I wasn’t wild about this article. While I appreciate the need to embrace technology in all its forms and to utilize mobile devices as a means of expanding student access in class as appropriate, I felt that the authors used their statistics without specifics, and this detracted from their message.
For example, saying that 46% of students have used Facebook to collaborate on school projects is vague at best. It could be that the “collaboration” was “Dude, whose house are we meeting at?” The one in ten students tweeting about an academic subject could be saying, “My math class sucks.” Does this support the argument that schools should allow access to social media? Their statement that over half of students would like to use their devices and that they think the devices would help them is not surprising, but there is no explanation of how the students think using the devices would support their learning. Also, the authors didn’t define “personal devices”, although they mentioned tablets at one point.
Overall, I think that the survey they are citing is not all that enlightening. Of course students want to use their devices in school. But while the students’ desires and interests are important to keep in mind, they should not drive school policy without first having an instructional plan in place that incorporates the technology effectively, as well as guidelines for the use of the devices that decrease the potential for abuse.