Educators Use Mobile Devices More Than General Public

By Ian Quillen — May 24, 2012 1 min read
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School principals and district administrators are more likely than the general public to be adopters of smartphones and tablet computers, according to a new report based on data from the 2011 Speak Up survey.

Principals and administrators are also more likely to use those devices than the teachers and librarians they oversee, the report says, though teachers are also more frequent users of those tools than the general public.

Further, technology use habits were found to effect both sets of populations’ outlook on using those devices in education.

“For many of us, we cannot truly appreciate the value of a new technology tool until we have realized a direct benefit from its use in our personal or work life,” said Julie Evans, the president and CEO of Project Tomorrow, the Irvine, Calif.-based nonprofit education research organization that conducts the Speak Up survey, in a statement. “That’s the same for educators.”

Evans led a Capitol Hill presentation of the report’s findings on Wednesday.

The report, based on data from the broader Speak Up survey that reached more than 400,000 students, parents, and educators, found 70 percent of district administrators and 64 percent of principals had personal access to mobile devices, compared to 54 percent of teachers and 53 percent of librarians. Roughly half of principals and administrators have personal access to tablet computers, compared to just over a third of librarians, and just over a quarter of classroom teachers.

According to the separate Pew Internet and American Life project, just over 40 percent of Americans have smartphone access, and just 10 percent have access to tablet computers.

Administrators who used smartphones or tablets were found roughly twice as likely to consider a bring-your-own-technology approach for students at their campuses, pilot such a policy, or work in a school or district that provided students mobile devices for educational use.

Teachers, meanwhile, were found to have more favorable views on a wide range of digital content formats if they used digital content of any format in their teaching lives.

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