Aug 07 2017

Students Want Access to More Online Classes and Mobile Learning

A new study finds that students are using tech for self-directed learning outside of school.

Though just over half of K–12 students have access to a one-to-one device program at school, 56 percent of students say they use more technology at home than in school.

Perhaps this stat is a bit startling, but the new research from Project Tomorrow indicates that overall students are quite interested in exploring more self-directed learning at home, eSchool News reports.

“Students have always self-directed some of their own learning, but with the explosion of mobile devices, 24/7 connectivity and digital resources, students are leaving adults behind as they explore subjects that interest them in the ways they learn best,” says Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow’s CEO, in the report.

Students Seek Online Learning Opportunities

One source of self-directed learning is online courses. Online learning in general has proven quite effective in combatting the summer brain drain and giving students access to a wider range of classes. Of the 400,000 K–12 students surveyed, more than a third of the middle school students alone say they have already taken an online class.

However, Project Tomorrow’s research indicates that students are clamoring for access to online courses in topics not widely taught at schools. About 58 percent of the students say they want a class in college preparation and study skills, and 51 percent want more career and vocational education.

While most students indicate that they access the internet for school work and self-directed learning at home, large percentages of them are finding other ways to connect. About half say they use the internet on campus before or after school, 28 percent say they connect at a fast food restaurant or coffee shop and 20 percent say they use the public library.

“Despite teachers’ concerns about the homework gap, students so highly value using the internet as a learning tool that they resourcefully find ways to get online to pursue their academic interests and add depth and efficiency to their learning processes,” says Evans in the report.

Mobile Devices Are the Student Tech Tool of Choice

A whopping 73 percent of teens have smartphones with nonstop internet access, the Pew Research Center reports. While some schools have found that allowing students to use their mobile devices for learning in class helps prevent those devices from becoming a distraction, most aren’t fully embracing the power of a mobile device for learning.

Project Tomorrow’s research indicates that there is some large untapped potential when it comes to using mobile devices for learning. Its findings show that many students are already using them for self-directed learning. About 84 percent of students say they use their mobile device for online research, while 47 percent indicate they use it for emailing their teachers and 40 percent say they use it for taking notes.


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