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2015 Student Device Survey Results

Tomorrow we will send out our annual device Buyer’s Guide, but before we do that, we would like to share with you the results of our survey of how satisfied students are with the devices they currently have. These results come from surveying all of our students at all grade levels with a 99% participation rate.

Executive Summary:

Android tablets were the devices that students have the most trouble with and are the devices that students switch away from most frequently. All of the other types of devices continue to work well for students. With different types of devices excelling in different categories.

Devices used

Approximately 75% of our students have an iPad or an iPad Mini. This is not surprising as this is the device we indicated our teachers were most familiar with. It is also the type of device that we lease to students. Last year 65% of our students had iPads. About 3% of our students use Android tablets. This is down from 7% last year.  About 3% use Windows tablets which is comparable to last year’s numbers. 16% of our students use laptops (8% Apple, 8% Windows). This is a decrease from 23% a year ago, mostly due to seniors with laptops graduating. 2% of our students use Chromebooks which is the same percentage as last year. Note the relatively small number of Chromebooks and Windows tablets when you read the data below. It is a pretty small sample size.

Would/Did you switch devices?

Approximately 12% of students have switched devices since the start of the 1:1 initiative last year. Students with an Android tablet were the most likely to switch to a different device (71% of them switched). Most students who switched to another device chose the Apple iPad as their new device followed by a Windows laptop.

We also asked students if they would chose the same device again if they were starting the school year over. About 90% of them would keep the same type of device. Students with an Android Tablet (60%) or Windows laptop (40%) were the most likely to switch with the Apple iPad and laptop the most likely device to switch to. Chromebooks were high on the list of people who would switch last year, but are not this year. Either the right people have Chromebooks now or it takes a little bit of time to get used to them.

Note that Android tablets and Chromebooks tend to be lower priced devices and Apple iPads and Laptops tend to be higher priced devices, so this may just be students wanting a more expensive device.

Also worth noting is that we did not include students in the above statistics if they switched or indicated they would switch to a newer version of the same device, for instance, from an iPad 2 to an iPad Air.

Battery usage

Most (93%) of our students report that their devices have batteries that almost always last for an entire school day. Windows tablet and Chromebook users report that their battery life lasts the longest (averaging 8 hours) and Windows laptop users report that their batteries last the shortest amount of time (averaging 6 hours).  Laptop users in general report a higher chance of running out of battery power than tablet users. Keep in mind that these are survey results and that actual usage will vary by student and by day.  

Problems with school work.

Students with Android tablets reported the most problems working on school related tasks. Students with Windows laptops and Chromebooks reported the fewest problems. In this section of the survey we asked students how often they had problems with the following school related activities:

  • Getting assignments from eBackpack (best: Windows Laptops & iPads, worst: Android tablets)
  • Annotating assignments with ebackpack (best: iPads, worst: Android tablets)
  • Turning in assignments with eBackpack (best: Chromebooks, worst: Android tablets)
  • MAP testing (best: Chromebooks, worst: Windows tablets)
  • Using Google Drive/Google Docs (best: Chromebook worst: Windows tablets)
  • Using Moodle (best: Chromebook, Windows laptop, worst: none)
  • Using email  (best:none, worst: none)
  • Using Kahoot, Quizlets & Socrative  (best: Chromebooks & laptops, worst: none)
  • Using word-processing software  (best: laptops & iPads, worst: chromebook)
  • Using presentation software (best: laptops & Chromebooks, worst: Android tablets)
  • Using spreadsheet software  (best: laptops & Chromebooks, worst: none)

Chromebooks performed surprisingly bad on word-processing. This may be due to problems printing or turning in assignments rather than creating them (an area where we expect Chromebooks to beat tablets).

Of all of the questions we asked, this is the one that will most strongly affect the types of devices that we recommend. In general we will be suggesting that parents avoid older Windows and all Android tablets and devices with small screens in the future.

Satisfaction with devices for school work

We next asked students how satisfied they were with using their device when working on the same types of activities as above. Below are the averages of those 11 scores (5 is the highest).

Device 2015 Results 2014 Results
Chromebooks 4.7 4.0
Apple laptops 4.5 4.5
Windows laptops 4.2 4.2
Windows tablets 4.3 3.9
Android tablets 3.8 3.6
iPads 4.5 4.3

Satisfaction with devices for personal use

Because some parents buy devices as birthday or Christmas presents, we also asked how satisfied students were with their devices for personal uses. We asked them about listening to music, reading books, playing games, using social media, browsing the internet and reading news. In this area the Windows laptops and Android tablets were noticeably worse than the other devices. When you are picking a device for both personal and school use, make sure you get one with enough memory to use for both. 16GB is enough for school; you will want more to also use it as a personal device (or plan on using cloud services for that extra storage).

Last year the Chromebooks were one the bottom of this category. This year they are at the top. Once again, either it takes a while to get used to a Chromebook or Chromebooks are great devices, but only for certain people.

Device quality

Overall, students with Apple laptops and Apple iPads were most satisfied with the quality of their device. Students with Android tablets, Chromebooks, Windows laptops and Windows tablets were least satisfied with the quality of their devices. Specifically, we asked students about these items: Durability, Battery Life, Screen Size, Screen Quality, Camera Quality, Speaker Quality and Ease of Use.

Under Durability, Apple laptops came in first with Chromebooks and iPads a close second. Android devices were last by a wide margin.

For Battery Life, Chromebooks came in first with iPads a distant second. Windows laptops came in last. You can buy Windows laptops with just as good battery life as Apple laptops, but they cost more than cheaper Windows laptops (our buyer’s guide will have Windows laptops with a battery life over 7 hours).

Students with iPad Minis and smaller Android devices were the least happy with the Screen Size of their devices. Everyone else was satisfied with their screen size. Apart from Android tablet users, everyone was satisfied with their Screen Quality.

Students with Apple devices thought more highly of the Camera Quality of their devices than any other group. This result was mimicked by Speaker Quality with the exception that Android tablets also performed above average in this category.

As far as Ease of Use goes, students with Apple laptops, iPads & Chromebooks thought their devices were much easier to use than others. Users of Android tablets were at the bottom.

It should be noted that there are many different types of Android Tablets, and that the higher end devices scored higher than the low-end devices. Also, Android tablets with a more recent edition of the Android operating system tended to score higher. The same thing applies in general to all devices. Students gave higher marks to the iPad Air than to the iPad 2.

Having said that, the most obvious trend this year is that Android devices in general are performing worse than all others by a significant amount.

Ownership Information

We collected some new information this year including length of ownership for devices. As you might expect, 6th graders have owned their devices for the shortest amount of time at just under 6 months. 7th graders were averaging 18 months (right on track). 8th graders 20 months (just what you would expect). 9th graders were at 13 months, so a fair number of families purchased new devices for high school. 10 graders were at 17 months, 11th graders at 20 months and 12th graders at 18 months, indicating that some seniors were getting new devices for college. Of our students, about 20% reported that their devices were previously owned.

Conclusions

There were students who were happy with each kind of device and students who were unhappy with each kind of device. All we can present here are general trends. We hope these are helpful for you when you decide that it is time to purchase a new device. Having said that, you should probably have a good reason for choosing an Android device over one of the other options.

Later this week we will publish the list of devices that meet our requirements. If you are interested in receiving an email when we find a good price for one of these devices, please subscribe to our “Device Deals” email list here: http://bit.ly/LL-device-deals.

If you would like to look at the data that went into this survey, you can do so here: http://bit.ly/1MNcsci

Lloyd Sommerer
Technology Coordinator
Lincoln Lutheran

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