Tag Archives: Speak Up America 2014

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, America! What do you think about technology use for learning?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, online classes and games – do these digital tools or others like them really have a place within our classrooms today?
Are students more engaged in learning when instruction includes these tools?
Can technology increase teacher productivity or student achievement?
Do these tools support the development of critical thinking, communications, teamwork and global awareness?
What are the expectations of parents, business leaders and community members around the use of  technology within learning?
And if schools want to make better use of these digital tools, what are the challenges they face – is it funding, teacher training, support, bandwidth?
How do students say theywant to use these digital tools to support learning?
It’s time to share your answers to these questions!
All across America, district administration teams, school boards, civic leaders and state and federal policymakers are asking these same questions.  And too often they are relying upon hunches, guesses or outdated reports to inform their policies, plans and programs.  That’s just silly – and not an example of good decision-making.
They can learn directly from you – students, parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders – to inform their decisions on these topics.
By giving 15 minutes of your time to Speak Up America 2014, you can make sure your voice is heard loud and clear from classrooms to the halls of Congress, from state capitols to boardrooms.  Ensure that policymakers are making those important program and funding decisions based upon real data from real education stakeholders – you!
We would like everyone to have a voice in the future of how technology is used in our nation’s schools.  So, please share this link (www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014)  with your friends, students, teachers, parents, administrators, community organizations, members, affiliates or anyone who has a passion for improving education and ask them to take the Speak Up survey THIS WEEK.
More than 300,000 K-12 students, parents and educators have already completed Speak Up surveys from all across the country.  But now it is your time – Speak Up, America!  Have a voice in the future of digital learning in our nation’s schools by participating in this year’s special Speak Up America campaign by Dec. 19th!

Speak Up America Photo and Video Challenge

Educators, win a $250 or $500 grant for your classroom or school just by having your students participate in Speak Up!  
Planning to have your class or school participate in Speak Up this week? Already had your class or school participate? Need a little incentive to get your class or school to participate? Join in on the fun and take part in our Speak Up for America Photo and Video Challenge.
Hashtag: #SpeakUpSnapshot
To celebrate digital learning and all our wonderful Speak Up participants, we will be offering a $250 grant to one lucky Speak Up participating classroom or school during the week of December 8th. All you need to do is take a picture with the Speak Up for America 2014 Badge highlighting your Speak Up experience and upload to one of our social media sites or the photo challenge page. The contest is open now, so get your cameras out and shoot a photo showing you and your students Speaking Up!
For contest rules please visit our photo challenge page here.

Examples from last year’s contest:
Hear from last year’s winners
 “The Speak Up America grant pushed my Video class into a more professional production as we have purchased a Green Screen Background, lighting, and video memory sticks.  My class produces a weekly Morning Announcement newscast every Wednesday at the beginning of 1st period and the entire student body and staff watch and rave with approval!  The Speak Up America grant has my students broadcasting loud and clear now!”
–Mark Rivadeneryra, Capistrano Unified School District, CA 
 “I have been participating in the Speak Up survey ever since it started.  Technology has grown in my classroom by leaps and bounds since then, but as with any technology, there is always something new to add to the classroom. After winning the grant last year, I purchased an XYZ 3D printer to integrate STEM into my classroom. My students since then have created iPhone cases, key chains, tie clips and more.  Even though the survey data is an invaluable tool at our school, getting the opportunity to purchase the latest in technology was icing on the cake!”
– Dr. Karl Ochsner, Pope John XXIII Catholic School, AZ
“The grant from Speak Up was used to purchase two iPad Minis to be used in our first grade classroom. We are very thankful to be able to have this technology at our finger tips, every single day.  It is hard to remember life without our iPads.  Thank you Speak Up!”


– Ashton Burk, Red Lion Area School School District, PA


Hashtag: #VoicesofSpeakUp
“Why is using digital tools for learning important for your future?
Last year, we heard you loud and clear with over 85,000 participants during Speak Up America week and multiple #speakupsnapshots submitted to the 1st annual Speak Up America photo challenge. Now in our second year of Speak Up America, we want to see you and your class “Speaking Up” in action! In this new 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!
In this challenge, there will be THREE grant opportunities with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize.
1st: $500 classroom or school grant
2nd: $350 classroom or school grant
3rd: $150 classroom or school grant
Never has your chance of earning a $500 grant for your classroom been easier. Enter your #VoicesofSpeakUp video into the Speak Up America video challenge today!


Learn more about the video challenge contest rules here.

We are very sensitive to student and participants’ privacy and with that no faces are required to be in the photos and videos. We just ask that you incorporate the Speak Up America badge and student voice (thoughts, ideas, and opinions) into the challenge –  the more creative the better!