of mobile learning programs


Despite their support for mobile learning, parents consider most apps and content that their children use regularly “purely entertainment.”

Don’t overlook parents as key partners in the success of mobile learning initiatives, a new report suggests.

The report, commissioned by AT&T and written by Grunwald Associates based on a national survey, highlights the perceptions of parents of a mobile generation, from preschoolers through high school-age students. It confirms that strong educational leadership can have a positive influence on how parents view mobile learning initiatives.

“Parent perceptions matter,” the report states. “Their support and influence can smooth the way for educational technology in schools and help overcome the limitations of school coffers, without which digital initiatives can stall.”

Parents who report that their children’s schools use mobile devices for learning have much stronger positive perceptions than other parents do about the learning benefits of mobile technology, the report says, adding: “Seeing, perhaps, is believing.”

Seventy-seven percent of families have at least one smart phone at home, and almost half (46 percent) have at least one tablet. Tablet ownership isn’t just for the tech savvy or for those who tend to buy the next new shiny object, either, the report says; 44 percent of parents who say they can be intimidated by technology already own tablets.

Parents of high school students report higher ownership of portable computers, MP3 players, and the iPod Touch. Parents of students in grades 3-5 report higher ownership of handheld gaming devices, tablets, and eReader devices, and parents of pre-K children report the highest ownership of smart phones.

“The takeaway here: Family ownership of technology tracks with the stages of children’s development,” the report says. “The exception is smart phone ownership among pre-K parents.”

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