The survey polled 1,000 6th-8th grade students and found that 68% of Latino students use laptops for homework, compared to 64% of African-American students and 62% of non-Latino white students. Additionally, 38% of Latino students use tablets for homework, and 49% of Latino middle school students use smartphones for homework.
“We have to level the playing field,” says Stuckey Kirk of the Verizon Foundation. She says that giving students the tools and knowledge to use mobile devices to learn math and science “can hook them for life, and graduating with a STEM degree can give many of these children higher earning potential.”
The survey also reports that Latino students use the devices more frequently, with 65% of Latino students using laptops more than once a week, compared to 57% of African-American students and 54% of non-Latino white students.
As the students grow up, the data remains consistent: A report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that 66% of Latino adults use their cell phones to access the internet, compared to 60% of African-American adults and 52% of non-Latino white adults.
“[W]e have found in our research that using social technology is a much more efficient way to reach some of the goals teachers are trying to reach,” says Dr. Reynol Junco, a Faculty Associate atHarvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “It takes a little bit of extra time, but the payoff is so much more when you integrate this new technology in the classroom.”
This article was first published in Latinovations.[Photo by Highways Agency]