Tech-Trends Update

June 14, 2010 3 min read
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Ed-tech leaders have a thirst for data showing how new technologies are being used in schools. To help quench that thirst, Digital Directions has created a special data section for this issue that examines a host of factors, including the use of wireless networks in schools, trends in how students use cellphones in school, educational programs that provide laptops or netbooks to students, and other technological developments and issues.


Percentage distribution of public schools reporting the type of wireless network access in the school.


SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education


Most schools see cellphones as distractions and nuisances that must be managed and often prohibited from use in school buildings. Even so, teenagers are still texting frequently while in class.


12% of all students say they can have their cellphones at school at any time.

62% of all students say they can have their cellphones in school, just not in class.

24% of teenagers attend schools that ban all cellphones from school grounds.

  • 65% of cellphone-owning teenagers at schools that completely ban phones bring their phones to school every day.
  • 58% of cellphone-owning teenagers at schools that ban phones have sent a text message during class.

43% of all teenagers who take their cellphones to school say they text in class at least once a day or more.

  • 64% of teenagers with cellphones have texted in class.
  • 25% have made or received a call during class time.

SOURCE: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project


Cellphones can help bridge the digital divide by providing Internet access to students from low-income families. Teenagers from low-income families are much more likely than their peers to use a cellphone to access information on the Internet. In addition, minority teenagers are more likely than their white peers to use cellphones to access the Web.

  • 44% of black teenagers
  • 35% of Hispanic teenagers
  • 21% of white teenagers

21% of teenagers who do not otherwise go online say they access the Internet on their cellphones.

41% of teenagers from households earning less than $30,000 annually say they go online with their cellphones. Seventy percent of teenagers in this income category have a computer in the home, compared with 92 percent of families from households that earn more.

SOURCE: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project


Percent of public schools using their district network or Internet access to provide various opportunities and information for teaching and learning.

30% Two-way videoconferencing

23% Telecommunications (Voice over Internet Protocol)

72% Online student assessment provided by school or district

42% Access for students to online distance learning

87% Standardized assessment results and data for teachers to individualize instruction

85% Data to inform instructional planning at the school

59% Online professional development provided by school or district

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education



Download this entire table to see these percentages broken down by instruction level, enrollment size, region, race, and more.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education


Percent of public school administrators reporting agreement or disagreement with various statements on using educational technology in the instructional program in the school.


Percent of public schools providing various devices for instruction, and among those schools, the ratio of students to number of devices.

LCD and DLP projectors
Percent of Schools: 97%
Ratio of students to devices: 32

Videoconference units
Percent of Schools: 22%
Ratio of students to devices: 308

Interactive whiteboards
Percent of Schools: 73%
Ratio of students to devices: 65

Classroom response systems
Percent of Schools: 38%
Ratio of students to devices: 144

Digital Cameras (still and video)
Percent of Schools: 93%
Ratio of students to devices: 74

MP3 players/iPods
Percent of Schools: 13%
Ratio of students to devices: 69

Document cameras
Percent of Schools: 52%
Ratio of students to devices: 59 SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Digital Directions as Tech-Trends Update

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