Tag Archives: Julie Evans

Paying it forward: Leveraging Today’s Female Voices in Ed Tech #SXSWedu

SXSWedu Logo
Tuesday, March 10
3:00PM – 4:00PM
Austin Convention Center Room 12AB
500 East Cesar Chavez Street 
#edtech4women
http://www.tomorrow.org/SxSweduPanel.html

Are you at SXSWedu? Attend Julie Evans’s panel with Dr. Kari Stubbs, Dr. Mila Thomas Fuller, and Dr. Kecia Ray.

This panel brings together female change agents intentionally gathered from across the ed tech space with the hope of examining the unique role women can play at this interesting nexus of education and technology.  The discussion will be anchored around data on the presence, role, and level of influence of female voices in education and will include personal histories and testimonies on the growth in this field.

Join the conversation to hear from and interact with Nashville district leadership, the CEO of Project Tomorrow, a Vice President from BrainPOP, and the Director of the National Council of Teachers of English, all of whom have been national leaders in their field and have lent their expertise and vision to the work of the board of ISTE, the International Society of Technology in Education.  Research has demonstrated that the today’s young girls and women need role models in technology fields to develop self-efficacy in these fields.  While women have dominated the teaching profession for over the past century, the role of women as technology leaders within education is still emerging.

This interactive discussion explores multiple paths to ed tech leadership, including through university doctoral work, leadership with state and federal grants,  school district leadership, lending thought influence to visionary agencies such as Horizon K12 and Digital Promise, research  expertise, corporate America or a membership association, and contributing to the industry conversation through publications and at conferences such as SXSWedu.  The experiences of this diverse panel of education technology leaders will provide invaluable input into new best practices for supporting young girls and women in this field.  Whether you are examining how to further your own personal voice in the space, grow your PLN and exploring new professional career paths, or you are interested in how to leverage the experiences of women who are currently in this field to mentor and coach the next great generation of female ed tech leaders, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Memo #2 from Mobile Learning Week 2015

Paris, France
February 24, 2015
It is not often that I have the opportunity to attend a conference and focus on my own learning. Too often, I am consumed by preparation for my own sessions and presentations without any time to really absorb the energy or ideas generated by the event itself.  Not today.  Not at MLW2015.  With over 500 attendees representing over 80 countries here at this week’s Mobile Learning Week, I cannot help but sit back and be a student at this conference.  Here are 3 things that I learned today that I wanted to share with you.
1.       There are so many innovative and amazing projects involving mobile devices and digital content going on all around the globe.  With this week’s focus on women and girls, the projects are even more interesting for their emphasis on female empowerment and equity of opportunity.  I am also so impressed with the passion of the project leaders – whether that is a nonprofit/NGO, a government agency, an affiliate of the United Nations, or a company – everyone is excited and eager to share their story, what they have learned from their projects, and ask for help where needed.  The spirit of partnership development is alive and well here.  However, just as we see in the US conferences, too many projects are still “campfires of innovation” without any real plans or processes in place to scale, replicate or sustain their efforts.  Scaling projects is tough work – and often takes a different set of skills than project implementation.  I learned that this challenge is truly a universal one and that is actually good news. It means that there is a unique opportunity to share ideas and strategies beyond borders – and with a greater number of participants.  Two (or two million) brains are better than one on these types of challenges!
2.       Cherie Blair of the Cherie Blair Foundation forWomen was a speaker at today’s Symposium. Her foundation is doing important work supporting women’s education especially in terms of driving self-sufficiency and economic development.  They are a high impact nonprofit organization that has focused on collaborative projects to extend their impact – smart.  I was especially impressed with how they are engaging with technology to support their mission.  Mrs. Blair gave several examples of using mobile devices and blended learning help women develop the skills they need to be successful entrepreneurs in Africa.  My takeaway from her talk was some new ideas around how digital tools such as mobile devices can not only extend learning for students, but can be employed to support life-long, life-wide, life-deep learning in all kinds of communities, with all kinds of different goals.  In that sense, mobile provides a way for the learning to come directly to the learner.
3.       One of the day’s high profile panels was about providing equitable access to women and girls and thus, equalizing opportunity. The panel was top notch and included speakers from Intel, the Wikipedia Foundation and Mozilla amongst others.  All women, all passionate about equity, opportunity and the future.  I was especially impressed with Doreen Bogdan, who is the Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership for ITU, the International Telecommunications Union, a specialized agency with the United Nations.  The mission of this agency is to connect the world – simple task.  Her remarks focused on the need to connect more girls to technology careers and she shared some startling statistics on the decrease over the last few years in women’s interest in STEM careers.  We have tracked through the Speak Up data the lack of any real movement in terms of increasing girls’ interest in STEM fields, but the idea that we are slipping backwards was frightening.  ITU supports an interesting initiative called “Girls in ICT Day” which is a global event to shine a light on technology career opportunities for girls and women.  This year the event will be held on April 23.  As someone who has spent a career in the technology field, this hits home to me.  Check this out – and let me know how you think we can work together on this with your organization, school or district.
Wednesday is the second 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.  Another full day of learning!  Be part of the experience by following me on Twitter (@JulieEvans_PT).  I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow my insights from this event (and the people I am meeting) in our Memo #3 from Mobile Learning Week 2015!

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!

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

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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.
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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.
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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.
Kajeet
QC
PT
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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
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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 jhostert@tomorrow.org 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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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/

Happy Holidays from Project Tomorrow!

Happy Holidays from the Project Tomorrow Team! This is a special post written by Project Tomorrow CEO, Julie Evans.
Dear Friend of Project Tomorrow,
As I write this letter, Speak Up, Project Tomorrow’s survey of education stakeholders about the role of technology for learning in and out of school, has passed 400,000 participants – a full week ahead of that milestone last year.  In preparing our end of year newsletter, I realized that 2014 has been a banner year for Project Tomorrow in many ways, including:
  • Selection and inclusion in 100Kin10 and Orange County Teacher Preparation Pathway for our Tomorrow’s Teachers Initiative
  •  Research and evaluation projects for the National Science Foundation, Chicago Public Schools, and many more
  • Record participation at our Youth Leadership Summit and Future Educators Conference
Of course, none of this would be possible without the support and participation of the students, educators, business, and community partners who work with us every day to ensure that today’s students are prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and engaged citizens.  Thank you – and please take a moment to read more about our efforts this year and our plans for next year in our newsletter.
Finally, please consider an end of year donation to Project Tomorrow; together we can make 2015 an even greater success for students across the country.
Happy Holidays,

 

Julie Evans

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/

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/

Speak Up 2014 Snapshots for Educators

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 17,913 teachers nationwide). The final data results will be published in a series of national reports in spring 2015.

Wishing upon a professional development dream —
what teachers say they really need to be more effective!

Both teachers and administrators agree that the value of the use of digital tools and resources can be enhanced if teachers receive appropriate professional development that builds both tangible skills and capacity for future learning. But what do teachers say they need this year specifically to increase their effectiveness in their classroom? This “Teacher PD Wish List” may surprise you!
In terms of building their own capacity to use a wide range of digital tools and resources, a majority of classroom teachers (51 percent) identify that they need training on how to effectively leverage technology specifically to differentiate instruction. The heightened interest in personalizing learning for every student is a great motivator for learning how to use various emerging digital tools to accomplish that goal. Correspondingly, approximately one-third of teachers say they are particularly interested in learning how to use educational games and tablets this year in their classrooms. Students will be glad to hear that – both games and tablets show up prominently on students’ wish list for their dream school also!
Online assessments are also on the minds of many teachers these days. Depending upon their school, they may have already implemented online state tests with their students last year or they are preparing to do so this spring. It makes sense therefore that teachers also indicate interest in learning how to use technology for formative assessments as well as how to prepare their students for the standardized summative online assessments.
When asked about their preferred method or approach for PD, the teachers’ responses this year show some consistency with the data findings over the past few years. Face-to-face events such as attending a conference or participating in a school or district based training are still the most popular forms of training or PD for teachers. In those cases, learning from outside experts is the strong appeal. But teachers also highly value learning that is collaborative with colleagues and they place a high premium on the experiences and expertise of their peers. Consequently, teachers this year also indicate that they would like their PD experiences to include observing other teachers to get new ideas, being part of a school study team, and having the opportunity to be mentored by a master teacher.
As school and district leaders prepare agendas and recruit speakers for spring in-service training days or summer institutes, keeping in mind the teachers’ PD wish list is both wise and prudent. With time as a teacher’s most precious commodity, let’s make sure that we are using that asset effectively to help teachers enhance skills and capacities around topics that they are most interested in. The results will most certainly be evident in the classroom – both in terms of teachers’ use of technology and the satisfaction they will feel from having their voices heard.
Want to understand the PD needs of your teachers? 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/