Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

Digital Myth Busters Go to Town on Student Tech

on April 24, 2014
The digital myth busters are back, and they're uncovering the truth about what students really do with technology. 
 
A national report from Project Tomorrow shows how 325,279 K-12 students from more than 9,000 schools personalize their learning with the help of technology. The annual Speak Up 2013 national findings were released on April 8 in a congressional briefing.
 
The report refutes at least six myths about student technology use, and they all have one thing in common: Not all students do the same thing or feel the same way about technology. 
 
"Kids have all sorts of different ideas, and you shouldn't consider them one monolithic audience," said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit organization. 
 

Myth 1: All students text frequently 

Myth buster: About one-quarter of high school girls and roughly one-third of high school boys do not text their classmates about schoolwork. That means the majority do text their classmates, but it doesn't equal "all." 
 

Myth 2: Students don't use digital tools to write 

Myth buster: High school students use technology to write a mean average of 14 hours a week. Three-quarters of girls write essays and school reports digitally, compared to 60 percent of boys. But the boys beat out the girls when it came to writing on gaming websites, coming in at 28 percent. 
 

Myth 3: Outside school, boys direct their own learning with digital tools more than girls 

Myth buster: Middle school girls and boys who say they have more advanced technology skills than their peers tend to use digital tools similarly to enhance their learning. Half of girls and 49 percent of boys played an online game to learn something. Forty percent of boys and 38 percent of girls watched a video to help with homework. And 21 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls found an expert online to answer questions. 
 

Myth 4: All students share their experiences online 

Myth buster: A quarter of students — including girls, boys and students from urban, suburban and rural areas — don't regularly post information about themselves online. 
 

Myth 5: Students don't value their relationship with teachers 

Myth buster: Twenty-eight percent of middle school and high school students say they want 24/7 access to their teachers, and just over a quarter of students would like access to an online tutor.   
 

Myth 6: Girls and boys who are technologically advanced are equally interested in STEM 

Myth buster: Forty-four percent of technologically advanced guys say they are very interested in a STEM career, while 29 percent of girls who are into technology say they feel the same. 

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Tanya Roscorla

Tanya Roscorla covers education technology in the classroom, behind the scenes and on the legislative agenda. Likes: Experimenting in the kitchen, cooking up cool crafts, reading good books.

E-mail: troscorla@centerdigitaled.com
Twitter: twitter.com/reportertanya
Google+: Gplus.to/reportertanya

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