Survey: Friendly Attitudes Toward Cell Phones, Other Devices in Schools

By Ian Quillen — August 20, 2012 1 min read
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Nearly three in four respondents to a new online survey about digital device use in schools were opposed to a universal ban on cell phones from school property, and more than half also favored exposing students to laptops and/or tablets by their high school years.

Respondents were less enthusiastic about actually allowing students to text during class time or including e-textbooks as a regular classroom fixture.

As of Monday, more than 2,000 respondents had answered six of the eight questions in the survey posted on SodaHead, a social networking website designed to facilitate user-driven opinion exchange via publicly asked questions and polls. In other words, while the survey does represent a large number of responses, it also most likely manifests the thoughts and feelings of an exceptionally opinionated portion of the population.

If you feel you live outside SodaHead’s target usership and want to add some balance to the results, you can still take the survey online.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they believed students should be allowed to have cell phones in schools, provided they turn them off in class, while 27 percent favored banning them altogether. Twenty-five percent said using cell phones in class is a necessity, and 7 percent said they’d be afraid to have their phones taken away.

Meanwhile, while most respondents favored allowing laptops and tablets into high schools, they didn’t always feel the same about elementary and middle schools. Some 29 percent favored allowing tablets only for high schoolers, and 32 percent favored allowing only laptops for high schoolers. Neither question asks users to stipulate between a model where students are issued the device by the school, or are using devices they themselves own.

Only 17 percent of respondents favored allowing students to send text messages regularly during the school day. Survey participants were divided nearly evenly on whether e-textbooks should completely replace print texts, be mixed with print texts depending on the subject, or be resisted in favor of print texts.

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