Students want personalized learning, mobile technology

An annual report reveals that student-owned mobile devices, including tablets, are on the rise.

More and more students own mobile devices, including tablets, and indicate a strong desire to use those personal learning tools in school to increase collaboration and access to resources, according to the annual Speak Up Survey, which is facilitated by Project Tomorrow.

This year’s survey, “Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey: K-12 Students and Parents Connect the Dots with Digital Learning,” explores how students want to take control of their learning and the tools they use to learn. It includes parent and administrator input on issues such as personal technology use in schools, online learning, and top technologies.

“Students, perhaps without realizing it, are already seeking out ways to personalize their learning,” according to the report. “Looking to address what they perceive as deficiencies in classroom experiences, students are turning to online classes to study topics that pique their intellectual curiosity, to message and discussion boards to explore new ideas about their world, or to online collaboration tools to share their expertise with other students they don’t even know. Students now expect in their learning lives the same types of personalized interactions that adults already experience in our everyday lives.”

The report seeks to examine why technology has “not also penetrated our classrooms” in the same way it has affected students’ personal lives—and it suggests that, while slow in developing, a change might be on the horizon.

How are students using technology?

Personalized learning is on the rise, the report said. Outside of school:

  • One in 10 high school students has tweeted about an academic topic that interested them.
  • Forty-six percent of high school students have used Facebook as a collaborative learning tool.
  • One in four students has used online videos to help with homework questions.

Students are using technology in school for a variety of reasons, including to create presentations and media, to play educational games, and to conduct virtual experiments.

High school students use technology to create presentations and media (almost 70 percent) and use social media for collaboration (almost 50 percent).

Laura Ascione

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