Category Archives: digital tools

Digital vs. print

As with anything new, digital reading has been met with hesitation. Mark Pennington, a reading specialist in Elk Grove, believes that digital reading can eventually be on the same level as reading print. He says that the trick to being a good reader is being an engaged reader, and that it does not matter whether students are reading digitally or through print. “It’s pretty clear that good readers are active readers engaged with the text,” he said.

While more and more schools adopt digital readers like iPads and Chromebooks, some research shows that students comprehend more from reading print. Even though digital readers allow students to interact with their text in new ways, a study done by West Chester University found that younger students may be overwhelmed by the multimedia environment that e-books provide (which can therefore overwhelm their limited working memory) and that older students find it difficult to take notes on digital readers.

Perhaps all it takes is a shift in perspective in order to alleviate these issues with digital reading. Hillview Middle’s principal, Erik Burmeister, says that annotating digital books is actually better than traditional note-taking, as annotating provides permanent notes whereas traditional annotating typically means throwing away the books at the end of the year. Despite these achievements with digital reading tools, more research still needs to be done about whether digital tools or pen and paper are more effective. In the meantime, schools like Elk Grove and Hillview Middle will continue to use digital tools to help students understand what they’re reading.

Interested in learning more? Check out the original article, “Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading?” and West Chester University’s study.

Every year we ask questions about how educators and administrators are successfully using digital tools in the classroom, or which tools they wish they used in the classroom. An example is:
Imagine you are designing the ultimate school. Which tools would have the greatest positive impact on your (the student’s) learning? 

Speak Up provides an easy way for students, parents and educators to participate in local decisions about technology, as well as contribute to the state and national dialogue about educational technology. Data from the surveys – including data regarding online classes – will be released in February 2015. Click here to register for Speak Up 2014 and mark your calendars for the survey’s launch date on October 6!

Speak Up featured on eSchoolNews

Once again, Speak Up was featured on eSchoolNews in an article that discusses the top ways digital tools transform learning, which uses data from Speak Up 2013 and Julie Evans’s recent webinar with Check out some of the data below:

Teachers who self-assessed their use of digital tools as “advanced” (28 percent of respondents) use a variety of digital tools and approaches, including: 

  • Internet to research information about a lesson (90 percent)
  • Watching online videos to learn (74 percent)
  • Text with colleagues (67 percent)
  • Customize digital content for class use (56 percent)
  • Participate in online professional learning communities (55 percent)

Interested in learning more about how digital tools can change learning? Check out Laura DeVaney’s article, “The top ways digital tools transform learning,” and access our Speak Up 2013 report.

eSchool News covers education technology in all its aspects–from legislation and litigation, to case studies, to purchasing practices and new products. First published in March of 1998, eSchool News is a monthly print and digital newspaper providing the news and information necessary to help K-20 decision-makers successfully use technology and the internet to transform North America’s schools and colleges and achieve their educational goals. The newspaper is read by more than 300,000 school leaders, and a companion web site—eSchool News Online ( ) is visited by more than 500,000 unique visitors each month, including over 280,000 registered members.

FREE webinar: Digital Tools and Personalized Learning, Today and Tomorrow

What: FREE webinar, “New Research: Digital Tools and Personalized Learning, Today and Tomorrow”
When: July 29th at 4PM ET
Where: online for free!
Register here
How are learning and teaching being transformed by digital tools? How do administrators, teachers, parents, and students really use technology right now? And what does the future of personalized learning look like? 

In’s next webinar, Julie Evans will share survey findings from the Speak Up National Research Project and discuss learning and teaching with technology, 21st Century Skills, and STEM instruction. She will be joined by Christie Gibson, Principal of Crull Elementary School, who will share insights from her Board of Education Report on state reporting, as well as comparisons of student growth with the amount of time digital tools are used in each classroom.  Join Julie and Christie on July 29th to hear the latest on digital tools and personalized learning, today and tomorrow.

As always, if attending take the conversation to twitter! Don’t forget to mention @SpeakUpEd, @ProjectTomorrow, @edwebnet, and #edwebchat – see you online!