The vision of Project Tomorrow is to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century.
Mobile Learning Week – hosted by UNESCO and UN Women – is an annual symposium held in Paris, France. This year’s symposium spanned the course of five days, February 23-27th, and featured 100+ speakers, 12 workshops, 80 presentations, and 1000+ participants from over 70 countries worldwide in order to explore the intersection of technology, education, and gender. The event included inspiring keynotes, plenary sessions, and a myriad of small, TedTalk like sessions on all kinds of topics related to girls, women, and mobile learning.
The symposium agenda includes a day dedicated to the in-depth exploration of key topics using a workshop format. Of 70 workshop proposals submitted, only 12 were selected for inclusion in the workshop day. Project Tomorrow’s CEO Julie Evans, in collaboration with Dr. Kari Stubbs from BrainPOP designed and implemented two of the twelve workshops. The first workshop, "Inspiring girls through games and coding: A hands-on exploration," 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. Julie shared new 2014 Speak Up data and a new tool for evaluating gender sensitivity in games as part of that workshop. The second workshop, "Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Gender-sensitive Mobile Learning Projects within Educational Settings" was led by Julie, with support from Dr. Stubbs, and addressed how to design mobile learning projects that are constructed with gender-sensitivity as well as cultural awareness. Learn more about the two workshops below:
Inspiring girls through games and coding: A hands-on exploration
Around the globe, the use of games and coding as meaningful teaching tools is rapidly growing. They're seen as an excellent way to prepare all kids for the workforce, where opportunities for the STEM intelligence and tech savvy abound. For most kids, the entry point for these experiences is a mobile device.
In this hands-on interactive workshop, participants took a closer look at how games and learning to code empower girls specifically. Gender-based research shows us that boys typically possess higher confidence in the power of perseverance regarding personal success. Girls, on the other hand, tend to assume success is impossible if their early attempts result in failure. This workshop focused on how important it is to provide girls with multiple opportunities for encouragement in order to help them overcome that assumption.
Additionally, the workshop examined the latest data from numerous sources in relation to girls and the field of games. These sources include the Speak Up survey data from Project Tomorrow, a recently released Gates Foundation study called A-GAMES (Analyzing Games for Assessment in Math, ELA/Social Studies, and Science) from the University of Michigan, and a games based project in Columbia. Relationship of games, assessment, learning, and feedback for girls on the path to mastery was also discussed.
Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Gender-sensitive Mobile Learning Projects within Educational Settings
Through efforts spearheaded by UNESCO and others, governments, education ministries, NGOs and corporations are increasingly realizing the potential of mobile devices and ICT to bridge inequities in education opportunities, especially for girls living in disadvantaged communities. Many of these organizations have funded and implemented innovative pilot projects around the globe. A byproduct of these projects has been a new understanding that the use of and appreciation for ICT and mobiles in particular has a gender component.
It is therefore imperative that new mobile learning projects are constructed with gender-sensitivity as well as cultural awareness. To address this emerging need in the global ICT and mlearning community, this workshop provided attendees with a research-based set of “how to” guides for designing, implementing and evaluating mobile learning projects that recognize the differences in how girls and boys approach digital learning, and in particular, their aspirations for using mobile devices to support educational goals.
Julie Evans is the CEO of Project Tomorrow (www.tomorrow.org), ), an internationally recognized education nonprofit organization that focuses on improving learning opportunities for students through the effective utilization of ICT resources. She is a graduate of Brown University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of California, San Diego. Ms. Evans created the Speak Up Research Project in 2003 to enable student voices to be included in discussions around digital learning and continues as that project’s chief researcher. She also leads Project Tomorrow’s digital learning efficacy study team, which has a seven-year history of evaluating mobile learning, digital content and blended learning projects in schools. Ms. Evans is a frequent speaker and writer on K-12 and higher education issues around digital learning. She was a presenter at UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week in 2014. In April 2008 she was named one of the Top Ten Most Influential People in Education Technology over the past 10 years by eSchool News, a leading US based education publication.
Dr. Kari Stubbs is an internationally recognized educator who began her career as a public school teacher in Kansas and Texas. Currently, she serves as Vice President of Learning and Innovation at BrainPOP. Kari has presented extensively on the subject of technology and education, keynoting and speaking at conferences across the United States and around the globe from Shanghai and Dubai to Australia, Prague, Beijing, and beyond. This past year, she shared her expertise at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris as part of Mobile Learning week. Kari was elected to the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) board in 2011, where she continues her service. In 2012, she amplified her board leadership presence by participating in the ISTE Australia Study tour. Her work with the board earned her a Presidential Community Service Award, and she also received an ISTE "Making It Happen" Award. Kari was also recognized by the NSBA as "20 to Watch" in 2006. Additionally, she sits on the Horizon K12 Report board. Anthony Salcito, Microsoft's Vice President of Education, named her a Global Hero in Education.
To learn more about BrainPOP, please visit their website at: https://www.brainpop.com/