Author Archives: project_tomorrow

Speak Up Participation extended to Jan. 26

Chances to Win Prizes for Sharing Your Opinions!

We have heard from a number of districts who have been navigating snow (and cold weather!) days. In response to their requests, we are extending the deadline for Speak Up 2017 participation to January 26, 2018. Everyone can take advantage of the extra week!

We also announced 2 NEW opportunities this week!

  • Teachers can enter to win a $250 Amazon gift card for classroom supplies, in addition to being eligible for a free registration to ISTE 2018!
  • Communications officers can enter to win a $250 grant towards any 2018 professional conference of their choice.

We’ve added an entry option for these prizes to the end of the teacher and communications officer surveys (identifying information will not be connected to the surveys, keeping responses confidential).

We also added a final question to the surveys for librarians (to win a registration AASL’s National Institute) and administrators (to win a registration to AASA’s National Conference on Education). Administrators, teachers, tech leaders can also win a registration to upcoming conferences from CUE, ISTE, MassCUE, METC, NCCE and TCEA through the end of the survey period.

>> Take your Speak Up survey today! <<

Speak Up Photo, Video and Design Challenges – Deadlines Extended!

Our challenges offer additional chances to WIN gift cards!

Video Challenge – Class Entry

Create a 30-second video about how/why using technology in your classroom is important for student learning. Awards for classroom submissions. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Photo Challenge – Class Entry

We’re looking for the best demonstration of Speak Up participation spirit in a photo – be creative! Awards for classroom submissions. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Design Challenge & Contest – Student Entry

Calling student designers…We’re looking for a new participation badge for Speak Up 2018. Awards for student designers or design teams. Prizes for 3 finalists and the winner.

Details for all the challenges:

Speak Up 2017 – Sneak Peek at Preliminary Data!

We pulled some preliminary data from surveys submitted from more than 10,000 teachers, 26,000 high school students and 8,000 parents during the early weeks of Speak Up 2017. Take a peek at what they are saying this year about their views on technology and learning, digital citizenship, views on math education and more!

Remember, Speak Up is open for participation through January 19, 2018. So, if you want to add your opinions or learn what your own teachers, students and parents have to say, get started with Speak Up 2017! Note: we will be hosting an informational webinar on Friday, December 8th. Register, join and get your questions about the free research tool answered!


Top 3 uses of technology by teachers to facilitate student learning:

  • 64% Use digital games with my students
  • 50% Customize digital content I find online to meet my class needs
  • 48% Post class information to a school portal

81% of teachers say they learned how to do something from an online video.

68% of teachers say they feel somewhat or very comfortable teaching good digital citizenship behaviors and strategies to my students.

“Planning time to work with my colleagues” is still the #1 need (at 64%) among teachers to more efficiently and effectively integrate digital content, tools, and resources into daily instruction in their classrooms.

54% of teachers say their students are collaborating with other students as a result of how they have integrated technology within class.

While 64% of teacher say they are better able to differentiate instruction because of technology, 46% put this topic on their wish list for PD.


Only half of all high school students say they are learning about any digital citizenship skills in school; 49% say their parents have had the biggest influence on what they know about being a good digital citizen, followed by learning on my own (41%) and classroom teacher (39%).

90% of high school and 77% of middle school students have a smartphone for their own use.

49% of high school students say they are learning at their own pace as a result of using technology

12% of high school students said “Sometimes I cannot do my homework because I don’t have access to the Internet outside of school.”

18% of high school students said they have  used the Internet to do homework or schoolwork assignments on a school bus or public transportation.

Middle school students say that as a result of using technology, they are getting better grades and test scores (53%) and developing creativity skills (49%).

Half of all middle school students said they use technology more outside of school than in school.


82% of parents say being successful with math will help their children develop problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Top concern among parents of their child’s use of technology at school continues to be: technology use varies from teacher to teacher (51%).

While most parents (87%) say they should have primary responsibility for teaching digital citizenship to students, 72% also selected classroom teacher as primarily responsible.

More than half of parents said children should start learning Internet safety and good digital citizenship behaviors in grades 1 to 3.

37% of parents said the best mobile situation for their child would be to use a mobile device that the school assigns for use at school and at home (top selection of several mobile device situations).

Source: Preliminary Speak Up 2017 data from online survey responses from more than 10,000 teachers, 26,000 high school students and 8,000 parents (October-November 2017). Final Speak Up 2017 data will be released in 2018.

Student Interest in Computer Science and Coding

Last fall, we asked students, parents, administrators and community members about their views on computer science and coding as part of Speak Up 2016. In honor of Computer Science Week and Hour of Code, we’re releasing these findings. (We want to hear from all education stakeholders this year! Speak Up 2017 is open for input until January 19, 2018.)

Students are interested!

67% of K-2 students are interested in learning “how to write programs to make computers do things, like in Scratch or Minecraft,” and 8% say they already do this. 61% of 3-5 students are interested, and 13% say they are already learning this skill.

Among the older students, 63% of middle school students said they would be interested in a class or after school activity to learn how to do computer programming or coding (up from 52% in 2014); 58% of high school students agreed (up from 44% in 2014). Just 6% of 6-12th graders are currently doing this.

Online learning is here. Students told us they have taken or would like to take computer science, programming and coding classes online. In 2013, just 20% of high school students reported interest in taking these classes online.

Student Interest in taking Computer Science, Programming or Coding Classes Online

Interest in coding and programming differs among boys and girls, especially by grade level. While the percentage of boys who are interested in learning how to code stays consistent from elementary through high school, the percentage of girls who are interested drops by 10 percentage points.

Students’ Interest in Learning to Code by Grade and Gender

Interest in coding translates into a greater interest and valuation on using technology for learning in general. Students interested in learning how to code have different perceptions on the value of technology for learning than students without that aspiration.

Students with an Interest in Coding Place Greater Value on Technology for Learning

 Gr 6-8 students who say they are VERY interested in learning how to code Gr 6-8 students who say they are NOT interested in learning how to code ALL Gr 6-8 students
Knowing how to use tech is important skill for my future 60%46%52%
Using tech in school increases my interest in learning 47%32%39%
I wish my teacher used more tech in our classroom39%27%32%

A relationship exists between coding experience and STEM career interest. Among students who are already in computer programming programs or classes, 41% of middle schoolers and 46% of high schoolers say they are very interested in a career in a STEM field. Comparatively, only 1/3 of all students in grades 6-12 say they are very interested in a STEM career.

Parents, district administrators and the community agree that computer science and coding classes will help students develop the workplace skills they will need to be successful in the future. It is interesting to see greater support for coding and programming among parents and administrators.

Parents, District Administrators and Community Members Say Programming and Coding Will Help Students Develop Workplace Skills

Note: Support for students taking a coding or computer programming class to develop workplace skills increased among all adult audiences – 28% of parents selected this in 2014, 31% of administrators and 23% of community members selected this option just one year earlier, in 2015.

Source: Speak Up 2016 Research Project Findings – the results of the authentic, unfiltered views of 514,085 K-12 students, parents and educators nationwide. Speak Up is an annual research initiative of Project Tomorrow, a global nonprofit organization. Learn more about Speak Up and other research findings from Project Tomorrow at

The State of Digital Citizenship Education: Speak Up 2017 Questions

Given the current emphasis on digital citizenship, we added a series of new questions to Speak Up 2017 to help gauge the state of digital citizenship education. We know policymakers and business leaders will be interested in the national-level findings, but we hope that all the local schools and distircts will also use their findings to help them define and refine their own digital citizenship efforts.

Speak Up’s digital citizenship scope covers all the education stakeholder audiences and a variety of topics, including online safety, being an effective consumer of digital content, ethical and legal use, appropriate and inappropriate digital behaviors and more.

Schools and districts will learn:

  • the types of digital citizenship being explicitly covered by teachers and librarians this year,
  • what students say they are learning about digital citizenship, and
  • what parents think are important digital citizenship lessons for their children.

Speak Up asks each audience these questions so school leaders can compare and discover if their teachers say they are teaching X, but their students say they are learning Y and their parents are most interested in Z. (Or, the flip side and all stakeholders are on the same page!)

In addition, the surveys include questions about:

  • who should have primary responsibility for teaching digital citizenship,
  • how comfortable teachers and parents feel teaching good digital citizenship behaviors and strategies,
  • how students currently rate their own digital citizenship skills,
  • and more.

You can view all the questions related to digital citizenship on this year’s surveys by contacting Amber Taylor (

If you are already participating in Speak Up, start thinking now about how you will use this data in 2018: professional development, curriculum review, community forums, etc. And, if your school or district has not yet signed up to participate in Speak Up 2017, get started today! (Reminders: it’s free and open for participation until January 19, 2018.)

Future Ready Schools® Encourages Educators to Speak Up!

FRS Urges District Leaders to Lead Conversations on Technology for Learning

Future Ready Schools® (FRS)—led by the Alliance for Excellent Education—is thrilled to support Project Tomorrow’s 2017 Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, which provides an easy way for students, parents, educators, and members of the community to participate in local decisionmaking about technology, as well as contribute to state and national dialogues about education technology.

Since 2003, more than 5 million K–12 education stakeholders have participated in the annual Speak Up research project. Data findings are shared each year with federal, state, and local policymakers to inform education programs, policies and funding. Last year, more than 575 FRS districts participated in the Speak Up 2016 research project resulting in more than 110,000 individual surveys from students, teachers, school administrators, district administrators, librarians, tech leaders and parents. That equals a lot of informative data! This year’s survey is open from October 16, 2017, through January 19, 2018, and we are hoping the number of Future Ready districts increases significantly. See a snapshot of the Future Ready data from Speak Up 2016.

Like FRS, Speak Up is a free service to all U.S. schools and districts. Speak Up provides education leaders with

  • direct feedback from their staff members, students, and the community on needs and aspirations;
  • insights on how other school leaders around the country address key digital learning challenges; and
  • information on how others in the education community leverage technology to transform teaching and learning and prepare students for the future.

When asked about the value of the Speak Up survey, Sara Hall, vice president of digital learning at the Alliance for Excellent Education said, “It is not only important for Future Ready Schools to support districts in building their capacity to plan and implement student-centered learning, we must also ensure that students and educators are the center of local and national conversations about the impacts of technology on teaching and learning. Our partners at Project Tomorrow have done an excellent job over the years to collect, analyze, and publish data on ways students and educators leverage technology for learning in and out of school. Future Ready Schools (FRS) is pleased to find new ways to work together to highlight the work being done in FRS districts to improve the learning experience of all students.”

The Speak Up research project is informed by Project Tomorrow’s partners from education, private industry, and research policy fields. The data is often used by the country’s top education advocates to understand more deeply the changes in education technology implementation at the school and district levels. Through the seven FRS institutes in 2017, participants access Speak Up’s data to better understand how their peers are making progress with personalized learning aligned with the FRS framework.

“District and school leaders use the Speak Up service every year to monitor progress on strategic goals and to identify needs and trends that will guide future plans,” said Dr. Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow. “We look forward to offering this service and working more closely with Future Ready districts. Speak Up will help district leaders collect feedback on technology and learning from their stakeholders and use that data to inform their work to improve outcomes for all students.”

More information on Speak Up is available at

Cross-posted from Future Ready.

Speak UP 2017 is Open

Free Survey Tool for All Schools Helps Students, Parents, Educators and Administrators Inform Education Policy and Practice

Speak Up 2017 is open for participation until January 19, 2018.

More than 500,000 students, parents and teachers will share their views on technology and learning to inform policy at the local, state and national levels as part of the 15th annual Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning. Between now and January 19th, all K-12 students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members across the country have the opportunity to participate in the online surveys.

As part of our nonprofit mission, Project Tomorrow offers Speak Up as a free service to all schools and districts. Once registered, they receive both their local survey data and the national data at no cost at the end of the survey period. We also provide promotional materials, lesson plans, infographics, technical support and more.

In addition to questions on internet access and speed, mobile devices, gaming, aspirations and challenges, this year’s surveys also explore:

  • Digital citizenship
  • Cloud computing
  • Math attitudes
  • Data usage

Take the survey.

Register your school or district.

Don’t miss out on your schools’ chances to win great offers from some of our partners during Speak Up America Week (December 4-8, 2017) and Speak Up Appreciation Week (January 8-12, 2018). All surveys submitted during those weeks increase the related school/district’s chances to win national conference registrations (from AASA, AASL, ISTE), professional development from CoSN, an iNACOL institutional membership and more!

Speak Up is the only annual, national survey to ask students, educators and parents how they use – and how they would like to use – technology for learning. Past Speak Up data reports and infographics are available at

Since 2003, more than 5 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 30,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Apex Learning, Blackboard, Inc., BrainPOP, DreamBox Learning, iboss, Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Rosetta Stone and Scholastic Education.

Educators Rising California Will Elect Student Leaders in October

Educators Rising California is electing its first-ever group of Student Officers to serve on its Executive Council next month.

Educators Rising CA is dedicated to attracting promising students to pursue education-related careers and to helping them develop the skills and strong leadership traits that are found in high-quality educators. The organization also provides students with valuable leadership opportunities, including the newly announced State Officer positions.

Students elected to the Executive Council will serve as ambassadors for the organization and will have multiple opportunities to engage in activities to build their own leadership skills. All eligible students are encouraging to apply for candidacy as Educators Rising CA State Officer! (See Article VII, Section 1 in the application for eligibility.)

Effective state officers are articulate, self-motivated, outgoing, conscientious students with a passion for Educators Rising CA’s mission and vision. They will be key to promoting the organization as essential to the cultivation of tomorrow’s great educators. Officers must be comfortable with public speaking and connecting with education stakeholders (students, teachers, administrators, policymakers, etc.) both virtually and in person.

Educators Rising CA is looking for the following Student Officers:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Southern Region Representative
  • Central Region Representative
  • Northern Region Representative

The deadline to apply for one of the positions is October 20, 2017. Applications include a written form, resume, two letters of recommendation and a two-minute video. Elections will be held October 27-30th, and the new State Officers will be announced on Tuesday, October 31st.

Learn more about Educators Rising CA and the new Student Officer positions, and download the application today:


A Day in the Life of Today’s Students

As we see more and more technology in our schools, we wanted to take a look at how emerging technologies support learning on a daily basis – in and out of school. At this year’s Speak Up Congressional Briefing, we shared data on what “a day in the life” of a middle school student looks like today.

More than 138,000 students in grades 6 to 8 participated in Speak Up 2016. Here is some of what they told us about their technology use in school.

Technology use in schools data findings

The middle school students we profiled this year told us that technology allows them to learn at their own pace in ways that fit their individual styles, and that they are taking greater ownership of their own learning.

Technology use in schools data findings

That’s all just within the school day. We know, however, that students see learning as a 24/7 enterprise. So, we asked them how and where they are using technology to learn outside the classroom.

Tech and learning - outside of school

Tech and learning - outside of school


Find more Speak Up 2016 data findings on, including:

Designing a Dream School

Guest post by: Dr. R. Mark Beadle

Milton Hershey School

As I thought about this title, I remembered a story you have likely heard:

Early one morning, a mother went in to wake up her son.

Wake up son, it’s time to go to school!

But why, Mom? I don’t want to go.

Give me two reasons why you don’t want to go.

Well, the kids hate me for one,  and the teachers hate me, too!

Oh, that’s no reason not to go to school.  Come on now and get ready.

Give me two reasons why I should go to school.

Well, for one, you’re 52 years old.  And for another, you’re the Principal! Source

Maybe if we had dream schools, principals, teachers and even students would feel excited about coming to school. I feel blessed to have helped dream and deliver a dream school—one traditional and one online.

As part of Speak Up 2016, Project Tomorrow surveyed more than 5 million students, educators and parents about key trends and research in science, math, technology, and the future of education. They asked these stakeholders about their dream school. These are the responses from school administrators and high school students (sortable):

Augmented reality apps12%26%
Chromebook or laptop for every student to use at school77%67%
Cloud based communications and collaboration tools (e.g. Google Apps for Education, Microsoft Office 365)65%51%
Admins: Dashboard or portal to track student academic progress over time (e.g. classes taken, course grades, test scores, absences) even if students change schools. Students: Online site that tracks all of my school year information including grades, test scores and activities from kindergarten through high school even if I go to different schools61%59%
Digital content (animations, simulations, online articles and resources)51%46%
Google hangouts or other online group messaging in class32%48%
Interactive whiteboards52%50%
Internet access anywhere at school69%70%
Learning management systems (e.g. Blackboard)40%33%
Mobile apps for learning39%54%
Online or virtual classes35%41%
Online tests and assessments61%52%
Online textbooks58%53%
Online tools that help organize schoolwork and provide access to important information50%49%
Online tutors50%45%
Online, video and digital games31%50%
Online videos and movies31%51%
Social media tools for students to connect and work with others (e.g. blogs, wikis, social networking sites)31%44%
Tablet for every student to use at school43%42%
Tools to help students create media projects (e.g. video, audio)54%48%
Virtual reality experiences and hardware (headsets and devices)29%33%

Laptops and Internet access share the top two spots in both the student and the school leaders’ dream schools. Tablets are low on the list for the high school students surveyed. Half (49 percent) of the students report using a school owned device. Three-quarters (76 percent) report having their own laptop to use and 44 percent report having a tablet. It would seem that most students surveyed have their own device and do not need a school provided one. Only 4 percent report not having internet at home. So, another conclusion is that the top two items in a dream school are already happening for most students—laptops and Internet access. (Whether or not that access in school is fast enough and universal is another question.)

Some differences between what school leaders would have in a dream school and what students would have should be noted. School leaders ranked digital content, online tutors, tablets, media creation tools, and learning management systems much higher than students in their dream schools.  Students ranked mobile apps, online videos, and digital games much higher in their dream school than did school leaders.

This list of 20+ digital tools and strategies leaves no doubt that the dream school would be technology rich. It also shows the challenge of resourcing a school and training teachers to effectively use the variety of tools already available. It raises the question: Is it possible to keep up? Certainly, keeping up and delivering a dream school will require a reallocation of resources—both money and time.

Forty-one percent of the students said online classes would be part of their dream school (35 percent of school leaders said so). Yet only 3 percent report taking mainly online classes this year. This seems to be an area where schools could close the gap between reality and what is desired. They could deliver more choice and more personalization at a lower cost if they made a digital shift. More than a third (36 percent) of school leaders report already offering online classes and 57 percent report they have no plans to offer them (note: two-thirds of the leaders were not in high schools).

Students reported classes in these subjects as the most desirable for online learning: Computer Science, World Languages, the Arts, Psychology, and college or study skills. These subjects were reported to be most often already taken as an online class: English, Math, and Health. Sevenstar has partner schools offering their Health class online in the summer so students can take more rigorous classes or more fine arts classes in the regular school year.We find that the use cases for online learning are most often due to credit recovery needs or scheduling conflicts. Online classes are typically only utilized when it’s inconvenient to offer a credit in the classroom. Is this a lack of vision for the use of online learning by school leaders to enrich the learning opportunities for students?

The amount of data contained in the Project Tomorrow results provides a wealth of material to guide our decisions as school leaders.


The author: Dr. R. Mark Beadle was a Principal for over 20 years before helping to start Sevenstar, an online Christian school that has served over 40,000 students.  He thinks that being an educator today must be one of the best times ever to be involved in helping students. The future is bright with opportunity to make a difference. You can connect with him on Linked In or write

*The specific question for school leaders was: “Imagine you are designing a dream school for today’s students. Which of these tools or strategies do you think holds the greatest potential for increasing student achievement and success? (Check all that apply)  More than 2,000 leaders replied, and about 1/3 were at the high school level.

** The specific question for students was: Imagine you are designing your dream school. Which of these tools would have the greatest positive impact on your learning? (Check all that apply) The students were all in high school for the results above and numbered 109,030.

The picture at the top of the article is of a building at the Milton Hershey School (PA).