A national esports effort aims to ‘change the trajectory’ for students

As a student, video gamer and flight instructor Hudson Davis was often bored in school. He found that many classes provided only a surface-level understanding of key topics—and he was doing a lot of self-directed learning outside of class to explore topics he was passionate about.

“School should do a better job of allowing students to dig into those subjects that interest them,” Davis said. “Many kids just don’t get the opportunity to do that.”

Davis’s experience isn’t unusual. Even before the pandemic, many students felt disengaged from school. The shift to remote learning through platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets has only intensified the problem, creating what Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, called an “unparalleled crisis for today’s teens.”…Read More

5 new developments in physical and network safety

As technology improves, so do solutions to keep students and teachers safe in school buildings and on school networks. This is the main reason why school safety, including cybersecurity and physical safety, retains its place as a top concern for education leaders.

Balancing access to educational resources with security needs remains a top challenge for school district IT leaders, according to new findings from the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.

Seventy-one percent of district administrators and IT leaders are concerned about the security of their network against malicious attacks or misbehavior, as outlined in the data, which comes from a collaboration between the nonprofit Project Tomorrow and cloud security provider iboss.…Read More

IT leaders, admins still fear network attacks

Balancing access to educational resources with security needs remains a top challenge for school district IT leaders, according to new findings from the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.

Seventy-one percent of district administrators and IT leaders are concerned about the security of their network against malicious attacks or misbehavior, as outlined in the data, which comes from a collaboration between the nonprofit Project Tomorrow and cloud security provider iboss.

The top concern with cloud applications among technology leaders is ensuring data privacy (58 percent).…Read More

Text, tweet, email, call—what do parents want in school communications?

When it comes to school communications, parents today want more information from their children’s teachers and schools, but they also want that information to be timely, targeted, and personalized to their children or their interest areas.

The latest data from Speak Up Research Project gives insights on school-to-home communications. In “Text, Twitter, Email, Call—What Do Parents Say About School Communications?” Dr. Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow, shared these insights from parents, educators, and administrators, and discussed takeaways from the research.

Currently: How Most Parents Receive Information…Read More

Survey: Parents prefer texting and mobile communication from schools

Determining the right mix of traditional and digital tools to best engage with parents and district stakeholders remains a primary challenge for district communications, according to a new report.

A large part of a school district’s ability to implement successful initiatives or pass bonds lies in its communications and its ability to connect with community members.

Now, a new report from Blackboard and Project Tomorrow outlines the different roles district communications officials play in today’s schools. The results reflect the increasingly important yet challenging role of communications in today’s K-12 districts.…Read More

Speak Up: The current state of digital learning

How, and for what purposes, are students using digital tools?

speakup-digitalWhile girls use many digital tools for learning more than boys, more boys than girls say they are interested in STEM careers–however, student interest in STEM careers has not increased significantly in seven years, according to the annual Speak Up survey results from Project Tomorrow.

This year’s report focused on how K-12 students use digital tools and resources to support schoolwork, how they use digital tools and resources to enable out-of-school-time learning activities, and what K-12 students’ aspirations are when it comes to using digital tools and resources in new and innovative learning environments.

As digital technologies becomes more ubiquitous and as more and more efforts support expanded internet access, students are making their technology preferences clear.…Read More

Students like different mobile devices for various tasks

How students will use ed-tech devices for learning should determine what kinds of devices school leaders should buy

students-devicesWhat kind of mobile device should schools invest in for their students? The answer depends on how students will use the technology for learning, experts say.

“Tablets are great for lots of things, and so are laptops; the trick is to identify the right tool for the job at hand,” said Julie Evans, CEO of the nonprofit group Project Tomorrow.

“If your primary curricular objective is to have kids do a lot of writing, you are better served by purchasing a low-cost netbook or laptop than a tablet,” Evans said. “To purchase tablets and then realize you need to add on keyboards indicates, to me, that maybe you did not do the up-front thinking that you should.”…Read More

Students want personalized learning, mobile technology

An annual report reveals that student-owned mobile devices, including tablets, are on the rise.

More and more students own mobile devices, including tablets, and indicate a strong desire to use those personal learning tools in school to increase collaboration and access to resources, according to the annual Speak Up Survey, which is facilitated by Project Tomorrow.

This year’s survey, “Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey: K-12 Students and Parents Connect the Dots with Digital Learning,” explores how students want to take control of their learning and the tools they use to learn. It includes parent and administrator input on issues such as personal technology use in schools, online learning, and top technologies.

“Students, perhaps without realizing it, are already seeking out ways to personalize their learning,” according to the report. “Looking to address what they perceive as deficiencies in classroom experiences, students are turning to online classes to study topics that pique their intellectual curiosity, to message and discussion boards to explore new ideas about their world, or to online collaboration tools to share their expertise with other students they don’t even know. Students now expect in their learning lives the same types of personalized interactions that adults already experience in our everyday lives.”…Read More

Demand for online learning increases

More than 40 percent of students now designate online classes as an essential component of their learning experience.

In just three years, the number of high school students who have access to online learning has tripled, while twice as many middle school students are now learning online, according to a new report.

These figures come from the nonprofit group Project Tomorrow and its most recent Speak Up survey on school technology use. Project Tomorrow first released data from its this survey earlier this spring, but the organization has teamed up with learning management system provider Blackboard Inc. to dig deeper into the results that pertain to online learning.

Project Tomorrow and Blackboard issued a report on these findings during the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference June 28.…Read More