Author Archives: Lisa Chu

FCC Commissioner asks tech industry to innovate education

On top of its decision to raise Internet connectivity funding for schools, the Federal Communications Commission is encouraging the technology industry to improve innovative educational material. On January 8th, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke to a group of tech leaders in order to encourage the “digital disruption within teaching and the textbook industry,” calling the textbook industry “unimaginative” and a burden to both educators and students, as most school districts cannot afford to update their textbooks regularly.

“…The world and the job opportunities that are out there look remarkably different,” said Rosenworcel. With 50% of current jobs requiring digital skills – and 77% of future jobs requiring digital skills in the next decade – Rosenworcel suggested that textbooks have digital counterparts (e.g. software, apps) in order to engage students on an interactive level. With improved textbooks and educational tools, and a potential increase in the FCC’s E-rate spending, Rosenworcel hopes to reduce “the homework gap,” which occurs when students lack home Internet access in order to complete their homework.

Interested in learning more? Read the original article, “FCC Commissioner to Tech Industry: It’s Time to Reinvent Textbooks, Teaching” by Jason Shueh (Government Technology).

During Speak Up 2014, we asked questions regarding Internet access, E-rate funding, and ed tech funding. For example, we asked technology leaders: If you had increased Internet bandwidth, how would your school or district use that enhanced connectivity?

Find out the results from this question and more when we release the data on February 4th!

Save the date – Speak Up 2014 data will be released on February 4th

With the Speak Up 2014 data release date approaching, now is the perfect time to learn how to view your Speak Up data before it’s released on February 4th! Visit our Speak Up Data page in order to sign up to receive a reminder when your data is available, learn how to receive your data, retrieve your password, or look up your organization’s primary contact. Click on the image above or visit our website in order to learn more.

Speak Up News, January 2015

Happy New Year! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. This past survey period brought in record-breaking numbers, with a total of 521,861 surveys taken by 431,238 students, 44,299 teachers, 4,326 administrators, 35,342 parents, and 6,656 members of the community! Although Speak Up 2014 is over, we still have exciting news and events to look out for. Keep reading to learn more!
In this newsletter, you will find information regarding…

▪ Speak Up 2014 data release: Your survey results are in and will be released on February 4th!
▪ Speak Up America winners: We are thrilled to announce the Speak Up America winners of classroom grants, conference registrations, and more!
▪ Making Learning Mobile: The results from our two-year-long study on mobile learning with Kajeet are in!
▪ Speak Up on the go! Learn more about upcoming presentations with our CEO, Julie Evans. 

Happy reading! Feel free to share your thoughts with us on FacebookTwitter, and our Blog.

-The Project Tomorrow team


Speak Up 2014

Data will be released on February 4th!

Thank you to the 431,238 students, 44,299 teachers, 4,326 administrators, 35,342 parents, and 6,656 members of the community who participated in Speak Up 2014. We are thrilled to release the survey data on February 4th! Be on the lookout for more information closer to the release date. In the meantime, check out the preliminary data we pulled during Speak Up America week:

Preliminary data

Last month we pulled special snapshots of preliminary data for students, parents, teachers, librarians and principals. Each day during Speak Up America Week we released a special video infographic on new Speak Up findings. Check out each snapshot below:
▪ Teachers
▪ Parents
▪ Students
▪ Librarians
▪ Principals
Click here to view all the snapshots.

Speak Up America

Last month, over 85,000 students, parents, educators, administrators, and community members participated in Speak Up America 2014! In its second year, Speak Up America celebrated past and present participants with opportunities to win classroom grants, free conference registrations, and more. We are thrilled to announce the winners below:
Onslow 2
Southwood Elementary
Newington Schools

Photo and video challenge winners

Speak Up for America Photo Challenge Winners

▪ Hunters Creek Middle School from Onslow County, NC
▪ Southwood Elementary School from MSD of Wabash County, IN
▪ Martin Kellogg Middle School from Newington Public Schools, CT

Speak Up for America Video Challenge Winners

▪ Saint John XXIII Catholic School from Scottsdale, AZ
▪ Escola Antoni Gaudi from Barcelona, Spain

Conference registration winners

ISTE 2015 Conference and Expo

  • Shelby County School District, AL
  • Wake County Public School System, NC
TCEA 2015 Conference & Exposition

  • Mission Consolidated Independent School District, TX
CUE 2015 Annual Conference

  • Clark County Schools, NV 
  • Anaheim City School District, CA
NETA 2015 Spring Conference

  • Mullen Public Schools, NE
NCCE 2015 Conference

  • Lakeside High School from Nine Mile Falls School District, WA
BbWorld 2015

  • Klein ISD, TX
2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium

  • Albemarle County Public Schools, VA

BrainPOP classroom certificate winners

▪ Bradie M Shrum Elementary from Salem Community Schools, IN
▪ Magma Ranch K-8 School from Florence Unified School District, AZ

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in Speak Up America! Learn more about the week long event here.

Making Learning Mobile

The Making Learning Mobile 2.0 study, sponsored by Kajeet with funding fromQualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative and Project Tomorrow, takes an in-depth look at the impact of 1-to-1 tablet implementation, including Internet access outside the classroom, with students from Chicago Public Schools. For the past two years, Project Tomorrow has worked with Kajeet to assess the impact of mobile devices on teaching and learning, and the results are in!

Results from the Making Learning Mobile study

▪ The school-issued tablet increased at-home Internet access for this cohort of students by 53%. This is especially significant given the persistence of the digital divide in home Internet access within our communities.
▪ The teachers felt more comfortable and assigned more reading and writing homework because the students had home Internet access. This resulted in increased reading and writing fluency, which is especially important for English Language Learners.
▪ 60% of the students agreed their reading increased because of their personal access to the tablet and the Internet; 60% noted they did more writing this school year than in previous years and that the tablet helped them improve their writing skills.

Interested in learning more? Download the report, and don’t miss our webinar with Kajeet on Wednesday, February 18th at 4pm EST – click here to register.

Speak Up On the Go!

Upcoming presentations

8 Essentials for Mobile Learning
District leadership workshop
San Marcos, CA
Friday, January 23rd
Sneak Peek at Speak Up 2014 Findings
Marketing Boot Camp at TCEA
Austin, TX
Tuesday, February 3rd
The Current Pulse on Ed Tech
NASSP Conference
San Diego, CA
Friday, February 20th
Workshop: Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Gender-Sensitive Mobile Learning Projects in Educational Settings
UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week
Paris, France
Monday, February 23rd
Thank you for your interest and continued support of Speak Up! Be sure to stay updated on all things Speak Up by following us on FacebookTwitterInstagramand our Blog.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Speak Up Operations Manager, Jenny Hostert, at or via phone at 949/609-4660 ext. 17.
Many thanks to our sponsors and partners for the support of Speak Up 2014: Blackboard Inc., BrainPOP, Fuel Education, DreamBox Learning, Schoolwires, Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Rosetta Stone, American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, Digital Learning Day, Digital Promise, edWeb, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, International Society for Technology in Education, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National School Boards Association, Secondary Education Teachers’ Association, and the Southern Regional Education Board.
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Case study: Poudre School District Global Academy

Project Tomorrow has teamed up with Fuel Education to bring you a case study on Poudre School District (PSD) Global Academy in Fort Collins, Colorado.  This innovative online/hybrid school for students in K–12 grade is ranked among the highest in the state of Colorado for student growth across all grades for the 2013–2014 school year. This achievement marks the first time an innovative school using blended and online learning has ranked in the top 95 percent of all Colorado schools – including traditional brick and mortar schools, charter schools, and other online schools.

In this document, we outline:

  • Proof of Program Results – The school’s desired student outcomes, Northwest Evaluaion Association’s Measures of Academic Porogress (MAP®) assessment results, Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessements, and Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) results.
  • The PSD Global Academy Approach – The five unique approaches that the school believes is intetral to their positive results.
  • Lessons Learned – The three takeaways for education leaders who want to implment successful blended learing programs.

Download a PDF of the case study: Online, Virtual, and Blended Learning in Action

To read a summary of a recent District Administration webinar featuring PSD Global Academy, click here.
Fuel Education’s mission is to partner with schools and districts to personalize and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom by leveraging the power of technology-enabled learning. Unlike legacy publishers and other online providers, Fuel Education offers a comprehensive, integrated approach to online learning based on their experience partnering with more than 2,000 school districts in all 50 states and D.C. To learn more about Fuel Education, visit

Press release: Study Concludes Access to Technology—In & Outside the Classroom—Increases Student Engagement

Contact Information:
Linda Kerr
Study Concludes Access to Technology—In & Outside the Classroom—Increases Student Engagement
Project Tomorrow & Kajeet Announce Results of Two-Year Study with Chicago Public Schools
MCLEAN, Virginia—Jan. 21, 2015—Kajeet®(, the only wireless service provider dedicated to kids and education, and Project Tomorrow®, a national education nonprofit, announce the results of a two-year-long study on the impact of mobile devices on teaching and learning.  The Making Learning Mobile 2.0 study continues taking an in-depth look at the impact of 1-to-1 tablet implementation, including Internet access outside the classroom, with Chicago Public Schools students.
Results from the Making Learning Mobile study included:  
  • The school-issued tablet increased at-home Internet access for this cohort of students by 53 percent.  This is especially significant given the persistence of the digital divide in home Internet access within our communities.
  • The teachers felt more comfortable and assigned more reading and writing homework because the students had home Internet access. This resulted in increased reading and writing fluency, which is especially important for English Language Learners.
  • 60 percent of the students agreed their reading increased because of their personal access to the tablet and the Internet; 60 percent noted they did more writing this school year than in previous years and that the tablet helped them improve their writing skills. 
The project was sponsored by Kajeet with funding from Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative. Kajeet and Project Tomorrow will host a webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 4 pm EST to discuss the results, including how the tablets transformed teaching and learning for both students and teachers from one year to the next.
As part of the Making Learning Mobile 2.0 study, 127 Chicago 5th grade students and their four teachers were provided with Android tablets using Kajeet Education Broadband to connect kids in school and at home. The objectives were to evaluate how the students used the devices, in and outside the classroom, to support their schoolwork and extend learning beyond the classroom, focusing on increased literacy. Ninety three percent of the students in the Chicago focus school were considered low income and 45 percent were qualified as English Language Learners. Just over one-third of the students noted they did not have Internet access at home. 
“We wanted to evaluate how access to these devices for communication with teachers and classmates increases comfort with technology, extends the learning day, and allows students to develop digital citizenship skills within a safe and secure learning environment,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “During the second year of the study, we were interested in learning how the teachers would integrate the devices into instruction and how that integration would help the students develop stronger research skills.”
“As technology spreads through schools, students are proving eager to embrace it. But that same technology increasingly demands mobile Internet connectivity — preferably broadband —to be fully effective as a tool,” said Daniel Neal, CEO and founder of Kajeet. “There are still many schools without adequate wireless Internet connectivity to allow mobile devices to function to their full capability. Studies like this one show teachers, students, parents and administrators the value of not only the technology, but the necessity for connectivity as well.”
The Making Learning Mobile study is continuing this school year within Chicago Public Schools. Register for the webinar at and download the complete report from both school districts
About Kajeet® 
Kajeet, the only wireless solution provider dedicated to kids and education, is bridging the digital divide in school districts across the country. Kajeet provides a safe, affordable, mobile broadband solution that connects disadvantaged students to the resources they need to complete required assignments and projects outside of school. The Kajeet SmartSpot solution, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot combined with the innovative Sentinel® cloud portal, enables administrators and teachers to provide CIPA-compliant, customizable filtered Internet access that keeps students focused on school work and provides off-campus Internet connectivity without worry of data abuse. The Kajeet service platform, which operates on both the Sprint and Verizon network, is protected by the following patents 8,774,755; 8,774,754; 8,755,768; 8,731,517; 8,725,109; 8,712,371; 8,706,079; 8,667,559; 8,644,796; 8,639,216; 8,634,803; 8,634,802; 8,634,801; 8,630,612; 8,611,885; 8,600,348; 8,594,619; 8,588,735; 8,285,249; 8,078,140; 7,945,238; 7,899,438; 7,881,697. Other patents are pending.For more information, please visit us at 
About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow®, the national education nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering student voices in education discussions, designed and implemented this program evaluation for Kajeet for Education.  Project Tomorrow has 17 years of experience in the K-12 and higher education sector and regularly provides consulting and research support to school districts, government agencies, business and higher education institutions about key trends and research in science, math and technology education.



Press release: North Carolina Educators Get Support for Digital Transition

For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2015
Download PDF of Press Release 
Blythe Tyrone,
Amber Taylor

Professional Development Model Being Implemented to Support State’s Schools

Raleigh, N.C. — On Jan. 8 and 9, over 50 instructional technologists and coaches, mentor teachers, and media coordinators came together at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation for the first event of the yearlong North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaches Network (DLCN): Building Change Agents in Education program.
The Friday Institute has collaborated with Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit organization, and North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) to develop the DLCN to assist schools and districts in the process of digital learning transitions, and to cultivate local capacity by providing support to those in coaching roles, as coaches are essential to leading and supporting student-centered digital learning and teaching.
“Project Tomorrow is partnering with the Friday Institute to extend what we learned from our National Science Foundation funded Teachers’ Readiness to Adopt and Adapt Digital Content grant to more education leaders in North Carolina,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “This research demonstrates the importance and value of instructional coaches to help teachers leverage technology effectively to enhance student learning experiences.”  
Based on research on effective professional learning, the DLCN will provide ongoing, job-embedded and peer-supported professional development that is grounded in relevant and rigorous curriculum and instruction. This program seeks to ensure that participants have access to personalized and sustainable opportunities centered around pedagogy and digital learning with a significant emphasis on strategies that allow them to apply that knowledge to build capacity among educators, administrators, and students in the school.
Throughout the year, the cohort of educators will reconvene and interact with education experts through monthly face-to-face reunions and in an online environment. This structure will provide participants opportunities for professional networking and collaboration within a blended and sustainable community for the sharing of ideas and strategies. They will also acquire strategies and knowledge related to best practices in leadership and supporting stakeholders in their schools and districts.
“In giving these coaches an opportunity to learn and network with other educators who are in similar roles, we are helping to build a support structure that will ultimately have a positive impact on student learning experiences,” said Nancy Mangum, a research scholar at the Friday Institute and a project lead for DLCN.
This blended learning experience, built on the North Carolina Media Coordinator, Instructional Technology Facilitator & Coaching Evaluation Instruments, will help participants grow as educators, coaches and leaders while assisting them in building strong professional learning networks. The core components of Leadership and Culture, Content and Curriculum, Sustainability and Evaluation, and Being a Connected Educator are woven throughout all components of the DLCN experience.
More information about the program can be found at
About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow (, a national education nonprofit organization headquartered in Irvine, California, supports the innovative uses of research-based science, math and technology resources to develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity in K-12 students. Project Tomorrow addresses the challenges of developing schools for the 21st century through national research projects, community and school-based programs, online tools and resources, and advocacy efforts to ensure that all students are prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and engaged citizens of the world.
About the Friday Institute
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation ( at the North Carolina State University’s College of Education conducts research, develops educational resources, provides professional development programs for educators, advocates to improve teaching and learning, and helps inform policy-makers, all centered on innovations that will help prepare K–12 students for college, a career, and citizenship in the global information age.

Speak Up permission request form

With the release of the Speak Up 2014 survey data next month and the release of our national reports in the spring, now is the time to start thinking about how you want to use your school or district data and the data found in our national reports. If you are interested in using data from our national reports for your own publications, be sure to fill out a permission request form and send it to Click here to download a copy of the permission request form, or click on the image above.

Digital games used to teach English-language arts

While books, poems, art, and even films have all been used to teach English-language arts to students, some teachers have taken a new route by incorporating digital games into their classrooms. Fullbright Company’s game, “Gone Home,” tells the story of Katie Greenbriar, who comes home to an empty house and missing family members after spending a year abroad. Unlike traditional video games, “Gone Home” focuses on the story rather than leveling up; critics have praised the game as a new way of storytelling, and it has made its way into classrooms as a substitute for traditional text due to its non-linear story that forces players to explore the game’s surroundings and create their own narrative and conclusions.

Toronto-based teacher Paul Darvasi began using “Gone Home” in his all-boys English class in 2013. He created objected for students around various subtopics, such as “1995 Archeology” in which students found objects from the year the game was set. The findings of each subtopic was then presented through PowerPoint, where students were assessed on their presentations. In order to individually assess the students, Darvasi required students to write game reviews and track subtopics via screen shots and notes from the game – all of which correlated to the Common Core State Standards. “In a sense, it played out similar to a typical literature unit,” Darvasi said. “Except that you are substituting written text with a game’s text.”

“Gone Home” has not only affected classrooms in the North America, but international classrooms as well. Alexander Husoy, an English teacher in Norway, came across Darvasi’s blog posts about the game and teamed up with Darvasi to co-deliver the unit in fall 2014. Students from both schools collaborate through blog posts, private Facebook groups, and even Google Hangout in order to create their final project assessments.

Last fall, the 2014 Speak Up survey asked students questions about digital games in the classroom, such as “What would be the benefits of having video, online, or digital games as a part of your regular schoolwork or classroom activities?” Find out the results from this question and more when we release our Speak Up 2014 data in early February – in the meantime, you can view past data and reports here.

Interested in learning more about “Gone Home” and its use in the classroom? Read the original article, “‘Gone Home’: A Video Game as a Tool for Teaching Critical Thinking Skills” by Ki Sung (MindShift), or visit the official “Gone Home” website.

Throwback Thursday

Happy Throwback Thursday! Each Throwback Thursday will feature past Project Tomorrow news, events, data reports, and more. This week we’re focusing on our YouthTEACH2Learn program, with a testimonial from past participant Shelly Becerra, class of 2011 from Trabuco Hills High School. Check out her experience below:

YouthTEACH2Learn was an exciting and unique opportunity for me. Throughout high school I was consistently split between teaching and computer engineering as my preferred career choices. I had always loved kids, but also math and technology. My sophomore year I took Honors physics with Mrs. Fliegler, one of the YouthTEACH2Learn teachers at Trabuco. She always talked about how fun and exciting the class was. My junior year I took Honors Chemistry with Mr. Camilling, the other YouthTEACH2Learn teacher at our school. He also expressed his love of the class. My senior year I finally enrolled in YouthTEACH2Learn. I had an amazing experience. Our school team, Melinda Heights, was so great. Our kids were awesome, and really enjoyed us teaching them.

There are a few key moments really stand out in my mind. One was the fire alarm. Right in the middle of one of our lessons, the fire alarm went off. It was a little stressful trying to figure out what to do, but in the end we thought everything through and finished teaching our lesson. The next experience I will always remember was a time when a cute little girl, Regan gave us a thank you note. It was extremely touching. The final moment that stands out was our last lesson. We were saying good-bye to Mrs. Cline’s class, walking them out to recess, when one by one, the elementary kids came up and hugged us all. It was so unexpected, but amazing! Our team left that day a little sad, but happy that we touched those kids’ lives like that.

I can remember learning from high school students in the YouthTEACH2Learn program when I was little, and after being in the program, I truly understand how great the class is. This program was the key factor in my choosing teaching as my career path. I am beginning school at Cal State Fullerton as a Math major, in hopes of becoming a high school math teacher.

The YouthTEACH2Learn program is a career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels and visit local college campuses in order to determine if the teaching is a “good-fit” for their professional goals.

Interested in YouthTEACH2Learn? Click here to see it in action, and click here to learn more about the program. 

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Around the Web Wednesday! Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and technology. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!