Safer students. Better learning.

The Top 5 Findings from the 2018 Benchmark Report

Marielle Gilbert Marielle Gilbert February 15, 2018

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At GoGuardian, we were curious. We were curious about trends in Chromebook usage among K-12 students nationwide and about how students were using school devices to learn. We wanted to get an inside look into how students were using their Chromebooks, and discover organic trends in student engagement.

So, we examined the aggregate, anonymous device usage of 5 million K-12 students across the country. What resulted was our three-part Benchmark report, which reflects student online activity across grade levels and subject areas in the fall of 2016 and fall of 2017. Our findings were surprising, enlightening and even exciting. Here’s a peek into what we discovered.

Which websites are students visiting on school Chromebooks...and which are getting blocked? Find out in the latest report on student device usage in K-12 education. 

1. G Suite for Education Sites Top the List

It’s perhaps no surprise that G Suite for Education (GSFE) far surpassed other sites and apps in student usage metrics, accounting for six of the top ten educational sites. According to the New York Times, more than half the nation’s primary and secondary school students use G Suite. Google apps and sites were so popular that we had to devote a separate section to GSFE so that it didn’t outweigh the other findings. G Suite for Education - including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.- account for 68.5% of total time spent by students on the top 100 sites. As G Suite is “the productivity tool most frequently used” by 68% of educatorsGoogle apps are likely to continue to dominate in coming years.

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2 . A Rise in Gamification & Digital Studying Tools

The data shows a meteoric rise in the gamification of learning, with Kahoot holding the #1 spot for Educational Sites overall and Cool Math Games taking the #1 spot for Trending Sites (which evaluated year-over-year growth). Quizlet occupies the #2 spot in Top Educational Sites overall, and the #1 spot for middle school and high school students. According to Quantcast, Quizlet now ranks among the top 50 websites in the U.S., ahead of popular sites like Pinterest. This finding is consistent with movements in the larger edtech landscape, where digital flashcards, self-made quizzes, and online study tools are on the rise.


3. Language Arts on Top Overall, Math at Home

When we compared our findings by subject, students spent more time on websites related to Language Arts and English than any other subject area in the top 500 visited websites. Meanwhile, websites offering personalized learning experiences were prevalent across all grade levels, with Khan Academy in the top ten sites at the elementary, middle school, and high school grade levels. When analyzing time spent on academic sites at home, Math far exceeds any other subject area. 32.87% of student time spent at home was spent on Math sites, 15.07% on History and News sites, 7% on English and Language Arts sites, and only 1.58% on Science sites.


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4. More Device Usage at Home

Today, there are more Chromebooks in schools than ever before. As reported by Edsurge and The Journal, Google Chromebooks have captured the dominant share of the K-12 mobile computing market in the United States for the second year in a row. Google Chrome OS's share of school-purchased mobile devices surged to a 59.8 percent share in 2017, up 21 percentage points from 2014.

 This rise in Chromebooks has not only influenced students’ use of devices at home: it’s put it in hyperdrive. The largest percentage increase in device usage at home was at the elementary school level, increasing 132%: from 11.7% in 2016 to 27.2 % in 2017. Overall, Chromebook usage at home was more prevalent in the higher grade levels: 53.4% of middle school devices, and 57.1 percent of high school devices were used by students at home in 2017. At home, students spent 68.2 % of their time on Academic sites, and 31.8% of their time on Non-Academic sites.

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5. Taking Devices Home Encourages Digital Citizenship

The rise in students taking devices home points to a larger movement focused on achieving greater equity and accessibility to technology in schools across the country. As detailed in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan, students need frequent and appropriate access to technology to effectively communicate, research, create, prepare for the workforce...and acquire valuable digital citizenship skills. Digital citizenship encourages students to be “good citizens” online, and teaches them how to be both respectful and safe in online communities.Taking devices home encourages learning within appropriate boundaries, effectively extending the school day and enabling students to practice good digital citizenship at home and at school.

Ultimately, we live in an unprecedented era of innovation when it comes to technology and learning. The 2018 Benchmark Report offers an inside look at the state of edtech today. It also informs where education is going, and how learning is evolving in our hyperconnected time.

Martin Fischer once said, “All the world is a library to the inquiring mind.” With Chromebooks, new apps, and student device usage on the rise, that library has expanded across platforms and devices and far beyond the walls of the classroom.

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Topics: Technology

Written by Marielle Gilbert

Content Manager

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