A surge in K-12 mobile tech adoption in 2013, national survey says

Mobile tech adoption in K-12 schools is on the rise, and districts are looking to mobile tech to make learning more engaging and personalized for students, according to a new report sponsored by Amplify. The national report, conducted each year by IESD and STEM Market Impact, is based on survey responses from 558 district leaders.

Nearly 60 percent of the respondents said mobile tech has been adopted in a quarter or more of the schools in their districts. An additional 15 percent said their districts were “very likely” to adopt mobile tech in the next year or two. Tablet interest is particularly strong: 71 percent of respondents said there’s a high level of interest among district leaders in purchasing tablets.

Right now it’s common for mobile devices to be available on a cart that’s shared with multiple classrooms or in a small, shared set. Though 1:1 programs only exist in 12 percent of districts, a large majority of respondents said they would be interested in implementing 1:1 in the next two years if their budgets allowed it.

The report suggests that educators see great potential in mobile tech for transforming learning. The most commonly expected and sought-after benefits are that mobile tech is engaging for students (62 percent of respondents) and that the devices can be used to personalize of instruction to meet the needs of different students.

Despite great interest among educators, there are significant barriers to mobile tech adoption. Respondents from districts that either haven’t adopted mobile tech or have adopted it on a low level cited cost and lack of supportive technology infrastructure as hurdles. Of the respondents from currently adopting districts or likely-to-adopt districts, a quarter said mobile device management was a concern, and close to 20 percent of these respondents said professional development and implementation support for teachers is a challenge.