Author Archives: project_tomorrow

Allowing the Community to Speak Up to Effect Change (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Tim Smith, Supervisor of Instructional Practice & Technology Integration, Red Lion Area School District (PA). Tim will be sharing steps taken to implement the survey, design the process of change, and future plans and next steps on Wednesday at ISTE 2017.

Every team, at some point, draws a line in the sand. Some even draw that line in concrete. It represents a point at which they’ve had enough of the current or past and are moving forward. That’s tough. For so many, the comfort zone is just that, comfortable. Do the same thing, year in and year out, because that’s what they know. To change requires a physical and intellectual investment of time and resources. It also requires knowledge. Teams have to know what they want to accomplish and how those around them feel about where the organization is and where they want to go.

In the fall of 2016, at the Red Lion Area School District we used the Speak Up survey by Project Tomorrow to empower the students, parents, & community to have a voice and impact the direction of the District. The survey results clearly indicated a need and desire to move to a District-wide blended learning environment.


You see, 81% of our community said they wanted something other than a “traditional classroom,” yet 79% of our teachers provided this type of environment. Is there a disconnect?

And what about our students…?

…it was clear to our team that something needed to change.

What if we did nothing to change the way that we meet the needs of our students?

Without the use of the Speak Up survey, we wouldn’t have seen our needs so clearly. We’ve now embarked on a journey of Digital Conversion in the Red Lion Area School District that will ensure that students will have access to the tools and classroom environments.

At times this has been a challenging process. We have made a few messes, and refocused our efforts. We are truly excited about the the next several months of growth…

Come learn more about our journey and the future by joining me from 9:00 – 9:45 am on June 28 for How the Learning Community Can Speak Up to Create Change at ISTE 2017 during the Leadership Playground.

Original post on Tim Smith’s blog.

2017 Educators Rising California Conferences

We are excited to announce that this year’s conference season was a great success. With a total of over 700+ student attendees, and over 35 workshops offered. This year’s conference data indicates that our conferences bring STEM knowledge, career inspiration and pathway information to attendees.

Each conference was a full-day interactive event for students who are interested in careers in education. The day included an opening Keynote or panel, breakout sessions, college fair and more!

Here are some conference highlights!

San Diego Region Conference

With 250 students in attendance, the first San Diego Region Conference was held at San Diego State University in San Diego, California on February 3rd.

  • Keynote Speaker: David J. Johnson
  • Workshops included:
    • Benefits of Project Based Learning
    • Special Education: A Career Beyond Paperwork
    • Teacher Talk Teaching Panel
    • School Counseling-The Next Generation
    • Building Community: Beyond the Four Walls of Classrooms
  • Colleges and Universities included:
    • University of California, San Diego
    • Azusa Pacific University
    • San Diego City College
    • National University
    • California State University, San Marcos
      and many more…

“The conference was very interesting and informative, as well as interactive. Overall, today was a great experience for me.” -Student

Learn more about the San Diego conference here. Continue reading

Students Take Charge of Learning, Empowered by Technology

Aided by technology, students across the country are self-directing their own learning, no longer waiting for teachers or schools to catch up. More than 400,000 K-12 students shared how and when they learn via the Speak Up 2016 Research Project for Digital Learning.

In our latest Speak Up data release, Ten Things Everyone Should Know about K-12 Students’ Digital Learning, 2017, Project Tomorrow details some of the findings from the student responses:

  • Access to mobile devices in and out of school continues to grow. Over just a two-year period, twice as many students are now using Chromebooks in school (2014 to 2016).
  • Students are using mobile devices to self-direct learning by:
    • doing research on the Internet (84%)
    • looking up class information (59%)
    • creating documents to share (54%)
    • emailing teachers with questions (47%)
    • setting up reminders about class due dates (43%)
    • taking notes (40%)
  • Students are exploring online learning. More than one-third of middle school students say they have already taken an online class in Math, Science and English. The subjects that top their wish list for online classes include: college prep/study skills (58%), art appreciation (58%), world languages (56%), career technical/vocational education (51%) and computer science (47%).
  • More than 1/3 of students say they want to learn about future jobs and careers via online tools: online course, digital game, online videos and social media.

“Students have always self-directed some of their own learning, but with the explosion of mobile devices, 24/7 connectivity and digital resources, students are leaving adults behind as they explore subjects that interest them in the ways they learn best,” said Dr. Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “Despite all of the opportunity at their fingertips with the growth in educational technology access in schools, more than half (56%) of students say they use technology more often for learning outside of school than in school.”

Continue reading

Principals Are Looking for Tech Savvy New Teachers

In the midst of our Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up research project to learn more about the experiences and aspirations of the next generation of teachers, we took a look at what school administrators told us last fall during Speak Up 2016. A few highlights:

Principals told us they expect new teachers to:

  • Know how to use technology to differentiate instruction (76%)
  • Use technology to communicate with parents and students (73%)
  • Interpret and use data to support student learning and improve teaching practice (71%)
  • Use technology to create authentic learning experiences (65%)
  • Use technology to facilitate student collaboration (63%)

Principals value technology use for teaching and learning:

  • 84% of school leaders say it is important or very important for every student to be able to use a mobile device during the school day to support schoolwork
  • 89% of school leaders say a new teacher candidate’s skills or experiences using technology within teaching is important or very important when evaluating his/her fit or qualifications

Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up is open until June 2nd! We want to hear from pre-service teachers about how to leverage technology within learning; how they are being trained; what they expect when they enter the classroom; and more! College students studying to be teachers can take the confidential, 20-minute survey now!

Universities and teacher prep programs who register to participate will learn the results of what their own students had to say this summer (and it’s all free!)

Augmented and Virtual Reality in K-12 Education: Current Status and Aspirations

Augmented and virtual reality in K-12 classrooms is still predominantly in pilot implementations. Last year, Project Tomorrow released an evaluation of one such pilot in San Diego to look into how an augmented reality environment is helping high school students develop greater awareness about and interest in STEAM careers.

The opening of a high school on two floors of a new library in San Diego offered a unique opportunity to develop an augmented reality pilot program to encourage and support STEAM learning. The STEAMing Ahead with Mobile Learning project was developed as a collaboration between the San Diego Public Library Foundation, San Diego Public Library, e3 Civic High and Qualcomm Wireless Reach. Project Tomorrow was contracted to do an evaluation of the project to examine the relationship between the augmented reality app and student outcomes.

Given that today’s students are interested in learning that is contextually relevant, the STEAMing Ahead with Mobile Learning project was designed to take advantage of the unique architecture of the library dome to provide 9th grade students an enriched learning experience. Using Qualcomm® technology, the project focused on leveraging augmented reality content that utilized mobile, context-aware 4G technologies to allow the students to interact with digital information embedded within the library’s physical environment focusing on science, math, engineering and art related content. Similar to augmented reality used by construction teams to visualize a building prior to construction, students learned about the construction of the new library while learning the STEAM concepts associated with each structural element.

Our evaluation found:

  • The majority of the students agreed that using the 4G tablet with the augmented reality content increased their engagement in learning about the Central Library Dome.
  • The students ascribed many benefits to the learning experience including increased enjoyment in learning, ability to work on the content with their classmates, and being more interested in the dome structure and architecture than they first envisioned.
  • Four out of 10 students said that they were more interested in exploring a STEAM career field after having this mobile learning experience.
  • The teachers participating in the project believe that the mobile augmented reality environment could be used successfully to impact student learning in many other academic areas with a closer alignment with curriculum.

That work in San Diego informed new questions on Speak Up 2016 designed to learn more about the current use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in classrooms around the country, and about how students, parents and educators are thinking of these learning tools for the future. (Some of this data was released in T.H.E. Journal this month.)

Current Use of AR and VR in the Classroom

  • 5 percent of teachers say they are using AR or VR in their classroom. This was the same no matter the size or type of school district and years of teacher experience. We did see a higher percentage of computer science/technology (11 percent) and science teachers (9 percent) in high schools using AR or VR.
  • 9 percent of students in Grades 6-8 and 8 percent of students in Grades 9-12 say they have experienced AR or VR in a classroom setting.

AR and VR figure prominently in students’ vision for their ultimate school – more so than for parents and teachers at this time. Note there is higher interest reported among school librarians and district administrators, particularly those from small districts (those with >5,000 students).

AR and VR figure prominently in students’ vision for their ultimate school.

View Augmented and Virtual Reality in K-12 Education Infographic

When asked about what they need to use digital content, tools and resources more successfully in the classroom, teachers cite three key elements:

  • Classroom set of devices (56 percent)
  • Consistent technical support for classroom usage (49 percent)
  • Professional development on effective instructional practices with that digital content (48 percent)

It makes sense therefore that in regards to using AR and VR in the classroom, teachers are starting to call for specific professional development to support their efforts. An emerging cohort of teachers (approximately 1 in 8 teachers or 13 percent) says they would like PD on how to use AR or VR in the classroom. Districts are also recognizing the importance of PD on the use of AR and VR in the classroom with 20 percent of district administrators saying that type of professional learning for teachers is a priority for this year.

Our final report on the STEAMing Ahead with Mobile Learning project concluded, “This evidence supports the idea that to stimulate and nurture STEAM career interest, the learning experiences need to replicate the inherent characteristics of STEAM content and processes. In other words, students need to be able to use advanced technologies such as 4G wireless connectivity and augmented reality, and have access to contextually relevant content to explore potential career interests.”

As Speak Up shows, the students are again ahead of most education leaders when it comes to the potential for augmented and virtual reality to spark and support learning.

Download Augmented and Virtual Reality in K-12 Education: Current Status and Aspirations Speak Up 2016 Findings.

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)

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!