New Speak Up Survey to collect information about districts’ needs to support remote online learning

As you may have heard or read, it is anticipated that the US Congress and some state governments will be considering new funding to support school and district investments to provide continuity of learning in their communities impacted by COVID-19. Lots of people are providing suggestions as to what that new funding should include, anticipated to be as much as $2 billion. The suggestion lists include WiFi hotspots, Chromebooks, tablets, laptops, content filtering, digital content, teacher training and more. All are important and necessary but the real problem is that many school and district leaders have not been given an opportunity to weigh in on what they really need in their local communities and how the new funding will impact continuity of learning in their district and community. These decisions are too important to make based upon a hunch, a guess, an outdated assumption or even the wish list of a lobbyist. Let’s get real about this and listen to the experts on the front lines about what they really need.

As you may already know, at Project Tomorrow our mission is built around listening to the authentic voices of K-12 stakeholders including students, parents, teachers and administrators. Since 2003, over 5.7 million education stakeholders have shared their views with us about new learning models including the use of technology and digital tools to support learning in school and out-of-school. That includes asking students about their at-home access to technology since 2003 and specifically about the Homework Gap since 2015. Through our reports, infographics and briefings, the Speak Up data is used annually to inform education programs, policies and funding at the federal, state and local levels. We are therefore pleased and honored to provide an easy and efficient way for K-12 school and district administrators to be part of these national discussions about new funding. The new Speak Up Planning Survey about Needs for Remote Online Learning is now open now for input from school and district leaders. Administrators can access the survey to give input in two ways:

https://bit.ly/SpeakUpRemoteNeeds

https://bit.ly/DistTechFeedback

The overall focus of this short 5-minute survey is the following critical question: What are your infrastructure and organizational needs to support remote online learning with your students? Specific questions ask administrators about:

• Priority needs today for mobile devices, hot spots and out of school access infrastructure
• Priority needs for content, apps, teacher support tools and teacher training to support remote online learning
• Challenges associated with school closures and implementation of remote online learning
• Perception on the skill and comfort of teachers to implement various aspects of remote online learning
• What administrators see as the big takeaways from their experience with remote online learning during this COVID-19 crisis

This new data from school and district administrators will help policymakers understand not only what districts need today but what they will need in the future to ensure a continuity of learning over the summer and into the new school year. So, what are we going to do this critical feedback from administrators?

Step #1: Share the aggregated data with policymakers in Washington DC and in states to inform decisions about new funding to support schools and districts during the COVID-19 crisis. We take seriously our role as the unbiased guardian of these feedback and will ensure that the priority needs of our K-12 leaders are heard loud and clear! We will also analyze the data and report on differences by community type, size of district and other attributes that can ensure that a “one size fits none” situation doesn’t occur.

Step #2: We will provide school and district leaders that share their views with us with a comparative Speak Up data report on the responses from their peers and colleagues in their state and nationwide to see how their needs compare with others.  It is our goal that the Speak Up data from this short survey will have a double ROI – helping to ensure that the new funding meets the real needs of schools and districts, and that the comparative data helps enhance local planning and decision-making.

The survey is open to all K-12 school and district administrators. All data collected is kept confidential. We will not share any school or district specific data with any companies, vendors or suppliers. As always, we value our partnership with schools and districts and respect the importance of this data to inform this new potential funding. While we appreciate the need for expediency in supporting K-12 education with new funding, we also believe that it is important the decisions are made based upon the real authentic feedback of our K-12 leaders on the front lines. We encourage district leaders to share this information with their colleagues, both internally and at other districts. And to complete your Speak Up survey today as well! Your voice is critical in this discussion. Thank you for your leadership.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact me directly.  Let’s keep this conversation going!

Julie

Julie A. Evans, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer, Project Tomorrow
jevans@tomorrow.org

Free webinar: Moving Beyond Textbook Replacement to Personalize the Student Learning Experience

Free webinar with FuelEducation
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 
2PM Eastern Daylight Time
 

Many schools and districts have implemented a 1:1 initiative or various other types of digital tools to enrich learning. But how do educators move beyond textbook replacement to enhance the learning experience and truly customize learning for each student?

In this webinar, Julie Evans will share national findings from Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Research Project. Conducted annually, the Speak Up Projects collects and reports on the authentic views of K-12 students, parents and educators nationwide on the benefits as well as challenges of digital learning. Belvoir Christian Academy will share how they have overcome the obstacles of diminishing resources and low enrollment to create a successful personalized learning experience for their middle school students. Cathy Butterworth, a former administrator, will share the story of how she has evolved to being a mentor teacher of the Belvoir online program and how she has adapted to her new role.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to create engaging digital content that moves beyond textbook replacement
  • Best practices for evolving the teaching style to complement a digital learning model
  • How students perceive personalized learning and why they find it more beneficial

 

Speakers
  • Julie Evans, CEO, Project Tomorrow
  • Cathy Butterworth, Mentor Teacher, Belvoir Christian Academy
  • Frank Streufert, Principal, Belvoir Christian Academy

The 2015 Project Tomorrow Innovation in Education Awards are now open for nominations!

Now in its 10th year, this award and scholarship opportunity celebrates and showcases school programs, educators, and students for their innovative use of science, math, or technology in the classroom and community. We are seeking nominations from schools throughout Orange County in the following three categories:

  • Innovative School-Wide Program ($1,000 Winner Award, $250 Finalist Award)
  • High Impact Teacher ($1,000 Award, $250 Finalist Award)
  • Emerging Student Innovator ($1,500 Scholarship, $500 Finalist Scholarship)

This year’s awards will be presented at the 22nd Annual High-Tech Innovation Awards dinner reception on Thursday, October 8th, 2015, in conjunction with OC Tech Alliance’s own corporate awards. Award recipients will be hosted, along with a guest, at the reception and will receive regional and national recognition through both online and traditional media outlets.

Please help us spread the word and take a moment to identify and recognize innovation at your school.

How?
1. Nominate a student, teacher, or innovative school-wide program (You can even nominate yourself!)
2. Let people know about this award opportunity! Pass along this information to teachers, counselors, and parent groups and encourage them to participate. More information can be found here:

Why?
1. Reward Innovation: Your teachers and students deserve financial support and recognition for their innovative projects.
2. Positive PR: Let the community, the county, and even the nation, know about your school and its accomplishments.
3. Build relationships with local business leaders: Over 300 business leaders from Orange County will hear about your school’s innovations at the High-Tech Innovation Awards dinner.

All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, May 15th, 2015 for consideration. More information and the nomination forms can be found online at our website. For additional information, please contact Kelly Stump at 949-609-4660, ext. 11 or innovation@tomorrow.org.

Thank you, in advance, for participating and for all you do to develop tomorrow’s innovators!

NSBA Education Technology Site Visits

Since 1987, the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network has hosted education technology site visits that give educators a first-hand experience of successful technology programs in districts. Through these site visits, educators get an in-person look at successful methods and essential conditions for technology implementation at their schools.

From the past 28 years of site visits, the NSBA has seen that district leaders often cite these visits as an important factor in creating technology programs. The site visits take place at schools within the host district and include classroom observations, mini-briefings, and conversations with students, staff, board members, and community partners. Participants gain insight on how district staff implemented their vision, and in some cases, what changes they would make if starting over.

If you are interested in starting an education technology program within your own school or district, check out the upcoming site visits later this month:

Prince William County Public Schools
Manassas, VA
April 22-24, 2015
Click here for more information

Mentor Public Schools
Mentor, OH
April 26-28, 2015
Click here for more information

Kent School District
Kent, WA
April 29-May 1, 2015
Click here for more information

To learn more about the program, visit the education technology site visit homepage. If you would like more information regarding the site visits, please contact Ann Flynn at aflynn@nsba.org.

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Around the Web Wednesday! Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and technology. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!

Getting to Know the Project Tomorrow Team

Happy Monday!

We hope you all had a great weekend! Today we would like to introduce you to Kelly Stump, our Program Support Coordinator – Special Projects!

Kelly Stump
Program Support Coordinator – Special Projects
Project Tomorrow
949-609-4660 x11 voice
 

Kelly joined the Project Tomorrow team as a Program Support Coordinator in 2015. In addition to supporting education research and other projects, she also coordinates several events such as the annual Innovation in Education Awards and the Youth Leadership Summit. Kelly has always had a passion for education. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Southern California, she spent six years teaching an environmental science program with the Orange County Department of Education. At Project Tomorrow, Kelly hopes to continue to support and encourage students to pursue their passions through education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, hiking, and reading.

CoSN 2015: 10 Reasons Why Flipping the Classroom Can Change Education

Last week’s 2015 CoSN Conference in Atlanta, Georgia featured several sessions about digital learning, special programs, educational technology, and an interesting overall dialogue about K-12 education technology. One spotlight presentation, held by Kathleen Fulton, president of Fulton Creative Consulting, listed the “Top 10 Reasons Why Flipping the Classroom Can Change Education.” Check out the list below:

  1. Maximizes class time
  2. Individualizes instruction
  3. Creates peer learning opportunities
  4. Improves effectiveness
  5. Excites teachers
  6. Interests students
  7. Flipping benefits parents
  8. It uses resources effectively
  9. Builds 21st Century skills
  10. Flipped classrooms could be the future of education
To learn more about each reason, as well as Fulton’s caveats for each reason, check out the original article, “CoSN 2015: 10 Reasons Flipped Classrooms Could Change Education” by D. Frank Smith (EdTech Magazine). You can also learn more about flipped learning through Kathleen Fulton’s book of the same name.
During the fall of 2014, over 521,865 K-12 students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members participated in the 12th annual Speak Up online surveys facilitated by the national education nonprofit organization, Project Tomorrow© in conjunction with the Flipped Learning Network™.
For the third year in a row, specific questions were asked of teachers, librarians, and building and district administrators on flipped learning and the use of videos in the classroom. Educators and administrators weighed in on professional development when learning how to flip a class. Students lent their voices on flipped learning, videos as homework, and how (and how often) they use learning and social media tools. Click here to learn more.

CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for district technology leaders. For over two decades, CoSN has provided leaders with the management, community building, and advocacy tools they need to succeed. Today, CoSN represents over 10 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education.

Scholarship opportunity for high school seniors in Orange County, CA and Salt Lake County, UT

Are you or do you know a high school senior in Orange County, California and Salt Lake County, Utah who will be pursuing a STEM Bachelor’s Degree? Check out this scholarship opportunity from our friends at Edwards Lifesciences:

Edwards Lifesciences is passionate about improving the quality of life around the world and strengthening the communities in which we live and work. The Edwards Lifesciences Scholarship Program was launched to increase access to higher education and to promote careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Through this program, 10 Orange County, California and Salt Lake County, Utah high school seniors pursuing STEM bachelor’s degrees will be selected to receive a four-year scholarship totaling $10,000 ($2,500 per year) from The Edwards Lifesciences Fund. In addition, the scholarship recipients will have an opportunity to visit the Edwards Lifesciences campus in Irvine or Draper and apply for internship opportunities with the company.

Scholarship Criteria:
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a current high school senior who is a resident of Orange County, California or Salt Lake County, Utah
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university for the 2015-2016 academic year pursuing a major in a STEM field
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Note: Children of Edwards Lifesciences employees are eligible to apply

Important Dates:

  • March 2015 – Scholarship application available for 2015 -2016 academic year
  • April 11, 2015 – Application deadline
  • By May 31, 2015 – Scholarship Recipients Announced
  • July 30, 2015 – Scholarship Award Ceremony at Edwards’ corporate headquarters in Irvine
  • August 2015 – First half of scholarship mailed to students ($1,250)
  • December 2015 – Second half of scholarship mailed to students ($1,250)

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Around the Web Wednesday! Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and technology. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!

Obama announces over $240 million in pledges at White House Science Fair

Yesterday at the 2015 White House Science Fair, President Obama announced over $240 million in pledges to inspire more students – especially those from underrepresented groups – to pursue education in science, technology, engineering, and math. Included in Obama’s announcement were:

  • $150 million philanthropic effort to empower a diverse cadre of promising early-career scientists to stay on track to become scientific leaders of tomorrow;
  • $90 million “Let Everyone Dream” campaign to expand STEM opportunities to under-represented youth;
  • $25 million Department of Education competition to create science and literacy themed media that inspires students to explore;
  • 120 universities and colleges committing to train 20,000 engineers to tackle the “Grand Challenges” of 21st century; and,
  • CEO coalition Change the Equation committing expand effective STEM programs to an additional 1.5 million students this year.
This year’s White House Science Fair focused on diversity and included students from underrepresented backgrounds. The Fair also featured more women and girls in science than in previous years, with over 100 students from more than 30 states. Among the participants were a high school student from Arizona who created an algorithm to identify other medical applications for existing drugs, a student from Pennsylvania who designed an innovative carbon-dioxide powered battery, and a group of 6-year-old “Supergirls” who invented a batter-powered page turner to help people with disabilities read books.
To learn more about the White House Science Fair and yesterday’s events, watch the video above or visit the White House Science Fair’s homepage and the fact sheet about Obama’s new STEM commitments.