Eric Kunnen\’s GRCC Blog

EDUCAUSE 2007 – Tomorrow’s Students: Are We Ready for the New 21st-Century Learners? (K12 Research)
November 1, 2007, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Articles, Conferences

Update: This news release was picked up by

Unfortunately I missed this session at the Educause conference. However, I am very interested in this topic so I just finished watching this Educause session via Mediasite here.

I found many interesting K-12 data points from this presentation (The data is from netday – speak up 2006.) from the standpoint that these will be the students arriving at the doors of GRCC in the next few years.

So we know students in K-12 are using computers… what else are they using?

  • The top 3 are: Cell Phones, MP3 Players, and Hand held Games
  • 44% of K-2 students are comfortable using cell phones and use them regularly.
  • Handheld games are also used across the board with around 54% are using hand held game devices.
  • MP3 players seems more popular from grades K6 to K12 and are used by about 60%.

Most K-12 students use technology for: research, keyboarding, presentations, and tests.

Recently, there has been an increase in presentations and research.

Online test taking and preparation is also growing.

About 25% of K-12 students are emailing instructors.

About 22% use online text books.

Email and IM for projects with classmates is around 40%. (Note: Many schools don’t allow text messaging and IM at school so the number could be larger.)

22% are checking their grades online.

9% are taking online classes.

35% are interested in taking an online class.

  • When asked why, they say they want to take the online class as a supplement to get extra help in the subject area. Math and Foreign Language are the subjects that they would like to take online. They feel the online environment is a social learning experience. They develop deep relationships in online classes.

Outside of school hours, K-12’ers are using email, instant messaging, games, music, and MySpace/Facebook (This is a 3 fold increase from 2005 to 2006.).

Email vs IM = IM is more popular. Email is a file transfer tool. “Emailing is for grandparents.”

The students favorite communication tool is… a cell phone for talking. One of the reasons is that text messaging is expensive and not available on “hand me down” phones.

3rd, 4th, and 5th graders use their cell phone daily.

23% connect with other students in the USA and 17% around the world.

44% connect with 20+ friends monthly, and 34% never met those friends.

K-12 students say tech skills are important for: getting a job, college success, world awareness, and doing well in school.

What are the obstacles:

  • Access issues: Lack of computers, lack of convenient locations, and slow internet.
  • Control issues: rules against using tech tools, teachers control when/where to use, and school filters.

When asked if you were designing a school, what would you do?

  • They say: A laptop for every student.
  • Use cell phones/mp3 players/handhelds – 46%
  • Use email/instant messaging/blogs – 45%
  • Digital moviemaking
  • Online Textbooks
  • Online classes
  • Lessons on MP3 players and computers

The biggest impact is on teaching and instructional support for using technology.

Time is still the #1 obstacle to using technology more in school.

Online safety and privacy are top concern by parents and teachers, but not so much for students.

More information is available at:

A new report is available that was written in conjunction with Blackboard Inc. “Learning in the 21st Century

This topic really interests me, and I believe that in many ways, we are not ready for tomorrow’s students. That is not to say that colleges and universities are not engaged and not making an attempt, rather, I think that technology is progressing so fast that it’s been difficult for academia to keep up.

The unfortunate notion here is that I think that we are at risk of “lowering the standard” and “reducing the potential” of our incoming students. In other words, if I were to use a racing analogy, students are coming to us as Porche’s, Ferrari’s, and Maserati’s… and all we have for them is a go kart track for which to ride on.

All of this is an interplay of our funding, faculty development and training initiatives, the student “digital divide”, the faculty/staff “digital divide”, instructional design, and our curriculum development processes.

This will be an interesting theme to follow in the next few years. I’m impressed that and Blackboard Inc. are making an attempt to zero in on this issue through K-20 strategic initiatives. We have an opportunity to address the concerns of tomorrow’s students through collaboration and a shared partnership from K to 20.


1 Comment so far
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Thanks for the valuable links to the video and report! The information you posted about K-12 students will be helpful in our research and planning.

Comment by gbrand

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