A brand new way to understand the impact of mobile learning in your district: democratizing evaluation for everyone
School district leaders have a new way to evaluate their mobile learning initiatives: the Speak Up Mobile Learning Impact Snapshot. Developed by the team at Project Tomorrow, building on more than a decade of evaluation studies and insights from the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, this new Snapshot is a research-based tool designed to help school leaders get beyond just “student engagement” as a level of success (or failure) of their mobile learning initiatives.
Increasingly, administrators, technology leaders and school board members are being asked to determine the ROI (return on investment) of school technology, to make the case to their communities that these technology investments are worth the expense, the professional development and the growing pains. Additionally, with the increasing concern of parents about too much screen time for their children, the impetus for schools and districts to present a case for why mobile learning is important is more critical than ever before.
This new tool was developed to help.
While we have seen huge growth in technology investments in schools, we know that relatively few schools or districts have conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of all of these mobile devices in the classroom. Rather, the approach has been mostly anecdotal, and while those vignettes or user stories are effective for painting a picture of the mobile device usage, they are no longer sufficient in many cases to build a compelling value case or to satisfy school boards and other governance bodies that are seeking more tangible outcomes to justify the investments.
What we have learned: many districts say that there are two predominant barriers to doing aa comprehensive evaluation of their mobile learning projects:
- A full-blown evaluation with an outside entity can be expensive and time consuming.
- Districts do not have the tools or expertise in house to do that work themselves.
Since 2007, Project Tomorrow has been designing and implementing mobile learning evaluations for schools, districts and philanthropic organizations who have funded mobile learning projects. We understand how to identify effective usage and the markers for implementing a high impact, sustainable mobile learning project. We understand how to collect valid data, both quantitative and qualitative feedback, from students, teachers and administrators and, more importantly, how to interpret that data to identify tangible outcomes as well as areas for improvement. (See some of our reports on our mobile learning project evaluations).
Our goal with the new Mobile Learning Impact Snapshot is to democratize mobile learning evaluation. Via this tool, we are providing every school or district with an easy and cost effective (free!) way to assess the impact of their mobile learning project.
We are providing this service as part of our internationally recognized Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning to any K-12 school or district that would like to use our surveys to collect feedback from their grade 6-12 students and/or teachers about the implementation of mobile devices in the classroom. The data collected will help school and district leaders understand:
- how the devices are being used to support learning,
- what the attitudes are of the students and teachers using those devices, and
- student and teacher views about how to make this mobile environment even better.
School and district leaders will be able to use this data to inform their school boards, parents and greater community about the value of the investments they have made and the impact of those decisions.
How is works:
- Schools and districts that have implemented some type of mobile learning (defined as students having access to tablets, laptops or Chromebooks within their learning experience in school) sign upto use the Speak Up Mobile Learning Impact Snapshot surveys to gain feedback from their Grade 6-12 students and/or teachers between now and Jan 31.
- The online surveys are only 15 questions and should take no longer than 12-15 minute to complete.
- Local data will be available to school and district leaders (along with comparative state and national level data) by February.
- Project Tomorrow will provide a free guide for school and district leaders to help them understand how to interpret the data.
- In March and April, Project Tomorrow will make a spring version of the Mobile Learning Impact Snapshot available for schools and districts to collect additional data from students and teachers. The focus of the spring surveys is to collect aggregated summative data on the mobile learning experience that can be compared to fall data.
- Project Tomorrow will provide another guide in May to help school leaders interpret data from both surveys (similar to pre- and post-survey type of data collection used in many evaluation programs).
- Districts and schools may opt just for fall data collection; others will choose to participate during both windows.
- Templates sharing your results with your school or district teams, parent community or larger community will be included in the fall and spring guides.
Just like Speak Up, this is 100% a free service. While this is not meant to take the place of a fully featured evaluation conducted by an organization like Project Tomorrow, it is meant to help schools and districts collect important data from their stakeholders and gain new understanding about the impact of their mobile learning projects.
To get started, districts or schools need to register a contact person to take part in Speak Up. Once registered, the district (or individual school, if not administering at the district level) will choose which tools to use. This year’s options include:
- Speak Up 2018-19 (past Speak Up participants may also choose to use longitudinal surveys from 2017 or 2016)
- Mobile Learning Snapshot (as an addition to Speak Up OR as a stand-alone tool)
- Teacher Professional Learning Snapshot (see this blog for more information)
Just like our annual Speak Up tool, administrators decide who they want to survey. Some districts may only want to survey high school students, science teachers, students at 2 of 4 high schools, etc. The tools are flexible to meet your needs!
All Speak Up data is confidential and only shared with your registered contact. Project Tomorrow does not share your data, rank your data or sell your data. We only share national- and state-level aggregated Speak Up data to help inform policy and practice.
Get started today with Speak Up and the fall Mobile Learning Impact Snapshot!