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!

One Month Remains to Speak Up!

With winter break approaching and the survey period closing on January 13, now is perfect time to make a final push for your school(s) to take the Speak Up survey! We have several promotional materials and tips for you to use:

  • Last minute outreach emails – can also be used for website and social media content
  • Sample tweets – to use before, during and after break
  • Survey lesson plans – great to use as a classroom activity before or after break
  • Focus on parents and community members – this can be some of your most valuable stakeholder data. Be sure to promote the opportunity to Speak Up beyond your campus!
  • Data sneak peeks – share some early national data findings to encourage discussion within your school(s)
  • Speak Up Appreciation week – Our all new weeklong event kicks off on Monday, January 9th where we will be recognizing some of our great Speak Up partners and school districts during the final week of Speak Up. This week will feature our Speak Up Spirit Photo Challenge and another opportunity to win free conference registrations.
  • Start making plans this week for survey participation when everyone returns to school in January – check out our promotional materials, follow our timeline, or pick a day of the week to encourage participation before January 13th! (View intro & tips webinars for insights from other school leaders on implementing and using the surveys.)

You can also view your preliminary data now! We will update your preliminary data every Monday morning before the close of the survey at http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2016/find_school.aspx. Finalized data will be released on February 6. View your preliminary data to determine which audiences still need to Speak Up!

Be sure to follow @SpeakUpEd on Twitter for news and updates!

Don’t forget to take the survey yourself!

If you have any questions, please contact us at speakup@tomorrow.org!

2016 Year in Review

At Project Tomorrow, we naturally spend a lot of time thinking about the future as we work to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens. Still, at this time of year it is a pleasure to look back and reflect on what we have accomplished in 2016. As you will see, it has been an incredible year for Project Tomorrow, and we are very grateful to all of our partners, especially the students, who have contributed to our success.

Here are just a few of our highlights from 2016:

  • Released a new national Speak Up report, “From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations and simulations within K-12 education,” at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. in May. The report and briefing detailed findings from more than 500,000 students, educators and parents, from 7,800 schools in 2,660 districts across all 50 states, who took the annual online Speak Up surveys.
  • Expanded our research on technology for learning to international schools around the world with Speak Up International, a collaboration between Project Tomorrow, BrainPop and ISTE.
  • Collaborated with National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to develop targeted questions for science teachers on the Speak Up survey and disseminate the resulting data to the science education community.
  • Provided more than 70 presentations and webinars on our research, evaluation and programs across 30 states.
  • Surpassed 1,000 members in Educators Rising California, tripling the number of students developing their leadership skills while learning about careers in education since 2015.
    • In June, Educators Rising California member and YouthTEACH2Learn alumnae Karina Janco placed 8th in the nation in the STEM Lesson Planning and Delivery competition at the Educators Rising national conference.
  • Expanded YouthTEACH2Learn by 80 percent, adding new schools offering the program.
  • Received a $100,000 grant from the Silver Giving Foundation and two continuing Career Pathways Trust Grants funded by the California Department of Education enabling us to grow our Tomorrow’s Teachers Initiative through partnerships with colleges across the state.

All of this was made possible thanks to generous contributions from: ABC CLIO, APEX Learning, Blackboard, Cengage, the Carol and James Collins Foundation, CompTIA, Cox Cares, DreamBox, Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation, Edison International, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Haskell & White, LLP, Ingram Micro, Intel, Kajeet, Microsemi, Newseum, Orange County Department of Education, One to One Institute, Pacific Life Foundation, Qualcomm, the Roosters Foundation of Orange County, Rosetta Stone, Scholastic, the Silver Giving Foundation, SIATech, and WD Foundation.

We look forward to a wonderful 2017!

 

Sneak Peek at 2016 Speak Up Data!

sneak peek 2016More than 250,000 people have taken a few minutes to share their thoughts with us – and their schools – via this year’s Speak Up surveys. With so much data to review already, we had to take a peek at what students, parents and teachers are telling us! Here are a few things that may surprise you about high school students’, parents’ and teachers’ experiences and aspirations for digital learning. Be sure to add your voice by taking the survey today!

High School Students:

  • 33% say that when their teachers want to share information with them about their personal academic progress in the class, they should text it to them!
  • More than 1/3 say they have taken a fully online, virtual class as part of school in math or English.
  • Two-thirds of students say that they use Instagram or Snapchat often or all the time; only 34% say the same about Facebook.
  • Best way to explore future careers? 72% would like to get real world experience in a part-time job or internship.
  • 55% say they use technology more outside of school than in school.

Parents:

  • 56% say they worry that their child is not learning the right skills at school to be successful in the future.
  • 43% say taking a coding or computer programming class will help their child develop skills they will need for the future.
  • Most important skills for the future: critical thinking and problem solving, per 86% of parents.
  • 49% are looking for information about what apps or software would help their child with learning at home.

 Teachers:

  • Teachers’ wish list for professional development this year includes how to use mobile devices and digital games in class.
  • 37% say they have taken an online class for PD – benefits include that it saves time and they can customize the learning process.
  • 46% have pinned a lesson on Pinterest.
  • 42% say it is likely they will post a lesson plan, video or class activity online this year for other teachers to use.

The Speak Up surveys close on January 27, 2017, so be sure to Speak Up before the deadline to be sure your experience and opinions are included in the final data! And, schools, remember, you get all your data for free!

Note: This is preliminary Speak Up data from surveys submitted between Oct 12, 2016 and November 29, 2016. It is based on surveys from 37,516 students in grade 9-12; 10,181 parents and 13,042 teachers.

Happy Giving Tuesday!

After giving thanks on Thanksgiving, it’s time to give back with #GivingTuesday! Today, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world are coming together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

For #GivingTuesday we ask our supporters to consider a donation to Project Tomorrow to ensure that today’s students are prepared for tomorrow. All donations will go towards our programs that help students gain the skills they need for the future. Please visit http://bit.ly/donatePT to support Project Tomorrow.

We also ask our Speak Up family and friends to donate 15 minutes of your time for the future of education. Make a difference today by expressing your views about education, technology, and college and career ready skills through the Speak Up 2016 Research Project. Click here to take the survey.

We want everyone to have a voice in the future of how technology is used in our schools – please share the Speak Up survey with your students, teachers, parents, administrators, community organizers, friends, and anyone who has a passion for improving education: bit.ly/SU16survey

Thank you for your continued support of Speak Up! To learn more about #GivingTuesday, visit their official website.

How Schools Evaluate, Use and Pay for Digital Content – Speak Up 2015

In our latest infographic from Speak Up 2015 National Data, we look at some of the questions we asked administrators, teachers and librarians about digital content.

speakup-2015-digital-content-k12-instruction-october-2016We wanted to share a bit more about what administrators told use both about what they look for when evaluating digital content and how they are (and are not) planning to pay for digital content.

While Speak Up participants tell us they value getting their own school/district-level data for free, they also value what they learn just from participating. These two questions offer an example. Administrators may not have considered some of the options available to them, and we are always interested in seeing how responses to these types of questions shift over the years.

Speak Up 2016 is currently open. Students, teachers, parents and administrators across the country are taking time to share their views with us to inform education policy at the national level – and to inform decisions being made locally. Learn more about this free service, and Speak Up before January 27th!

In 2015, we asked school administrators and teachers: “Which of these factors would you consider most important when evaluating the quality of digital content to use within instruction?”

 TeachersSchool Administrators
Adjusts to multiple reading levels74%74%
Compiled on a list by our State Department of Education18%16%
Content was evaluated by a librarian or media specialist19%11%
Content was highly ranked on Google search13%5%
Includes embedded online assessments43%48%
Includes professional development35%60%
Integration into district learning management system or student information system23%30%
Materials are created by practicing teachers56%38%
Mobile app version of the content24%25%
Multiple language versions available26%32%
No commercial advertisements within the content54%47%
Recommended by education membership associations and organizations32%28%
Recommended on education blogs and websites26%18%
Referred by a colleague47%21%
Research-based58%74%
Source is a content expert organization (e.g. National Science Foundation, universities)29%31%
Source is an online curriculum company or organization12%8%
Student achievement with the materials44%46%
Teacher evaluation of the materials45%40%
Teachers can modify it to meet classroom needs71%66%
Textbook publisher recommendations9%3%
User experience25%19%

In 2015, we asked district administrators: “What is the primary way that you are currently funding your purchases, subscriptions, and/or licenses for digital tools, content, and resources to support student learning?”

 Doing thisConsidering thisNo plans
eRate funds71%5%24%
Funding from PTA/parent support groups43%11%46%
Grants or funding from district or school educational foundation67%15%18%
Local bond measures or taxes41%13%46%
Local donations or grants from corporations or foundations43%26%30%
Parents pay an annual technology fee for each child (like a music, athletic, or field trip fee)24%12%63%
Repurposing other budget funds (such as textbook funds)43%31%26%
Savings from allowing students to use their own mobile devices14%23%63%
Savings from moving some services to the cloud31%23%46%
Specific budget allocations from our general funds62%20%18%
State or federal competitive grants47%26%27%
Title 1 funds53%13%33%

10 Things Principals Told Us About Digital Learning

Before National Principals Month comes to an end, we wanted to share some of what more than 2400 principals told us about digital learning during Speak Up 2015. We look forward to hearing from even more principals during this year’s survey period, open through January 13, 2017!

10things-principals-header#1 Tech in schools is extremely important.

58% of principals say the effective implementation of instructional technology is “extremely important” to students’ success (and 54% of parents agree!).

#2 Data is informing instruction.

3/4 of principals say their school is using student data to inform instructional strategies with positive academic results.

#3 Getting social with parents and students.

52% of principals say their schools are successfully using social media to communicate with parents and students.

#4 Jumps in concerns about digital equity.

In 2007, only 12% of principals cited digital equity (students’ access to technology outside of school) as a top concern. Fast forward to 2015 – 51% of principals rank it now as a top concern!

#5 Principals are tech users too!

81% of principals text with colleagues; 73% used an online video to learn how to do something; 61% use a mobile device for note taking during classroom observations; and 36% use Twitter as an informal PD tool.

#6 Tech in English class most effective? Principals say so.

Principals say technology is used most effectively to help students develop college and career ready skills in English/Language Arts (58%), Career Technical Education (52%), Computer Science/Programming (51%) and Science (51%) classes.

#7 High school principals leading on BYOD.

While 84% of all principals say it’s important for students to use mobile devices during the school day to support schoolwork, just 26% are allowing students to actually use their own mobile devices for learning purposes. However, 41% of high school principals are allowing BYOD with another 16% saying it’s “very likely” that they will do so this year.

#8 Paperless school?

3 in 10 principals say that at least 50% of the instructional materials used at their school are now digital, rather than printed.

#9 High Techxpectations for new teachers.

Principals say new teachers should know how to use technology to differentiate instruction (76%) and to communicate with parents and students (66%). They should also know how to develop, implement, and evaluate online assessments (61%) and manage a classroom where every student has a mobile device (53%).

#10 Value of digital content.

Principals say that the top benefits of using digital content within instruction are increased student engagement (80%), increased relevancy of the curriculum (60%) and increased personalization of the learning process (60%). Are you surprised that only 32% of principals consider cost savings as a digital content benefit?

Data Snapshot: Of the 2400 principals who “spoke up” in 2015, 63% were female, 26% had more than 16 years of administrative experience and 9% were Hispanic/Latino.

Download the 10 Things Principals Told Us about Digital Learning infographic! 

It’s not too late to get your school’s FREE Speak Up Data! Surveys are open through January 13, 2017. Just register a contact person and then spread the word about the surveys with your students, parents, staff and/or community. There are no costs to participate in the surveys or to receive your data!

Learn about the homework gap at next week’s CA STEM Symposium!

If you’re attending the 2016 California STEM Symposium in Anaheim next week, don’t miss Julie’s session about the homework gap! Check out the details below:

The Impact of the Homework Gap on STEM Education
Monday, October 11 at 11am PT
Room 204 C, Anaheim Convention Center
Click here to learn more

As digital content, tools and resources are increasingly used within K-12 instruction, there is an amplified demand for safe and consistent Internet and technology connectivity for all students outside of school. Failure to address this new type of digital divide is becoming a social justice and educational equity issue. This is especially critical when we think about the value of STEM resources to drive students’ development of key workplace and college skills.

In this session, we will share the latest California and national level Speak Up data on the extent of the “homework gap” where students do not regular access to safe and consistent to technology and the Internet when they are beyond the boundaries of their school. Access from a parent’s smart phone is no longer sufficient to support students in flipped or blended learning environments. The Speak Up data documents where students are accessing the Internet for homework (14% of California high school students say they are doing their digital homework at an fast food restaurant or coffee shop), students’ attitudes about the importance of out of school access (64% of students say this is important for student success) and what California districts are doing or thinking about doing to resolve this equity issue. Using the research data as the foundation, we will then engage the session participants in a discussion about what they doing to address this issue in their school, and what policy/program/funding supports they believe ar needed to eliminate the homework gap. Additionally, given that science teachers are the most likely to be using technology within their instructional plans (per the Speak Up 2015 data), we will also discuss the implications of this new digital disconnect on science education in particular. Of special note will be how today’s students are increasingly using digital tools to self-direct learning in science and the impact of the disparity in home connectivity on students’ interests in STEM education and careers.

Audience members will leave this session with a clarified vision on the extent of the homework gap issue in CA, and especially how this trend is impacting science instruction in California classrooms right now.

To learn more about attending the 2016 California STEM Symposium, please click here.

 

Why Participate in Speak Up? Here’s what superintendents told us.

This summer, we recognized 20 school districts and their superintendents for their exceptional participation in the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.

As you prepare for Speak Up 2016, we wanted to share some of what they told us about why they participate!

“The survey provides districts with great information that can be compared between schools, to their state, and to the entire country. When Southwest Allen County Schools first began to participate, our intention was to educate our constituents by comparing our usage of technology to that of other districts across the country. We are now using it to drive improvement as our constituents are able to give us much more educated feedback. The advantage of national, longitudinal data cannot be underestimated.” – Philip G. Downs, Southwest Allen County Schools, Indiana

“Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey has allowed us to infuse the voice of our entire school community into key decisions around trends in technology ubiquity, mobility, video and personalization, K-12 use/misuse of social media, and the expansion of classroom walls connecting us to the world. Annual data from the survey is analyzed and shared among stakeholders, creating awareness and conversations that have led to action. The data has helped to generate community support for bond initiatives that resulted in needed infrastructure improvements and wifi coverage throughout the district.” – James P. Lee, Paradise Valley Unified District, Arizona

“East Noble School Corporation continues to find the Speak Up Survey to be a valuable tool used to measure our progress with technology use, instructional integration, and overall effectiveness. Having the ability to annually match stakeholder perception to district perception creates an invaluable reality check that leads to instructional growth and improved outcomes.” – Ann Linson, East Noble School Corporation, Indiana

“Frederick County Public Schools (Virginia) has participated in Speak Up over the past 5 years. Each year, FCPS has increased participation and used the Speak Up findings to inform and guide our efforts toward professional learning opportunities for teachers.  The information gained about our school division and the ability to directly compare that data to state and national trends has been invaluable as we have planned and implemented our division-wide 1 to 1 Chromebook initiative.” – David T. Sovine, Frederick County Public Schools, Virginia

Why do you Speak Up? We want to hear why you participate and how your school or district uses your data. Tell us your story!