More than one in three middle school students are using mobile devices to complete homework, and more of those who use these devices for learning in the classroom express a strong interest in science, technology and math than those who do not, according to a new national survey.
The survey, conducted by TRU and commissioned by the Verizon Foundation, also found that more than 66 percent of students are not allowed to use a tablet for learning purposes in the classroom, and 88 percent are not allowed to use a smartphone.
The findings highlight the gap that exists between how children want to learn and the restrictions they face in the classroom due to a variety of factors that the Verizon Foundation and other national organizations concerned with increasing student access to mobile technology for learning are working to address.
“Our research supports the fact that mobile technology can inspire and engage students today,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation. “We need to meet children where they are and leverage their use of mobile devices to increase their interest in STEM – especially since STEM jobs are increasing at three times the rate of jobs in other fields, and the number of graduates in the US earning degrees in STEM is decreasing.”
Other key findings of the survey include:
- For the first time, the survey’s respondents indicated that they were using mobile devices for homework. In previous surveys, the respondents said they were using the devices largely for entertainment and to keep in touch with others.
- More Hispanic (49 percent) and African-American (42 percent) middle school students are using their smartphones for homework than Caucasian students (36 percent).
- Smartphone use for homework also crosses income levels, with 29 percent of the students from the lowest-income households reporting smartphone usage to do their homework assignments.