Tag Archives: Project Tomorrow

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 http://go.ncsu.edu/dlcn
About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow (www.tomorrow.org), 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 (fi.ncsu.edu) 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.

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. 

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 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/

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Look for big Speak Up news coming your way next week!
Mark your calendars for Speak Up America, which will take place from December 8th to December 12th. This week long celebration of Speak Up participants features our social media contest, with opportunities to win school and classroom grants. Click here to learn more about Speak Up America. Additionally we will be releasing a special announcement on December 3rd at 3PM ET regarding our popular Speak Up social media contests. Check the Speak Up America page and be on the lookout for a special email with the challenge information and contest rules!
Finally, thank you to everyone who has taken the Speak Up survey! Surveys are open through December 19th on our official survey page. Let’s take a look at our survey counts:

Survey counts as of November 24

233,701 (and counting!) overall surveys taken.
Students: 193,844
Teachers: 18,974
Administrators: 2,093
Parents: 16,098
Community Members: 2,692

Speak Up Superstars! Our top participants as of today, based on total survey counts:

Top Schools:
North Carolina Virtual School, NC
Hamilton Southeastern High School, IN
Fishers High School, IN
Klein Forest High School, TX
Buhach Colony High, CA
Top Districts:
Hamilton Southeastern Schools, IN
Klein ISD, TX
Weslaco ISD, TX
Wake County Schools, NC
Anaheim City Public Schools, CA
Top States:
Indiana with 39,886
California with 37,693
Texas with 35,733
North Carolina with 30,512
Maryland with 9,399
As always, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and our Blog. Have a great Thanksgiving!

– The Project Tomorrow team

Don’t miss Julie’s second Twitter chat – tomorrow at 8pm ET!

Julie Evans will be hosting her second Twitter chat TOMORROW (Tuesday, October 28th)! Join her at 8pm ET to discuss digital content and games. Check out some information below:

Digital Content and Games in the Classroom

Time: Tuesday, October 28th at 8PM ET/7PM CT/5PM PT

Join Julie as she discusses the role of digital content and games in the classroom. Discussion will include findings from our September 2014 report with BrainPOP, “Digital Teachers, Digital Principals: Transforming the Ways We Engage Students.”
Additionally, the following questions will be discussed during the chat:

  1. Thinking beyond engagement, what are the most important benefits of using digital content and games within instruction?
  2. How does the use of digital content in the classroom help students develop college and career ready skills?
  3. What barriers or obstacles prevent teachers and administrators from expanding their use of digital content or games in the classroom?
  4. What is the best determinant of quality in evaluating digital content and games for classroom use?
If participating, be sure to use the hashtag #SUchat in your Tweets! We hope to see you on Twitter tomorrow night at 8pm ET! Click here to sign up and receive a reminder for tomorrow’s chat.

The 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science is TOMORROW!

Our 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science takes place tomorrow, October 25th at Edwards Lifesciences. All students in Orange County, CA are invited to attend the summit and learn about different careers in STEM. This free half-day event includes a student presentation, panel discussions from industry leaders and a diverse group of engineers, tabletop exhibits to introduce students to local opportunities and college programs, and breakout sessions led by business and education leaders.

We are proud to announce this year’s highly distinguished list of speakers and panelists for the 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit! Check out the list below: 

Anton Anderson from IT Consulting
Ashaunta Anderson from the University of California, Riverside/RAND
Jim Aralis from Microsemi
Celeste Bonyuet from Edwards Lifesciences
Carmella Cassetta from Advancing Women in Technology
John Chamberlain from Emulex Corporation
Amy Choi from Railpros
Corporal Decasanova from the United States Colonial Marine Corps
Jess Gillespe from Astronics Corporation
Christy Haley-Stover from Advancing Women in Technology
Matt Hannus from Sleepy Giant
Ed Hernandez from Tustin High School
Kim Homa from Kaiser Permanente
Kevin Hostert from the Municipal Water District of Orange County
David Johnson from Astronics Corporation
Joanna Laird from the University of California, Irvine
Mark Mathews from Airwolf 3D
Tim McCan from Impact Fire Services
Stacy McGoldrick from Cal Poly Pomona
Susan Medley from the University of California, Irvine
Octavie Ramsey from Southern California Edison
Nayssan Safavian from Project Tomorrow and the University of California, Irvine
Shawna Shaffner from CAA Planning
Karen Thomas from LPA, Inc.
JJ Wang from Boeing
Jimmy Zhong from NASA
Click here to learn more about the Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science. We look forward to seeing you there!

Youth Leadership Summit registration deadline has been EXTENDED!


Don’t miss out on this exciting and unique experience for Orange County high school and community college students* to attend our 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science – for free!

  • Our summit is held on Saturday, October 25th at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine from 8:45am-2:00pm.
  • Students will get the opportunity to hear from professionals in STEM fields from all over Orange County about their careers, connect with local colleges, and network with students from other schools!
  • Registration is FREE for all students, so register TODAY!
To register, please go to our website: http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/youthLeadershipSummit.html
*Please note that this event has opened up to community college students in addition to high school students. The website may not be updated to reflect this new and exciting addition.