A 2013 survery, The New Digital Learning Playbook, compiled trends and data on students’ access to technology. These surveys span students of all grade levels, and all backgrounds. The two important bits of information that resonated with me, are:
1. High school students, regardless of background, have access to more electronic devices than their younger counterparts.
2. High school students use technology and mobile devices more, in both social and academic settings.
Interesting to note, grades K-2 might have as much interest in engaging with so many devices. Their interest in social media is non-existent, and perhaps explains why increased access to personal devices increases as children get older. It’s also a cultural norm not provide a 6 year old, with a tablet, iPhone, kindle and laptop.
Connected to the first graph, this one explains how high school students specifically are using technology. It’s hard not to look at this graph and see kids texting, Skyping, and goofing off in school. If students are texting in class, it’s probably not academic thinking, and if students are using Facebook for group projects, they are using for all the other reasons people use Facebook as well. Interesting to observe as well, girls show an increased interest and use of technology over their male peers.
Many school Wi-Fi networks have bans on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, but these bans only work if the student connects to Wi-Fi, If someone has access to 3G or LTE internet service on their mobile phone, then they have access to everything the school might attempt to block. The point is technology might be an integral part of higher education and thinking. The hardest part is not controlling appropriate technology in the elementary grades, but rather, monitoring and predicting teen usage of their devices.