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Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators “Speak Up” on Top Technology Issues Facing Schools

By Abi Mandelbaum
October 16th, 2014

National Speak Up 2014 Surveys Open Until December 19th

Online Surveys: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/

Irvine, Calif. – For the 12th year, K-12 students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members across the country have the opportunity to share their views on the role of technology within learning as part of the annual Speak Up National Research Project.

The national online Speak Up 2014 surveys are open to all students, parents, educators and community members until December 19th. More than 13,000 individuals have responded since the surveys opened last week.

More than 10,000 schools and 3,000 districts are expected to register and promote the online surveys to their stakeholders again this year because of the value of the Speak Up data in informing their plans and policies for the school year. Schools and districts who register to participate receive survey data particular to their school(s) at no cost. Last year, more than 400,000 people shared their opinions.

Always cognizant of the key issues facing schools and districts with technology usage, this year’s Speak Up annual surveys poll K-12 students, educators and parents about the use of mobile devices, online and blended learning classes, digital games and digital content within learning. The 2014 surveys include new questions about data privacy, students’ interest in learning coding, college and career readiness, teachers’ familiarity with digital badges, and the features desired by both students and parents in a school mobile app.

As more students have their own smartphones, tablets and laptops, last year’s surveys showed a major shift in attitudes towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. The surveys continue to explore that issue as well as schools’ bandwidth capacity to support the use of high quality digital content such as videos and animations within classroom instruction. And in recognition of the ongoing interest in improving teachers’ skills with technology, the Speak Up surveys collect important data for local schools about teachers’ wish lists for professional development and the training methodologies that are more effective.

“Speak Up provides an easy way for students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members to tell school leaders and policymakers how they feel about some of the most important policies and programs that impact day-to-day school life,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow.

“Innovative education leaders use the annual results of Speak Up each spring to help direct their policies, programs and investments,” said Evans. “As a national nonprofit dedicated to improving learning experiences for students, we are pleased to leverage our expertise in collecting authentic stakeholder feedback to provide this important free service to local schools and national leaders.”

After more than a decade and 3.4 million participants, Speak Up continues to be the only annual, national survey to ask students, educators and parents how they use – and how they would like to use – technology for learning. Again this year, the online surveys ask students, parents and educators to envision their ultimate 21st century school and to identify the technology tools that would be essential to support increased student achievement and learning. Past Speak Up national reports are available at www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_reports.html.

The Speak Up National Research Project represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered input on education and technology from those ‘on the ground’ in the schools. The annual survey about education and technology is facilitated through public, private, parochial and charter schools all around the country. The parent survey is also available in Spanish.

Project Tomorrow will share the national data findings from the survey in the spring with federal, state and local policymakers. Additionally, every school or district that participates in Speak Up receives a free online report with all of their locally collected data – and the national data findings to use for benchmark comparison. All participating education entities will gain access to their own stakeholder data in February 2015.

Individual participation and responses provided in the Speak Up surveys are completely confidential and completing the online surveys takes only 20 minutes. Speak Up is open to every public and private school and district in the United States, American schools on military bases and other interested schools worldwide.

Since 2003, more than 3.4 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 30,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard, Inc., BrainPOP, DreamBox Learning, Fuel Education, Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Rosetta Stone, and Schoolwires.

Project Tomorrow partners with more than 75 different education associations, organizations and think-tanks for outreach to the schools and development of the survey questions including the American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, Digital Learning Day, Digital Promise, edWeb.net, iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National Secondary School Principals Association, Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors’ Association.

For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.

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About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.