K-12 Students View Mobile Devices as Critical to Learning Process

Access to smartphones has more than tripled among high school students since 2006, according to a survey report from Project Tomorrow®, a national education nonprofit organization, and Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB).

The report, Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile! shows that students now view the inability to use their own devices in school, such as cell phones, smartphones, MP3 players, laptops or net books, as the primary barrier to a successful digital education.

Today’s students are taking increased responsibility for their learning with mobile devices and instant access to the Internet, according to the report, and feel strongly about the potential for mobile devices to enhance their learning and to help them be more productive.

“We are beginning to see mobile learning take shape in pockets around the nation where a small but growing number of innovative educators are finding ways to leverage the once banned mobile devices for learning,” said Julie Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Project Tomorrow. “Educators have an opportunity to help students learn more effectively and deeply by leveraging students’ preferred learning tools and strategies.”

The report also reveals a shift in thinking by parents and educators who are now beginning to accept the role of mobile devices as instructional tools, in part because they are active users of mobile devices in their own personal lives. In some cases, educators have embraced mobile devices as a catalyst for making learning a more student directed experience. At Jamestown Elementary School in Virginia, for example, students use mobile devices to create multimedia projects, improve their writing skills and collaborate with their peers. High school students in Onslow County Schools in North Carolina use smartphones to learn algebra, geometry and calculus.

“A little bit of creativity and focus can have amazing results,” said Jeff Billings, Information Technology Director at Paradise Valley Unified School District. “I tell other educators considering a transformation like this to give their frontrunners freedom and be creative to establish new models and let the others follow in those footsteps.”

“We see mobile as a transformative technology for engaging students,” said Brett Frazier, Senior Vice President at Blackboard. “As these results show, educators and parents have an opportunity to leverage students’ growing interest in mobile devices to engage them in a more personal learning experience that doesn’t end when they leave the classroom.”

The report was released at the Wireless EdTech Conference in Washington, D.C. Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up National Research Project annually collects and reports on the views of more than 350,000 U.S. K-12 students, parents and educators about online education and 21st century learning. The report also includes interviews with educators and students representing a range of school districts and schools to provide additional context for the survey findings.

The full survey report, Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile!, is available at: http://www.blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/K-12/Learn-for-K12/Leadership-Views/Education-in-the-21st-Century.aspx.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

About Project Tomorrow

Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and engaged citizens. Since fall 2003, the Speak Up National Research Project has annually collected and reported on the views of over 1.85 million K-12 students, teachers, administrators and parents representing over 23,000 schools in all 50 states. The Speak Up National Research Project dataset represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science and math instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report using the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.