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Survey: Tablet Ownership Up Among H.S., College Students

Perhaps it should be no surprise, but tablet ownership among high school and college students is growing at an exponential rate, according to a second-annual survey by the Pearson Foundation, the nonprofit, philanthropic arm of educational content publisher Pearson.

Further, most of the roughly 1,200 college students and 200 college-bound high school seniors surveyed in January say they actually believe the prevalence of tablet technology will lead to a digital takeover of the textbook industry.

The results, released Wednesday, show that tablet owners more than quadrupled among college-bound high school seniors during the past year, with 17 percent surveyed this year claiming a tablet device as their own. It also more than tripled among college students, with a quarter of this year's respondents owning a tablet. There was no information about the ownership likelihood for high school seniors who weren't pursuing postsecondary education.

Further, 69 percent of high school seniors and 63 percent of college students said they believed tablets would effectively replace textbooks within five years, a time frame also set as a goal by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan when they announced the launch of the "Digital Textbook Playbook." That student belief could be more promising to ed-tech tablet enthusiasts than student ownership statistics, especially if it reflects that schools are receptive to adopting alternative forms of content from traditional print textbooks.

The results should also be encouraging for the Pearson Foundation's parent company, as well as its two major education publishing rivals, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and McGraw-Hill, which are all partners on Apple's new venture into e-textbooks. They'll also be heartened that, of those college students who owned tablets, nearly two thirds owned an Apple iPad, with the Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab far behind.

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