Middle Schoolers Turning On Smartphones for Homework

By Mike Bock — November 30, 2012 1 min read
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More middle school students are using smartphones to do homework than ever, with 39 percent of them reporting that they use their phones to complete after-school assignments, according to a new survey commissioned by the Verizon Foundation. However, only 6 percent of students say they are allowed to use the devices in a classroom setting.

The survey also found that smartphone use among middle school students largely transcends racial and socioeconomic boundaries, with 49 percent of Hispanic students, 42 percent of African-American students, and 36 percent of white students reporting that they use their smartphones for homework. In addition, 29 percent of the students from low-income households said they use smartphones to do homework.

Results from the survey, which conducted 1,000 online interviews with students in grades 6-8, seem to indicate a reluctance among educators to incorporate smartphones into lesson plans, despite the increasing use of the devices among students.

The report said students who use laptops, tablets, or smartphones in the classroom are more likely to be interested in STEM courses. Two thirds of students surveyed said laptops help with science and math courses.

“Teacher education and training on the effective integration of mobile technologies into instruction may provide significant benefits for all. Mobile device usage in class appears to have the potential to sustain, if not increase interest in STEM subjects as students progress into high school,” the report says.

The complete results of the survey can be found here.

These particular results reinforce the idea that middle and high school students are becoming increasingly comfortable with handheld technologies and they are using smartphones for more than just entertainment and communication. In October, we wrote about a survey from Speak Up that found that 50 percent of high school students own a smartphone, and a survey in July found that 69 percent of students surveyed at both the high school and college level said they wanted to see more technology in the classroom.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.