Broadband is as important as pencils and notebooks for American school students, according to a new study sponsored by digital subscriber line provider SBC Communications Inc.
The national survey of 1,002 students ages 6 to 17 indicates the Internet is becoming a common component in classwork assignments, and nearly 90 percent consider broadband connections very important in completing that work.
Among other findings, more than 70 percent of all kids surveyed say access to the Internet helps them make better grades. Among students age 12 and older, 90 percent use the Internet to find information for class assignments. About 80 percent say they are given Internet assignments to complete at school, while about 65 percent say they go online at home to complete that work.
The numbers are somewhat lower among kids age 11 and younger, where 70 percent use the Internet to look up information related to class work. About 60 percent are given Internet projects at school, and 30 percent say they complete the assignments online at home.
There are also indications students are increasingly turning to the Internet more than their textbooks. The survey found four out of five students age 12 and older seek better information online compared to their text books, and nearly 60 percent are bypassing dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias for online alternatives.
Speed also makes a difference in where students tap into the Internet for school work. About 70 percent of teen students with only dialup at home prefer to log on to broadband connections common at school, while 77 percent of their peers with access to broadband connections do so at home. Students with access to home broadband connections are also more likely to download pictures or illustrations for schoolwork, watch video or audio clips and spend more time online for schoolwork. They also spend more time online, with 55 percent spending three hours or more per week online, compared to 51 percent among dialup student peers.