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Even in a Tough Economy, Educational Technology Still Seen at the Top of School Supply Lists

(ARA) - On the heels of recent reports indicating only slight increases in sales for back-to-school clothes and supplies, a new survey indicates that parents are placing high value on educational technology. More than 1,700 parents of middle and high school students from across the United States responded to questions about anticipated spending, key drivers for product purchases and how beneficial they perceive these tools to be for their child’s education. Overall, respondents said that they are placing greater emphasis on preparing their child for the school days ahead by supplying them with the proper tools for success, including educational technology.

“Parents are seeing an increase in their children’s use of technology as more and more teachers are incorporating educational handhelds into lessons and activities,” says Tom Ferrio, vice president of Texas Instruments Educational & Productivity Solutions. “In fact, more than 95 percent of those surveyed said they have seen the role of technology increase in their children’s studies; a number consistent with last year’s survey results. With our nation’s eye turned toward increased standards and accountability, parents and teachers alike are intensifying their commitment to prepare our students today, for the world of tomorrow.”

Despite today’s bad economy and high unemployment rate, 41.7 percent of parents still anticipate spending more than $100 on classroom supplies and back-to-school technology for the upcoming school year, while 17.9 percent anticipate spending more than $250 per child.

Results from this survey also concluded that parents are gaining a better understanding of the importance of educational devices and how they positively impact the classroom environment. The survey shows 94.1 percent of parents feel the use of technology in education has benefited their child’s ability to learn and, as such, are more willing to invest in these products. In order to support these higher dollar purchases, however, parents indicated they must feel comfortable with the product’s use in a broad array of classes such as math, science, English and history. More than 70 percent of parents say they trust the teacher or school recommendation over any other influence on their educational technology purchasing decisions.

“Parents must keep in mind that not all technology is suited for the classroom,” said Ferrio. “There is a multitude of ‘tech gear’ available that serves little educational value but might be the latest and greatest gadget to hit the stores. Not surprisingly, various surveys have already indicated that these items will be low on parents’ priority lists, with consumers indicating they will spend even less on them than previous years.”

Of those surveyed, 63 percent of parents’ children use a graphing handheld in school and 48.4 percent actually own a graphing handheld. These figures compared to only 29.3 percent owning a personal computer or laptop at home or school, and only 5.8 percent owning a PDA.

“Consumer purchasing surveys are very interesting right now, considering the lingering poor condition of the economy,” says Mike Travis, president of Equation Research. “Results across the board are showing that people are scrutinizing dollars, and the true value of the product is taking a front seat to bells and whistles. The data we uncovered with this particular survey supports that parents are more inclined to purchase handheld graphing technology because of the educational value they perceive in it rather than products such as PDAs and mobile phones that don’t provide this for their teens.”

Commissioned for a second year by Texas Instruments, the leader in handheld educational technology, and conducted by Equation Research, the survey found that an overwhelming amount of parents (85.8 percent) view the role of technology in their child’s education as very important to their understanding and comprehension of concepts and curriculum. These educational tools, such as the TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, are pervasive throughout American high schools and are often required on state-standardized tests. Teachers, who integrate educational handhelds into their lessons, many times recommend that parents purchase them for their teens so the benefits they feel in the classroom extend to homework and studying at home.

“I know technology is important for my children’s education, but quite frankly, I don’t know enough about what’s best for their learning to make the decision on my own,” says Scott Jones, parent of a seventh and eleventh grader in Dallas. “I rely on my child’s teachers to be the experts and guide me in this process. With their recommendation, I feel good about spending the money, knowing that it’s an investment that will serve many purposes; the highest of which is greater success in the classroom.”

For additional information on educational handheld technology, visit education.ti.com on the Web.

Courtesy of ARA Content




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