Tag Archives: mobile learning

Speak Up 7 for 2017: Top digital learning trends in K-12 schools today

Each year, the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning polls K-12 students, parents, and educators about the role of technology for learning in and out of school. This survey represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder voices on digital learning. Since fall 2003, more than 5 million K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, principals, technology leaders, district administrators, communications officers, and members of the community have shared their views and ideas through Speak Up.

Following are seven trends we are watching based on the more than 514,000 Speak Up surveys submitted from educators, students and parents from October 2016 to January 2017.

1. Funding, the achievement gap and staff morale top the list of superintendents’ concerns.

Over the last six years, the same six issues have topped this list of “what wakes superintendents up at night,” but the levels of concern have intensified.

In 2010, Superintendents said:In 2016, Superintendents said:
Funding (51%)Funding (64%)
Test scores (44%)Achievement gap (48%)
Achievement gap (39%)Staff morale (43%)
Staff morale (39%)College and career skills (38%)
College and career skills (20%)Teacher recruitment (38%)
Teacher recruitment (16%)Test scores (35%)

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Article by Julie Evans in Educational Leadership: “A Vision for Mobile Learning: More Verbs, Fewer Nouns”

Are you a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)? If so, check out this month’s issue of Educational Leadership, featuring an article about students’ views on mobile learning by Julie Evans.

If you’re an ASCD member, click here to read the full article.
About ASCD: Founded in 1943, ASCD (doing business as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is the global leader in developing and delivering innovative programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner. The association provides expert and innovative solutions in professional development, capacity building, and educational leadership essential to the way educators learn, teach, and lead.

CoSN 2015: The Eight Essentials for Success in Mobile Learning

Tuesday, March 17
9:15-10:15am – M301
Focus Area: Pioneering Innovation

Presenters: 
Chris Dede, Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard University
Julie Evans, CEO, Project Tomorrow

Description:
Researchers and developers have generated many insights about how to design, deliver, and evaluate highly successful mobile learning projects. These strategies for effective development and sustainability are summarized below, categorized as “8 essentials”:
• Purposeful planning for mobile device usage
• Leveraging content and curriculum that is mobile-empowered
• Understanding the power of Internet access
• Preparing educators effectively
• Securing leadership buy-in
• Building personal learner efficacy and capacity for self-directed learning
• Measuring project results with meaningful metrics
• Creating an ecosystem that is sustainable and scalable
Applying these strategies will greatly increase the chances for success of a mobile learning initiative.

This session will present examples illustrating successful use for each of the eight strategies. Participants will gain insights into how to develop, implement, and evaluate mobile learning initiatives.

Infographic: Mobile Learning in the United States

 

In honor of Mobile Learning Week 2015, we created this handy infographic based on mobile learning data pulled from Speak Up 2014. Click here to view the full image, or click on the smaller version above. Let us know what you think!

Additionally, if you participated in Speak Up 2014, your data is now available for viewing! Click here to access your data or retrieve any lost passwords.

Memo #5 from Mobile Learning Week 2015

Paris, France
February 27, 2015
The last day at this year’s Mobile Learning Week was a research seminar. The goal of the seminar was to bring together researchers as well as practitioners and policymakers to discuss the types of research that is available and needed around mobile learning, with an eye this year on women and girls.  With our longstanding interest and work in mobile learning research, I was excited participate in these discussions and to be part of the closing MLW2015 panel about the intersection of mobiles, women/girls and leadership.
At first glance, these three terms or concepts – mobile devices, women/girls’ empowerment, leadership – may seem to be an odd mix with little apparent commonality.  Each is a rich topic in their own right and in many circles, justifies their own dedicated conferences and research.  That is why this year’s Mobile Learning Week, as a collaboration between UNESCO and UN-Women, was such a fascinating idea and experience.  The big question is where do these three weighty concepts intersect and how can they be leveraged together to yield greater impact for all.  With the benefit of hindsight now, it is obvious that through the week’s keynotes, panel discussions, breakout sessions and workshops, the real goal of this year’s event was to uncover this unique intersection.  Not an easy task but one that I think was very successfully summarized in this closing panel.  I felt honored to be able to share my interpretation of this challenge (and potential solutions) as a panel participant.  Here is a short synopsis of some of the remarks I shared on this panel.
As we learn from the annual Speak Up data, while girls and boys have similar perceptions on the value of digital tools and resources, including mobile devices, on their learning, the way they want to use technology can be very different. Girls are particularly interested in using mobiles to connect, create and collaborate with others.  Underlying these activities is a deep felt passion to share ideas and to have a voice in local as well as wider range issues that affect their lives. After spending the week with conference representatives from all over the globe, I have a new appreciation for the immense power of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to enable girls and women to have a voice, a voice that in many parts of the world is not socially or culturally the norm.  In that sense, the impact of mobile devices on women and girls is indeed a new sense of empowerment.  And while we don’t often think about that in the United States, I think the impact can be similar in many circumstances.  Beyond sharing ideas, we also learn from Speak Up that girls like the idea of using their mobile devices to create and share various forms of content.  This type of content creation can be to develop skills or to gain feedback from others on their work. Earlier in the week, I learned about an interesting Silicon Valley nonprofit called Technovation (http://www.technovationchallenge.org/home/) that provides a program and competition for girls around mobile app development to solve local problems. This type of activity brings together the idea of skill development with content creation in a way that has high relevancy for girls.  Again more empowerment at play!

 

When I think about the types of skills that girls are acquiring through their use of mobile devices and mobile-enabled content, the concept of developing a next great generation of women leaders comes clearer into focus. When I talk with corporate and university leaders about the types of skills that today’s youth need to acquire to be successful in the new economy and society, the refrain is amazing consistent.  The skills that have the highest value include communications, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and computation thinking.  These are also the same skills that leadership gurus say are essential for leadership in a global, information-intensive era.  As noted earlier, the girls themselves articulate the relationships between their use of mobile devices and the development of these types of skills. Given the need for the development of new skills, and a new attitude about the potential of women and girls to be full participants in leadership roles in work and society, the responsibility of mobile devices in supporting these twin goals cannot be ignored.  It simply makes common sense now.  So, as we close out this year’s Mobile Learning Week, our new discussions post-2015 should be not about if access to mobile devices is important for women and girls, but rather, what we need to do to position these tools to enable and empower new capabilities and opportunities for all.  I look forward to continuing this discussion throughout the year and leveraging what I have learned at this year’s Mobile Learning Week to inform our work at Project Tomorrow.

Memo #4 from Mobile Learning Week 2015

Paris, France
February 26, 2015

This year’s Mobile Learning Week was a collaboration of UNESCO and UN-Women.  The collaboration led to a unique theme of how to empower women and girls with mobile devices.  The keynotes, panels and breakout sessions therefore focused on this intersection of technology and gender, and the topic of gender-sensitivity was front and center throughout the week.  But let’s be candid.  Some people do not know what gender-sensitivity means, and too many people have misunderstandings and wrong assumptions around women and girls’ interests in mobile learning.  My goal with this blog posting is to demystify the important topic based upon the research that we did for this week’s workshop. Let’s jump in by examining this gender-sensitivity from several levels!

Why is this topic important? 
Based upon the Speak Up data as well as results from several mobile learning evaluations conducted by Project Tomorrow, we have observed that mobile learning has a gender component.  When students are asked about how they want to use a mobile device to support their learning, girls and boys have different aspirations for schoolwork usage. For example, middle school boys want to use a mobile device to find online videos to help them with homework. Comparatively, middle school girls are often more interested in using their smartphone or tablet for collaborations with classmates, taking notes in class and communicating with classmates and teachers. Despite best efforts, instructional materials including digital content that are used with mobile devices may not be as gender sensitive as they could be.  Given that reality, it makes sense that we should dig more deeply into how digital tools and resources are either reinforcing or debunking traditional gender based norms and/or stereotypes. The goal therefore should be to more gender-sensitive or responsive in our plans for and use of those digital tools so that all students have an equitable opportunity for education.

What is the definition of gender-sensitivity?  
There is an extensive body of research on the many terms used when discussing gender issues in education including gender-unequal, gender-blind, gender-specific and gender-sensitive.  Per the research, the three defining characteristics of gender-sensitivity are as follows:

  • Gender-sensitivity considers gender norms, role and relationships
  • It takes into account the impact of policies, projects and programs on women/girls and men/boys
  • And it tries to mitigate negative consequences of the gender impact.

Comparatively, gender-blind see no differences between how girls and boys approach instructional materials or technology.  Instructional materials that are gender-unequal or bias are developed to favor one gender over another.  Gender-specific is similar but without the inherent negative consequences.

How can we become more gender-sensitive in our selection of instructional materials for use in classrooms by girls and boys?
As noted above, the research on this topic including case studies and implications for a wide range of instructional materials is available through multiple sources.  However, despite the extensiveness of the research, there is surprisingly very few resources that could be used by a teacher, school or district to evaluate the tools and content that they are using within instruction. For our workshop on Monday, therefore, we developed that kind of tool that can help you identify the gender-sensitivity of the digital content you may be using with students right now.  The Guide for Evaluating Gender-Sensitivity within Digital Content includes a list of “questions for consideration.”  The questions are categorized into four themes:  categorization, imagery and language, storyline and results.  While the guide will not give you a grade or score for your digital content, it will help to instigate new discussions around gender-sensitivity, the use of digital content within instruction, and education equity.  The best news is that you can access this guide on our website.  Check out both versions of the guide (one for digital content and a similar one for digital games) at www.tomorrow.org/UNESCOworkshop.html.  If you use the guide within your school, district or organization, let us know your thoughts on this new tool.

Memo #1 from Mobile Learning Week 2015

Paris, France
February 23, 2015
According to Dr. Patience Stephens, Director/Special Advisor on Education for UN-Women, it is no longer appropriate or tolerable to do a minimalist job of providing girls and women with the tools they need to improve their lives – most notably with a second-class education. What a true statement – so obvious, but still not reality, especially not in many places around the globe.  With that inspiration and a call to more fully examine how mobile devices in particular can enable and empower change for girls and women, this year’s Mobile Learning Week 2015 was off to a great start.  Today was the workshop day of the weeklong event and I was honored to be chosen from a field of 70 proposals to lead one of the 12 workshops today.  Additionally, our good friend, Dr. Kari Stubbs, Vice President of Innovation and Learning at BrainPOP asked me to participate in her workshop to provide Speak Up research support.  It was a fun and exciting day examining the intersections of STEM, digital learning, games, coding, mobile devices – and girls!  I am excited to share with you 2 big takeaways based upon the workshops today that I hope may lead to deeper discussions on these important issues in your schools, districts, organizations and communities. If they do, I would love to hear back from you!
Take-away #1:  The morning workshop was led by the BrainPOP team and focused on girls’ interest in playing learning games, creating their own games, and learning how to code using mobile devices. Speak Up data provided the contextual background for many of the learning experiences within this workshop.  What I especially liked was the high level of audience participation and interactivity within the workshop.  Participants had multiple opportunities to play different kinds of games and even try their hand at coding.  While playing learning games is always fun, the play/learn experiences was grounded in examining the content through the lens of gender-sensitivity.  While it may seem easy to identify Game X as a “boy-oriented” game and Game Y as “girl-focused,” the audience quickly realized that those superficial stereotypes were inconclusive.  Using a guide developed by Project Tomorrow for this workshop, the participants had a chance to do a deeper dive as game and content evaluators and in the process, learned a lot of about their own biases and potential blindness to gender issues in digital content, games and other instructional materials.  The guide is available with other workshop materials at http://www.tomorrow.org/UNESCOworkshop.html.   We already know that the inclusion of mobile devices increases student engagement in learning. But what if we could prove that using mobile devices helps create more gender-responsive, transformative learning environments for all students?    We have much more work to do in this arena but I was excited to see the level of interest in this topic amongst the Mobile Learning Week attendees.
Take-away #2:  In the afternoon workshop, the focus was on how to design, implement and evaluate a gender-sensitive mobile learning project.  I led this workshop with support this time from Dr. Stubbs. Based upon Project Tomorrow research in this area, we shared a new way of thinking about the evolution of a mobile planning project from a gender-sensitivity perspective, starting from the identification of your project purpose through the synthesis of research data to share with stakeholders.  But first we had to review what we meant by gender-sensitivity.  A simplified version is basically becoming more aware of gender norms, roles and relationships and how those inherent or un-intended biases or opinions influences students’ learning. The real goal here is to develop new mobile learning projects that recognize gender issues and then, strategically and deliberately create ways to minimize the impact of any gender-blind or unequal priorities or values. As you might imagine these workshop topics instigated new questions and ideas about understanding and identifying gender-sensitivity.  Several points that the audience made on this topic intrigued me; I need to do more thinking on several of the points raised. However, several questions came up as to whether the goal of gender-sensitivity was to right the wrongs of the past in terms of unequal learning opportunities for girls, or to aim for how gender issues can be mitigated to the point of truly equal education for all genders. Both approaches are important to consider especially because in some communities, there is an emerging “boy crisis” where male students are feeling like second class citizens in their schools and that perception is affecting their school performance.  Sound familiar?  So, how do we really design, implement and evaluate new mobile learning projects that enable girls to reach for the stars in educational opportunities while not dashing the dreams and aspirations of their brothers?   I have a few suggestions.  Check out the PowerPoint from today’s workshop.  Spoiler alert – the powerpoint includes brand new data findings from Speak Up 2014. Review, enjoy and pass it on: http://www.tomorrow.org/UNESCOworkshop.html.
Tuesday is the first day of the two day Mobile Learning Symposium.  The Symposium includes inspiring keynotes and plenary sessions – and a myriad of small, TedTalk like sessions on all kinds of topics related to girls, women and mobile learning.  It is going to be a full day.  Be part of the experience by following me on Twitter (@JulieEvans_PT).  I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow my new learnings from this event in our Memo #2 from Mobile Learning Week 2015!

February 18th Webinar: Learn How Technology is Improving the Classroom Experience

Join executive leadership Michael Flood from Kajeet and Julie Evans from Project Tomorrow, for a webinar on Wednesday, February 18 at 4 PM EST. This event will focus on the findings of a two year long research study which took an in-depth look at the impact of 1-to-1 tablet implementation in elementary and middle schools. The project was sponsored by Kajeet with funding from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative. Find out more about:

  • Increased student engagement in lessons which resulted in higher scores
  • Teacher adaptation to Mobile Learning which led to increased student reading and writing fluency
  • At-home Internet access led to higher student/family engagement, contributing to academic success
  • Detailed explanation of how Kajeet is working on bridging the digital divide

 

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Time: 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Problems Registering?
Please contact Ayesha Lodhi at alodhi@kajeet.com for assistance.

Speak Up 2014 Snapshot for Parents

This is a special blog posting by Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, to share some selected , preliminary data findings from Speak Up 2014 (data collected from November 25th from 16,200 parents of school aged children nationwide). The final data results will be published in a series of national reports in spring 2015.
 
Mobiles for learning?  Parents say yes!
 
Over the past 12 years, some of the most significant data findings from the Speak Up surveys have revolved around mobile devices and their use within the classroom.  While we continue each year to uncover new findings about how teachers and students are using laptops, tablets and smartphones to support learning, both in school and at home, I think the data from parents about their opinions on mobile learning, and their willingness to support this trend should be of equal importance to school and district leaders.  Parents not only mobilists themselves (users of mobile devices) but increasingly they also see these devices as essential learning tools for their children.
When asked to identify the benefits of student use of mobile devices within instruction, parents’ top responses in this year’s Speak Up surveys reflect a triad of core advantages associated with digital learning.
First, parents see mobile devices as providing their students with a gateway to increased access to learning content, most notably online textbooks (71 percent).   Parents place a high value on the role of digital content within learning today – and laptops, tablets, digital readers and even smartphones are an easy and convenient way for students to use that content anytime, anywhere.  The component of “anywhere learning” is further facilitated by the second core advantage of mobile devices.  Parents like the idea that their children could use a mobile to review class materials afterschool (67 percent), thus extending the learning day beyond the traditional 3 pm school bell.   This extension of the classroom experience, enabled by the mobile devices, also appears to yield an additional benefit of improving school to home communications for many parents as well (59 percent).  Finally, the third core advantage of mobile learning is the idea that these compelling, always on devices can increase student engagement in learning.  Almost 6 out of 10 parents say that increasing student engagement is a significant benefit of incorporating laptops and tablets within classroom instruction; teachers and administrators agree!
Parents’ perceptions about the benefits of mobile devices are more than a hypothetical discussion however.  Half of all parents of school aged children who completed a Speak Up survey  this year said they would like their child to be in a class where he/she could use their own mobile device to support learning.   While administrators’ views on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies is changing, this vote of approval for that kind of policy change should be a wakeup call for many school districts today.  Equally compelling for district leaders, parents appear to be willing to support that aspiration with a financial investment.  While 14 percent of parents say that they have already purchased a mobile device for their child to use specifically in school for academic purposes, an additional 44 percent say they would be willing to purchase a device for their child to use in class   if school policy allowed for that.  
Want to understand how supportive your school parents are for mobile learning?  Every school and district that participates in Speak Up and promotes the surveys to their parents, students and staff, receives a free report with both local and national data findings.  Speak Up 2014 surveys are open for input until December 19.  Local reports will be available February 5.  Here is your link to the surveys:  http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/