Students’ perceptions of school vs. learning – not the same thing!

Special release of selected California Speak Up 2016 data for the CUE 2017 National Conference

While 84 percent of California middle school students say that doing well in school is important to them, their interest in school vs. learning mirrors what George Couros has often talked about as a fundamental divide. For example, 57 percent of California middle school students like learning about new ideas, 62 percent like learning how to make or build things and 70 percent say that they like learning how to do things. However, only 49 percent are interested in what they are learning at school, and only a slight majority (52 percent) says that the subjects they are learning in school are important for their future.

But, is this disconnect in name only? Do the students’ belief statements really align with their actions or is this just the latest example of a generational angst?

Consider this: while one-third of students in middle schools and high schools in California admit that they are bored at school, 75 percent are regularly sourcing and watching online videos outside of school, on their own, to learn about things that interest them. Four in ten middle school students are using social media to learn about people’s ideas and to identify people who share their learning interests, not just posting selfies and random comments about celebrities. And, this may come as a surprise to some English teachers, 45 percent of California students are tapping into online writing sites to self-improve their writing skills.

This self-directed learning is purposeful and most importantly it is driven by the students themselves around what they perceive as learning needs or interests. This self-learning imperative actually represents a very organic form of self-blended, personalized learning empowered by a ubiquitous access to technology and an overwhelming hunger for information, knowledge and learning experiences that are more challenging and meaningful than what is happening in the classrooms at their school.

View our infographic: California Speaks Up! Results from Speak Up 2016 at CUE 2017

The same is true today for career exploration – students are more likely to want to find and watch a video about an aspect of a career that interests them or take an online personalized quiz to learn about their strengths than attend a standardized one size fits all after school program or summer camp for career exploration.

This disconnect is also manifesting itself in how students are doing homework. Sensing that in many communities, teachers were still reluctant to assign digitally based or internet based homework for a number of reasons including equity of access, the Speak Up surveys this fall probed on the frequency of the use of digital tools and the Internet outside of school.

First, we asked teachers how often they assigned homework or projects that relied upon digital tools or the Internet. Then, we asked school site administrators that same question about their teachers. Finally, we asked students how often they used the Internet or digital resources to support their homework or school related assignments. Here are the results for California:

  • Just 8 percent of teachers say that they assign digital homework daily or almost daily (for CUE members that jumps to 20 percent). 18 percent of teachers say that they assign digital homework at least weekly (34 percent for CUE members).
  • About 16 percent of school site administrators say their teachers are assigning digital or Internet dependent homework on a daily basis (almost 30% of administrators who are CUE members believe this to be the case for their teachers). One-third of school site administrators say their teachers are assigning digital or Internet dependent homework at least weekly (and half of administrators who are CUE members).

So, already we see a disconnect between teachers and administrators – and even CUE members – on perception vs. actual practice.

But here is the real rub: 40 percent of California middle school students say they are using the Internet daily to complete homework (and 67 percent say they are using the Internet several times a week). We see similar findings of high school students: 42 percent say they use the Internet for homework daily, and even for students in grades 3-5, 22 percent say they use the Internet daily for schoolwork).

Speak Up 2016: How often do California teachers assign homework assignments that require Internet access? How often do California middle school students use the Internet to do homework?

This makes the disconnect between teachers and administrators look like a narrow statistical gap while the difference between teachers and students is an imposing chasm.

Students are using the Internet to support school-based learning at almost 4 times the rate in which teachers say they are assigning those types of activities. Why is this? Because quite simply, as the students explain to us every year, the use of digital tools:

  • puts the students in control of their learning,
  • makes the learning process more efficient, and
  • personalizes the experience in a way that fits their needs, in a way that we are not yet replicating in the classroom.

This use of technology in learning has evolved way beyond engagement – for the students it has always been about their vision for a new type of learning experience that is socially-based, un-tethered and real world relevant.

Do our teachers and administrators know about this reality, and if so, how are they adapting to this sea change in their learning lives of our students? How are they moving from a school-centered rules and procedures to a focus on the student learning experience? How are they incorporating information such as the Speak Up Research about how our students are self-directing learning using digital tools and resources to transform the learning experiences for all students?

Lots of important questions. It is our nonprofit mission at Project Tomorrow to help every school and district find answers to these challenges. You can learn more about our work, the Speak Up data and how your school and district can gain free access to similar data about your students at our website www.tomorrow.org.

Download the related infographic on California Speak Up 2016 data.

Webinars for Teacher Prep Programs

Considering registering your program or university to participate in Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up, but have a few questions? Please join one of our upcoming informational webinars! If you are involved with AACTE, CAEP and/or UTeach, please join one of the following 30-minute webinars so you can get your questions answered about the research project and free service.

Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up is a unique opportunity for America’s next generation of teachers to share their ideas about how to leverage technology within learning, how they are being trained and what they expect when they enter the classroom.

Colleges, universities and programs that register and promote the surveys to their students will receive the national data findings as well as their own institution’s results in June – for free.

Project Tomorrow’s CEO, Julie Evans, will share more information about the project and how your programs can use the free tool during each webinar. Register via these links:

Read more about the project and webinars in Julie’s blog post on AACTE’s Ed Prep Matters.

Register today for the informational webinar via the links above and/or register your school’s contact to get started participating in Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up today! The Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up survey is open for student participation until May 1, 2017.

What do you think, CUE 2017?

For those interested in the results…

Q1: What percentage of 6-8 grade students say, “Doing well in school is important to me”?

32% of CUE2017 attendees chose the right answer of 84% & that was the top answer for the CUE audience

Q2: What percentage of 6-8 graders in CA say they regularly use online writing tools to improve their writing because they are interested (but not just because it was an assignment or homework)?

16% of CUE2017 attendees chose the right answer of 45%; Top answer for the CUE audience was 15% (half chose this answer)

Q3: What percentage of teachers say they assign homework that requires internet access DAILY or ALMOST DAILY?

26%of CUE2017 attendees chose the right answer of 8%; Top answer for the CUE audience was 40% (28% chose this answer – responses were almost evenly split among all answers)

Gaggle’s Student Online Safety Symposiums

Our friends at Gaggle are hosting a series of Student Online Safety Symposiums throughout spring. These symposiums are free for school and district administrators, cabinet members, and other educators responsible for student online safety.

Symposium speakers include Common Sense Education, school administrators, attorneys, representatives from law enforcement and others. Attendees will engage in strategic and tactical discussions, learn more about keeping students safe and enjoy plenty of networking opportunities. To attend, just click on a location near you at the list below to sign up.

Student Online Safety Symposiums

Feb 27, 2017: Los Angeles/Orange County, CA

Feb 28, 2017: Riverside, CA

March 1, 2017: Santa Clara, CA

April 11, 2017: Chicagoland

April 21, 2017: Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, PA

To learn more, visit http://www.studentsafetysymposium.com/

School Communications Officers: Win $500 Towards Conference of Your Choice!

We want to hear from school communications officers from across the country, so we are offering one more incentive during this last week of Speak Up! Spend 15 minutes taking the special Communications Officer Speak Up survey and be entered for a chance to win a $500 grant towards any 2017 professional conference you choose! The winning school PR pro can attend NSPRA’s 2017 National Seminar or any state NSPRA chapter 2017 conference (or other professional conference) and we’ll contribute $500 toward the registration and/or travel expenses.

School Communications Officer Chance to Win $500Take the Speak Up survey for Communications Officers – share your views, challenges, experience to be part of our national research project – and you will be prompted at the end of the survey to enter for your chance to win a $500 grant towards the 2017 conference of your choice. >>Navigate to the Communications Officers survey by selecting the Educators survey, then the District Administrator, District Tech leader, or Communications Officer survey.<<

This is also your chance to learn more about Speak Up and how you could use our FREE survey tool to learn more from your parents, community, staff and students!

If your schools participated in Speak Up this year, we are also offering one free infographic as well!

Surveys close this Friday, January 27th, so take the survey today! The winner will be announced on February 8th!

Speak Up: Free Tool to Gather LCAP Stakeholder Input

In California, a local control funding formula (LCFF) establishes base, supplemental, and concentration grants for all school districts and charter schools in place of previously existing K–12 funding streams, including revenue limits, general purpose block grants, and most of the 50-plus state categorical programs that existed before 2013. As part of the LCFF, school districts, COEs, and charter schools are required to develop, adopt, and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

We learned that the Ramona Unified School District has been using Speak Up to help them create and maintain their LCAP. Theresa Grace, Assistant Superintendent, Ramona Unified School District, explained it this way:

“All districts in California are required to write a Local Control Accountability Plan that outlines the district’s goals, actions and services. This plan is the guiding document for how educational funds will be spent in a district. A vital piece in developing a LCAP is stakeholder input. In our district, we use the Speak Up Survey to gather information from our students, teachers, parents and community members that directly influences the goals and actions in our plan. For instance, we are making a concerted effort to engage our students through the use of technology, so we are tracking student Speak Up feedback to see how we are doing. Is the technology working? How are teachers using technology in their instructional practice? Is technology readily available, or is access limited? Speak up data allows us to evaluate how we’re doing over time on these issues and make corrections as needed. It’s a great tool to help our district make funding decisions based on student, teacher, and community needs.”

We hope even more districts across the state of California take advantage of our FREE Speak Up surveys to help inform their LCAPs! Surveys are currently open until January 27, 2017. The next Speak Up surveys will open in October 2017. Feel free to contact us to learn more.

Are you using Speak Up for your LCAP plans or something similar in your state? Let us know

More time to Speak Up! Survey Period Extended to Jan. 27.

We try to be as accommodating as possible to schools and districts around the country who rely on Speak Up to help collect authentic feedback from their students, parents, staff and community members (for free!). We want you to have the time needed to gather as much local data as possible during our annual survey window. We had already extended the deadline into January (for the first time in 14 years) and now we are giving you a couple more weeks!

We heard from so many schools and districts last week asking for just a little more time to be sure they can gather as much data as possible that we’ve again extended the deadline. We even had some brand new districts ask for more time so they can start from scratch (using some of our promo tips & tools)!

You now have until January 27, 2017 to collect surveys

jan27

For those schools and districts who have already completed their efforts to collect data, did you know you can view and use your preliminary data already? Just use this link and follow the directions for your preferred option – you will need to input your state, the first 10 characters of your school or district name, and your administrator password. Your preliminary data results will be updated every Sunday. Final data will be available to all participating schools and districts on February 8th.

Take advantage of the additional time and encourage your community to Speak Up about technology and learning!

School PR Pros: Speak Up Offer

School communications officers: the annual Speak Up surveys close next week! Use the free tool to survey your parents, teachers, community and students. Learn directly from your audiences how they want to receive messages from your district! There is still time to participate, but surveys close January 27, 2017. (Deadline extended!)

We want to hear directly from you as a communications pro, and we’d also like to offer you a free infographic based on your district’s parent and community data. The more parents and community members who take the survey from your district by January 27th, the better data you’ll receive – and we’ll design an infographic for your use showing some of your local findings!

Example findings from Speak Up 2015: Parents Use of Social Media Networks

Example findings from Speak Up 2015: Parents Use of Social Media Networks

Participating districts will receive their data, plus state- and national-level data for FREE in February. Last year, we learned that nationally, more than 50% of parents want text messages from their schools. And, fewer were turning to social media. What would your parents say? Don’t miss this opportunity!

Some of the questions for parents on this year’s surveys (in English and Spanish) include:

  • What do you already know about your local schools? Check the items on this list that you already know about your local schools. (Options include: Qualifications of the teachers in your schools; What schools in your community that have been identified as needing improvement; Trends in student academic performance in your schools over several years; and more)
  • What is the most effective way for your child’s teacher(s) to communicate information to you about your child’s class activities or individualized academic progress? (Options include: Automated phone messages; Meetings; Handwritten notes; Push notifications through mobile app, and more.)
  • What is the most effective way for your child’s school or school district to communicate generalized school or district information and alerts to you? (Options include: Facebook; School portal; YouTube video channel; Text message to my mobile device, Twitter, and more.)

Start the process by taking the survey yourself! Last year was our first year surveying school communications officers and we learned so much, we decided to do it again! We hope you will take the 15-minute, confidential survey today! School communications officers can take the survey via this link. (select the “Educator” survey and then “District Administrator, District Tech leader, or Communications Officer”)

>>You can view some of the 2015 data findings from PR pros in this report we did with Blackboard.

If you’d like to receive the free infographic, please email Lisa Chu with the request.

Don’t miss our sessions at FETC 2017!

If you’re attending the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, FL from January 24 – 27, be sure to check out Julie Evans’s sessions below.

Julie Evans sessions at FETC 2017

Student Engagement, Teacher Empowerment: An Extended Evaluation of the Impact of Tablets

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Thursday, January 26 at 1PM
Orange County Convention Center – North 220F
Click here to learn more
While interest in K-12 mobile learning continues to increase, few studies have examined in-depth the classroom impact of using mobile devices and wireless technologies to support student learning and teacher productivity. In this session, the chief researcher that led a recent three-year evaluation study of a tablet project in Chicago will reveal how access to the devices in school and out of school changed 5th graders self-efficacy as learners and empowered their teachers to transform their instructional practice.

Augmented Reality in Education: Present Accomplishments, Future Visions

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Friday, January 27 at 10AM
Orange County Convention Center – North 220AB
Click here to learn more
Augmented realities (AR) for learning use mobile, context-aware technologies (e.g., smartphones, tablets) that enable participants to interact with digital information embedded within the physical setting. This session discusses current uses of AR in education, using case studies of three projects that span learning in both formal and informal environments (i.e., schools, universities, museums, parks, zoos).

Are you attending one or both of these sessions? If so, send us a Tweet through one of our accounts (@SpeakUpEd or @ProjectTomorrow). We look forward to seeing you there!