Category Archives: Speak Up

Today is the last day to participate in Speak Up!

Speak Up 2014

The last day of Speak Up is here!

This year’s survey period has been amazing with over 520,000 surveys already submitted – a record breaking number! We still have a few hours left, so be sure to take the survey by midnight PT!
To keep that Speak Up momentum going for the last few hours of the survey, check out these exciting opportunities and announcements:

▪ Free BbWorld, iNACOL, NCCE and NETA Conference Registrations: Take the survey before midnight PT for a chance to win one of these free registrations! 
▪ Speak Up America: We are thrilled to announce our Speak Up America winners!
▪ Happy Holidays from the Project Tomorrow team!
▪ Start making plans now for ways to use the Speak Up data. Local data results for all participating schools and districts will be released on February 5, 2015.

If you haven’t already please be sure to take the survey before midnight!
Click here to take the survey and pass it on.
Happy reading! Feel free to share your thoughts with us on FacebookTwitter, and our Blog.

-The Project Tomorrow team

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There is still time to win a free conference registration!

Speak Up may be ending soon but there are still plenty of opportunities to win free conference registrations! In a special extension of our Speak Up America promotions, our good friends at BlackboardiNACOLNCCE, and NETAhave graciously offered free conference registrations to their respective events! All entries submitted today before midnight are eligible to be entered into a drawing to win a free registration!
Winning is as easy as speaking up! All you need to do is encourage your staff, students, their parents and the local community to take the survey before it closes at midnight. This is a great way to reach out to different audiences that may have a lower participation than you would like, for example to target your K-12 parents, teachers or local community members! The more surveys you get in, the more opportunities you have to win!
iNACOL
NCCE
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Speak Up America winners

Thank you to all who participated in Speak Up America last week! We are thrilled to announce the winners of our photo challenge, video challenge, BrainPOP classroom subscriptions, and conference registrations:
Onslow 2
Southwood Elementary
Newington Schools

Photo challenge

This year we had so many more #speakupsnapshot entries than we had ever envisioned submitted for our photo challenge! Check out our top 3 photos (above) and the winning schools:

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

Thank you to everyone who submitted a #speakupsnapshot this year! Click here to view all the entries.

Video challenge

In its first year, our #VoicesofSpeakUp video challenge received many wonderful entries, each answering the question, ““Why is using digital tools for learning important for your future?” Check out our 2 video challenge winners, and click on the links below to watch the winning videos:

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

BrainPOP

BrainPOP Classroom Certificates

Our friends at BrainPOP have offered not one, but two free classroom certificates this year! The winners of the free certificates are:

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

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ISTE Conference Registrations

Thanks to our good friends at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), we are proud to announce the 2 districts who have won free 2015 ISTE conference registrations:

▪ Shelby County School District, AL
▪ Wake County Public School System, NC

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TCEA Conference Registration

This year the wonderful folks at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) offered a free TCEA 2015 Conference & Exposition registration to one lucky Texas school district. The winning district is Mission Consolidated Independent School District in Mission, TX. Congratulations!
CUE 2015

CUE Conference Registration

Congratulations to Clark County Schools, NV andAnaheim City School District, CA on winning free registrations to the CUE 2015 Annual Conference! Thank you CUE for this amazing opportunity!
Thank you once again to everyone who participated in Speak Up America this year! Don’t forget – there is still time to participate in Speak Up and win more conference registrations!
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Happy holidays!

Thank you all for your support of Speak Up this year! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday break! The Project Tomorrow office will be closed December 22, 2014 through January 5, 2015. We look forward to speaking up with you in the new year!

Exciting new Speak Up opportunities!

Speak Up America may be over, but we still have several exciting events and opportunities during the last week of Speak Up! Check them out below, and don’t forget to take the survey before it closes this Friday, December 19th.

Participate in Speak Up this week for a chance to win a free 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium registration!

Our friends at the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) have graciously donated a free 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium registration to one lucky Speak Up district. If you have ever wanted to attend the symposium, this is your chance! Winning the free registration is easy – all you need to do is encourage your staff, students, their parents and local community to take the Speak Up survey before the survey period ends on December 19th, 2014. Each survey from your district will serve as an entry into a special drawing for a chance to win the free symposium registration – the more surveys taken, the more opportunities your district has to win!
Save the date for the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium in Florida from November 8-11, 2015! To learn more about the symposium and iNACOL, visit their website at http://www.inacol.org/.

Blackboard

Save the Date now for #BbWorld15 in Washington DC because here’s your chance to win one full conference badge!

Speak Up America week may be over but the fun is just about to begin! In a special extension of our Speak Up America promotions, our good friends and wonderful sponsors of Speak Up, Blackboard has offered a free BbWorld 2015 conference badge to gift to one lucky Blackboard district during our final week of Speak Up!
Winning is as easy as speaking up! All you need to do is encourage your staff, students, their parents and the local community to participate in Speak Up during the final week of Speak Up. This is a great way to reach out to different audiences that may have a lower participation numbers than you would like, for example to target your K-12 parents, teachers or local community members! The more surveys you get in, the more opportunities you have to win!
In addition to your free BbWorld conference badge, the selected recipient attending the conference will also have the opportunity to join our CEO Julie Evans for dinner in Washington DC. Here’s your chance to pick our CEO Julie Evans’ brain on all things digital learning!
It’s never too early to start getting excited for next year, so go ahead and pencil BbWorld in for July 21-23, 2015 at Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. To learn more about #BbWorld15 and all the great happening from this year’s conference please visit: http://www.blackboard.com/sites/Bbworld14/ 
*Transportation and housing costs are not included.

Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington districts turn up the volume and Speak Up!

As part of our Speak Up America campaign, our good friends at NCCE and NETA offered us free conference registrations to their upcoming 2015 conferences. With Speak Up America week coming to a close, we’ve received quite a few requests for an extension on these popular regional conference registration opportunities. To ensure everyone has a chance to Speak Up we will be extending this great promotion to all districts in these states so that everyone has the same amazing opportunity to win.
So Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington get out there and SPEAK UP! Be sure to assign a primary contact to your school or district, otherwise we will have no way of contact you and more importantly we’ll have no way to send you your 2014 Speak Up data results come Feb. 2015!
Know an educator in one of these states? Please help spread the word, and pass along information about this great opportunity. Learn more about these great conference registrations below:
Nebraska Districts: Mark your calendars for April 23rd-24th and be “On the Move” for the 2015 NETA Spring Conference with an opportunity to win a free conference registration for one lucky member of your team ($125 value). Our friends at NETA have offered a free conference registration to one lucky district in the state, all you need to do is encourage your schools to participate in Speak Up during the final week of Speak Up! The more surveys you get in, the more chances to you have to win! Learn more about the NETA conference and all of its great offerings here.
*Transportation and housing costs are not included.
Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington Districts: Our friends at the Northwest Council for Computer Education have graciously offered a free NCCE conference registration ($375 value) for their upcoming March 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon. Like our other free registration opportunities, all you need to do to enter is encourage your staff, students, parents, and the local community to participate in Speak Up. Each survey from your district acts as an entry into the contest – the more surveys taken in your district, the more chances you will have to win! Learn more about the conference and all its great offerings here. Also be sure to check out NCCE’s Tech-Savvy Teacher Blog at: http://blog.ncce.org/
*Transportation and housing costs are not included.

Photo and Video Challenge Extended through Wednesday, December 17th!

Thank you to all who have submitted their #SpeakUpsnapshot photos this week! On Monday we will be choosing one winner from Speak Up America week’s photo challenge entries to receive a $250 classroom/school grant.
Due to multiple requests, we have decided to extend the photo and video challenge through Wednesday, December 17th. We understand that many of you plan on participating in Speak Up next week and we wanted to give everyone an equal opportunity to win. Therefore, all photo and video entries submitted next week through Wednesday, December 17th by 12PM ET will be entered into a separate contest with a total of four opportunities to win $225 in classroom or school grants! With more opportunities to win, receiving $225 in classroom or school grants has never been easier – so get your cameras ready and submit your photos and videos today!

Photo and video challenge rules

Photo challenge
Hashtag: #SpeakUpSnapshot
Winning a $225 grant has never been easier! All you need to do is take a picture with the Speak Up America 2014 Badge highlighting your Speak Up experience and upload the photo to one of our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or the photo challenge page. All pictures submitted through Wednesday, December 17th will be entered into a contest with up to four opportunities to win $225, so get your cameras out and shoot a photo showing you and your students Speaking Up!
Video challenge
Hashtag: #VoicesofSpeakUp 
“Why is using digital tools for learning important for your future?”
We want to see you and your class “Speak Up” in action! In our social media video challenge, Project Tomorrow wants to know:
“Why is using digital tools for learning important for your (students’) future?”
All you need to do is create a short 15-30 second video answering the question above. Use this opportunity to get your class involved by making this into a class project. Submissions can come in the form of videos, animations (PowToon), slideshows, voice snippets and more! The more creative the better!
All videos submitted next week will be entered into our special Speak Up challenge contest extension, with opportunities to win a $225 grant! With only three videos submitted so far, your chances of winning have never been higher!

*All submissions already entered into the contest will be included in the extended contest.

Last minute Speak Up outreach ideas

The final week of Speak Up is here! Do you need help encouraging participation in your school or district? Try sending out these short emails before the survey closes this Friday, December 19th. Feel free to change the text to better fit your school or district’s needs.

 
Email #1:
The last week of Speak Up is here!
 
Encourage your district to take the Speak Up survey before it closes on December 19th, 2014! Be a part of this year’s Speak Up Research Project and start learning about the ideas and views of your students, parents, faculty, and community members regarding education, technology, 21st century skills and more.  Not only can Speak Up help inform school or district plans, policies, purchases and programs around digital learning – all Speak Up surveys submitted this week will enter your district into drawings with opportunities to win free BbWorld 2015 and regional conference registrations!
 
Start learning about the aspirations of your district at http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/. Speak Up 2014 is open for input through Friday, December 19th, 2014, with survey data released in February 2015.
Email #2:
District leaders: Learn about the aspirations of your district through Speak Up
 
Sign up to be a part of this year’s Speak Up National Research Project, a quick and free survey designed with you and your district’s needs in mind! With the survey period closing on Friday, December 19th, this is your last chance to learn what your students, parents, faculty, and community think about education, technology, and 21st century skills. Take the survey this week and not only will your district receive its data in February 2015 to help with your digital learning plans, but your district will also be entered into drawings to win free BbWorld 2015 and regional conference registrations!
 
Start learning about the aspirations of your district at http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/. Speak Up 2014 is open for input through Friday, December 19th, 2014, with survey data released in February 2015.
Email #3:
Do you need help with planning policies, purchases and programs around digital learning? Do you want a chance to win a $225 classroom or school grant and conference registrations? Participate in Speak Up, a national research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow, before it closes on Friday, December 19th! By participating in Speak Up, your students, parents, faculty and community have a chance to share their thoughts about education, technology, and 21st century skills. Furthermore, you will receive free online access to this data with state and national comparisons to help with your own digital learning plans beginning February 2015. Now is the time to Speak Up about education – be sure to participate before Friday, December 19th.
 
Start learning about the aspirations of your district at http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/. Speak Up 2014 is open for input through Friday, December 19th, 2014, with survey data released in February 2015.
Email #4:
Take the Speak Up survey before December 19th and learn about the aspirations of your district!
Join the conversation about the use of technology for learning through Speak Up, a national research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow (www.tomorrow.org)!   By encouraging participation in Speak Up you will have the unique opportunity to have your views—as well as the views of your educators, students, their parents and the local community—included in the increasingly important U.S. national and state discussions on digital learning policies, programs, and funding. More importantly, you will receive free online access to your participant results with state and national comparisons to use for your own technology assessment needs, budgeting, planning, or evaluation, beginning February 4, 2015! Participate in Speak Up today before the survey period closes on Friday, December 19th.

Start learning about the aspirations of your district at http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/. Speak Up 2014 is open for input through Friday, December 19th, 2014, with survey data released in February 2015. 

For more outreach ideas, visit our promotional materials page: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/promo.html.

One week to go – Speak Up Closes Dec. 19th!

Speak Up 2014

Thanks for Speaking Up America!

Thank you to everyone that participated in Speak Up America 2014! Over 85,000 students, parents, educators and members of the community spoke up about digital learning this week, and the Speak Up community took on social media by storm with multiple Photo & Video challenge submissions and a Twitter chat with our fabulous CEO, Julie Evans on new and surprising preliminary data findings from this year’s surveys.
This year’s survey period has been amazing with over 421,000 surveys already submitted! We still have a week to go, so be sure to participate before the surveys close on Friday, December 19th.
To keep that Speak Up momentum going, we are excited to announce new Speak Up happenings and promotions taking place all next week:

▪ Free BbWorld Conference Registration: Learn how you can win a free BbWorld Conference Badge just by participating in Speak Up. 
▪ Free Regional Conference Registrations to NCCE and NETA extended into next week!
▪ EXTENDED: Photo and Video Challenge: You now have four chances to win a $250 classroom or school grant.
▪ Speak Up 2014 preliminary data snapshots review 
▪ Last call, get your Speak Up surveys in by Friday December 19th: Need some ideas to help get more of your stakeholders involved. Check out our list of last minute promotional ideas.
▪ Start making plans now for ways to use the Speak Up data. Local data results for all participating schools and districts will be released on February 5, 2015.

If you haven’t already please be sure to take the survey before December 19th! Already taken the survey? Start spreading the word about the survey to your network of friends and family! Word of mouth is always the best promotion, help us expand our reach!
Click here to take the survey and pass it on.
Happy reading! Feel free to share your thoughts with us on FacebookTwitter, and our Blog.

-The Project Tomorrow team

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Save the Date now for #BbWorld15 in Washington DC because here’s your chance to win one full conference badge!

Speak Up America week may be over but the fun is just about to begin! In a special extension of our Speak Up America promotions, our good friends and wonderful sponsors of Speak Up, Blackboard has offered a free BbWorld 2015 conference badge to gift to one lucky Blackboard district during our final week of Speak Up!
Winning is as easy as speaking up! All you need to do is encourage your staff, students, their parents and the local community to participate in Speak Up during the final week of Speak Up. This is a great way to reach out to different audiences that may have a lower participation numbers than you would like, for example to target your K-12 parents, teachers or local community members! The more surveys you get in, the more opportunities you have to win!
In addition to your free BbWorld conference badge, the selected recipient attending the conference will also have the opportunity to join our CEO Julie Evans for dinner in Washington DC. Here’s your chance to pick our CEO Julie Evans’ brain on all things digital learning!
It’s never too early to start getting excited for next year, so go ahead and pencil BbWorld in for July 21-23, 2015 at Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. To learn more about #BbWorld15 and all the great happening from this year’s conference please visit: http://www.blackboard.com/sites/Bbworld14/
*Transportation and housing costs are not included.
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Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington districts turn up the volume and Speak Up!

As part of our Speak Up America campaign, our good friends at NCCE and NETA offered us free conference registrations to their upcoming 2015 conferences. With Speak Up America week coming to a close, we’ve received quite a few requests for an extension on these popular regional conference registration opportunities. To ensure everyone has a chance to Speak Up we will be extending this great promotion to all district’s in these states so that everyone has the same amazing opportunity to win.
So Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington get out there and SPEAK UP! Be sure to assign a primary contact to your school or district, otherwise we will have no way of contact you and more importantly we’ll have no way to send you your 2014 Speak Up data results come Feb. 2015!
Know an educator in one of these states? Please help spread the word, and pass along information about this great opportunity. Learn more about these great conference registrations below:
Nebraska Districts: Mark your calendars for April 23rd-24th and be “On the Move” for the 2015 NETA Spring Conference with an opportunity to win a free conference registration for one lucky member of your team ($125 value). Our friends at NETA have offered a free conference registration to one lucky district in the state, all you need to do is encourage your schools to participate in Speak Up during the final week of Speak Up! The more surveys you get in, the more chances to you have to win! Learn more about the NETA conference and all of its great offerings here.
*Transportation and housing costs are not included.
Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington Districts: Our friends at the Northwest Council for Computer Education have graciously offered a free NCCE conference registration ($375 value) for their upcoming March 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon. Like our other free registration opportunities, all you need to do to enter is encourage your staff, students, parents, and the local community to participate in Speak Up. Each survey from your district acts as an entry into the contest – the more surveys taken in your district, the more chances you will have to win! Learn more about the conference and all its great offerings here. Also be sure to check out NCCE’s Tech-Savvy Teacher Blog at: http://blog.ncce.org/.
*Transportation and housing costs are not included.
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Photo and Video Challenge Extended through Wednesday, December 17th!

Thank you to all who have submitted their#SpeakUpsnapshot photos this week! On Monday we will be choosing one winner from this week’s photo challenge entries to receive a $250 classroom/school grant.
Due to multiple requests, we have decided to extend the photo and video challenge through Wednesday, December 17th. We understand that many of you plan on participating in Speak Up next week and we wanted to give everyone an equal opportunity to win. Therefore, all photo and video entries submitted next week through Wednesday, December 17th by 12PM ET will be entered into a separate contest with a total of four opportunities to win $225 in classroom or school grants! With more opportunities to win, receiving $225 in classroom or school grants has never been easier – so get your cameras ready and submit your photos and videos today!

Photo and video challenge rules

Winning a $225 grant has never been easier! All you need to do is take a picture with the Speak Up America 2014 Badge highlighting your Speak Up experience and upload the photo to one of our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or the photo challenge page. All pictures submitted through Wednesday, December 17th will be entered into a contest with up to four opportunities to win $225, so get your cameras out and shoot a photo showing you and your students Speaking Up!
Video challenge
Hashtag: #VoicesofSpeakUp

“Why is using digital tools for learning important for your future?”
We want to see you and your class “Speak Up” in action! In our social media video challenge, Project Tomorrow wants to know:
“Why is using digital tools for learning important for your (students’) future?”
All you need to do is create a short 15-30 second video answering the question above. Use this opportunity to get your class involved by making this into a class project. Submissions can come in the form of videos, animations (PowToon), slideshows, voice snippets and more! The more creative the better!
All videos submitted next week will be entered into our special Speak Up challenge contest extension, with opportunities to win a $225 grant! With only three videos submitted so far, your chances of winning have never been higher!
*All submissions already entered into the contest will also be included in next week’s contest.
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Daily Speak Up 2014 Preliminary data snapshots

In celebration of our Speak Up America, we pulled a special snapshot 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.
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With one week to go there is still plenty of time to get the word out about Speak Up. If you just registered your district or are looking for new ways to promote the survey how about trying one of these ideas:

▪ Host a Speak Up Day: Pick a day in December to have your K-12 community complete the Speak Up Surveys!
▪ Focus on one survey type: Each survey receives their own data set with national comparisons (k-2, 3-5, 6-8,9-12, parent, teacher etc.) a focus on teachers, parents and/or administrators is an easy push and a great way to receive a meaningful dataset. Some recommendations would be to send an email or phone recording to parents or email blast to your teachers. Click here for a variety of sample emails.
▪ Highlight the Speak Up survey on your website using one of our Speak Up logos (with a link to the survey). Click here for the code to embed on your website. Make sure to include your survey password!
▪ Use social media networks such as facebook or twitter to get the word out about Speak Up to your stakeholders. Try retweeting one of our @speakuped tweets or post these sample tweets, just click on Tweet this!:

Participate in Speak Up and share your ideas about how to leverage technology in schools to promote better learning: bit.ly/SU14survey >>> Tweet This!
Join the #edtech conversation and share your viewpoints on 21st century education with @SpeakUpEd: http://bit.ly/SU14survey >>> Tweet This!
23 questions + 15 minutes of your time = valuable research for the education community! Take the survey today @ http://bit.ly/SU14survey >>> Tweet This!
Are you “Speaking Up” about digital learning this year? Make your voice heard participate in Speak Up 2014 at http://bit.ly/SU14survey >>> Tweet This!
Participate in Speak Up and share your thoughts and views on the importance of education within your community http://bit.ly/SU14survey >>> Tweet This!
There’s still time to experience the value of #SpeakUp by collecting &using the data to garner support for your key technology initiatives! >>> Tweet This!
Reminder to fill out your @SpeakUpEd Survey 2014 by Dec. 19! Don’t miss your opportunity to Speak Up! http://bit.ly/SU14survey >>> Tweet This!
For more ideas, please check out our promo material pages website at:http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/promo.html
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Many thanks to our sponsors and partners for the support of Speak Up 2014: Blackboard Inc., BrainPOP, K12, DreamBox Learning, Schoolwires, SMART Technologies, 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.

Speak Up 2014 Snapshot for Principals

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 October 6 – November 24 from 1,769 school administrators/principals  nationwide).   The final data results will be published in a series of national reports in spring 2015. 
 
Blended Learning – What Types of Students Benefit the Most? 
 
One of the most interesting trends in digital learning today is the increasing number of learning experience models that are using online, virtual or blended approaches to instruction.  Having recently attended the iNACOL symposium, I was intrigued by both the growing interest in different versions of online learning in practice, and some of the new questions being raised by school and district leaders about how to implement these models.  The Speak Up data can inform those questions and add value to the nascent implementations.
Specific to blended learning, one-quarter of principals say that their schools have implemented some version of a blended learning model that has yielded positive results so far.  We thought this was an interesting development.  To learn more about principals’ motivations for supporting blended learning, we asked the administrators this year about the types of students who they think benefit the most from blended learning experiences. The principals’ identified students that had either a proven success record or external foundation factors to be successful with blended learning.  For example, the principals felt that blended learning worked best with students who had a record of accomplishment and academic success (75 percent) or who had experience with independent learning (66 percent).   A student’s personal motivation for blended learning was also a marker for success.  Seven of ten principals felt that students who had expressed an interest in advanced coursework would be good candidates for blended learning.  Same with students who had a strong family structure (59 percent) that could help the student navigate the differences associated with learning independently and through a blended model.   In short, the principals recognized students for blended learning who were most likely to be successful in almost any kind of learning environment; they did not identify students with learning or family challenges.   As blended learning implementations continue to evolve, it is going to be important for school administrators to explore further how to leverage blended learning for a wide variety of students and learning needs.

 

Want to learn more about the views of principals, teachers, parents and students about blended 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/

Speak Up 2014 Snapshot for Librarians

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 October 6 – November 24 from 1,015 librarians and media specialists nationwide).   The final data results will be published in a series of national reports in spring 2015.  
 
Meet the new digital leader in your school – your librarian!
In many schools across the country, the roles of the librarian and media specialist are gaining in importance as the use of digital content within classroom instruction takes a center stage position.  Speak Up has been following this trend for several years, and I am excited by the emergence of the librarian as a digital leader within the school community.   The adoption of digital content in the classroom is not a straightforward process – and today’s teachers need guidance and support on the identification of appropriate content, and strategies of effective use.  Enter the librarians and media specialists!   From our preliminary review of the data collected, 53 percent of librarians  say they are regularly identifying digital content for teachers to use in their classroom.  More importantly for sustainability, 48% say that they are helping teachers learn how to identify digital content for instructional use, thus building up teacher capacity for sourcing their own classroom content.  Keep up the good work, librarians and media specialists!
Given that the librarians are increasingly serving as “digital content sherpas” in their schools, their views on the benefits or value of digital content within instruction is especially important, especially for school leaders looking to build a case for blended learning.  Librarians see digital content as having a direct benefit on the student learning experience by increasing engagement (86 percent), extending learning beyond the classroom (72 percent), and providing a foundation for personalizing learning for every student (68 percent).  Additionally, over two-thirds believe that the inclusion of digital content in the curriculum has the overall effect of improving the quality of the instructional materials (68 percent), most notably from a relevancy and context perspective.
So, what is the major obstacle that schools face in increasing the use of digital content in the classroom?  Librarians are in a unique spot to answer that question given their new roles as shepherds of digital content usage.  With an eye on the importance of changing  teachers’ instructional practices, librarians identify that their biggest challenge is helping teachers move from sporadic, occasional use of a digital content asset (like an online article, simulation or game-based activity) to sustained, highly integrated use within everyday lessons and class activities.  Principals identify a similar challenge.  The good news for many school leaders is that their school librarian or media specialist is taking on that challenge as their own.  It will be very exciting over the next year to continue to see how the role of the librarian is changing in many schools – and the impact that these digital content sherpas can have on enhancing students’ learning experiences in the classroom and beyond.
Want to learn more about the benefits and barriers associated with expanding the use of digital content in your school?  Every school and district that participates in Speak Up and promotes the surveys to their staff, students and parents, 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/

Speak Up 2014 Snapshot for Students

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 October 6 – November 24 from 201,297 middle and high school students nationwide).   The final data results will be published in a series of national reports in spring 2015. 
Supporting the Hour of Code:  Students’ Interest in Learning Computer Programming
 
From Minecraft fairs at schools to girl coding parties after school, schools and communities are encouraging today’s students to embrace coding or computer programming as a new essential literacy.  The momentum behind the efforts of our colleague, Code.org, to develop greater student (and parent/teacher) interest in coding has been exciting to watch develop.  In honor of this week’s Hour of Code events, we are pleased to share with the nation a preliminary set of Speak Up data on student interest in coding to provide additional context for the week’s activities. 
 
While less than 10 percent of students in grades 6-12 are currently involved in programs or classes that are teaching computer programming, students have a high interest in learning more about this new literacy.  Amongst high school students, 45 percent say they are interested in learning how to code; 17 percent are very interested.  For students in grades 6-8, over half of those students (53 percent) expressed an interest in learning programming with one-quarter of those students identifying as very interested.  Given that high demand, schools may be concerned about how to address students’ interests with current teachers or electives.  Interestingly, 27 percent of high school students and 38 percent of middle school students would like to take an online computer programming class.
 
While the level of middle and high school student interest in coding is impressive, especially in light of the Hour of Code momentum, the real growth market appears to be upper elementary students.  When we asked students in grades 3-5 if they are interested in learning more about coding and programming, 66 percent said yes!  So, while many traditionally think about programming as a high school elective class or afterschool club, we may want to think about new ways to engage our elementary students in coding activities – especially since their interest is so high right now.  As we know from our research on other STEM activities, engaging and supporting student interest in the elementary grades is critical for sustaining that interest in the later grades.    
 
Want to learn more about the coding interests of your students as well as the perceptions of teachers and parents on this hot topic?  Every school and district that participates in Speak Up and promotes the surveys to their K-12 students, teachers and parents, 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/

Take a moment to Speak Up – a blog post by ISTE CEO Brian Lewis

This is a special blog post by ISTE CEO Brian Lewis. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world. Learn more about ISTE at iste.org.
 
It’s not every day that educators have access to a direct, efficient opportunity to instantly impact the future of education. But that’s certainly the case for those who take just a few minutes to complete Project Tomorrow’s 2014 Speak Up Survey through Dec. 19
 
By completing the brief survey – it takes only about 15 minutes – you’ll be making your voice heard from classrooms to the halls of Congress, from state capitols to boardrooms. You’ll also be ensuring that policymakers are making important program and funding decisions based upon real data from real education stakeholders.
 
And you’re not only assisting Project Tomorrow and others in the ed tech ecosystem, you’re helping ISTE. We use annual Speak Up Survey data to inform our policies, programs and initiatives, so your survey responses provide a double dose of influential data. And while we’re at it, we’d like to encourage other policy organizations to turn to Speak Up data to direct their initiatives. What better way to assure you’re meeting the needs, interests and vision of your members?
 
With so many factors creating challenges in schools today – Common Core, online assessments, changes to student populations, student safety and ever-advancing technology, to name a few – it’s profoundly important that education leaders share their opinions. And the Speak Up Survey is a straightforward way to make sure educators’ voices are heard.
 
If you need an additional incentive to participate, all who complete the survey by Friday, Dec. 12 will be entered to win a free registration for ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia. Complete the survey on National Speak Up Day, Wednesday, Dec. 10 and you’ll be entered into a separate ISTE 2015 registration drawing. Conference registration winners will also join Project Tomorrow CEO Julie Evans for dinner in Philadelphia and can use the time to pick her brain on all topics related to digital learning.

 

So, please, sit down for just a few minutes and Speak Up. 

Save the date! Participate in our Speak Up America Twitter chat tomorrow!


Topic: Data Surprises! Amazing New Data Findings from the Speak Up 2014 Student Surveys  

 
Time: Wednesday, December 10
4:30 pm ET, 3:30 pm CT, 2:30 pm MT, 1:30 pm PT

Don’t miss out! In this special Twitter chat on Speak Up America Day, Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, will share 5 preliminary data findings from the Speak Up 2014 K-12 surveys that really surprised her this year – and she would like to get your feedback on those same data findings.  Do they surprise you, do they shock you?  Are these findings in alignment with what you are hearing from students today?  What impact will these new revelations have on your school or classroom plans for 2015?  Come to learn and share your ideas!

If participating, be sure to use the hashtag #SUchat in your tweets and follow Julie on Twitter.

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/