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Section 1: Student Use of Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom

This section presents nine indicators based on analyses of the most recently available nationally and internationally representative survey data that provide an overview of student habits related to digital learning resources (DLR) outside of the classroom. The first six indicators describe the percentages of children in the United States who have access to and use computers and the Internet in their homes and other locations outside of school. Information is presented for children overall as well as by characteristics of children, their families, and their home locations. The final three indicators provide comparisons within the United States and at the international level regarding access to DLR outside of the classroom.

Access to and Use of Digital Learning Resources in the United States

Results from the indicator analyses show that 94 percent of children ages 3 to 18 had a computer at home and 61 percent of children ages 3 to 18 used the Internet at home in 2015 (Indicators 1 and 2). The percentages of children having computer and internet access were higher for children who were older, whose parents had higher levels of educational attainment, and whose families had higher incomes. For those children who had access to the Internet in 2015, the two locations with the highest reported levels of internet access were at home (86 percent) and at school (65 percent), and the two most common means of internet access at home were a high-speed internet service and a mobile internet service or data plan (Indicators 3 and 4). In 2015, about 88 percent of 8th-graders and 83 percent of 4th-graders reported that they used a computer at home, and 80 percent of 8th-graders reported using a computer for schoolwork on a weekday (Indicators 5 and 6). The percentages of students using a computer at home and using a computer for schoolwork varied by student and family characteristics.

Access to Digital Learning Resources at the State and International Level

The percentages of households with computer and internet access varied by state. For example, the percentage of households with internet access ranged from 62 percent in Mississippi to 85 percent each in New Hampshire and Washington (Indicator 7). When comparing the United States with other countries, the United States had higher percentages of students with computer and internet access than the average of countries participating in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Indicator 8). Similarly, the United States had a higher percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds using spreadsheet or word processing software every day than the average of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Indicator 9).