What Do Kids Say Is The Biggest Obstacle To Technology At School?

Audrey Watters, ReadWriteWeb, Apr 04, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

ReadWriteWeb reports on a survey of some 300,000 American students (full report PDF, summary) and obtained results that would surprise none of us - technology use among students is high (lower for the new and expensive iPads, very high for MP3 players), while resistance among teachers and principals is the main barrier to the use of technology in schools. "The two major obstacles that students say they face at school: filters that stop them from accessing the websites they need for homework and bans on using their own mobile devices (namely cellphones) at school."

The comparison between what 6th graders say today and what they said in 2005 is interesting:
- In 2005, half of the 6th graders said they had a cell phone. Today, that statistic still holds true plus an additional one-third say they now have a smart phone.
- Almost 73 percent of 6th graders have an MP3 player today – compared to one-third in 2005.
- In 2005, the 6th graders complained about internet at their school being too slow; today, their number one complaint is that school filters and firewalls block websites they need for their schoolwork.
- Half of all 6th graders take tests online today and three times as many have taken an online class as in 2005.
- 25 percent of today's 6th graders are already using an e-textbook.
- And in 2010, almost half of all 6th grade girls and over a third of 6th grade boys are regularly updating their social networking site, an increase of over 125 percent since 2005.
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