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For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2011
Contact:
Amber Taylor, 703-276-2772, ext. 17
amber@tricompr.com


As More Educators and Administrators
Use Technology, Potential Role in Teaching
is Becoming Clearer

Challenge Is Less about Vision, More about Skills and Implementation

Washington, D.C. – As more educators and administrators use smart phones in their personal lives, take online professional development classes and hear from parents about their desire for more student access to technology, they are beginning to see the possibilities for and the need to use more technology in their teaching and communications, according to the 2010 Speak Up survey conducted by Project Tomorrow.

Twice as many educators now have a personal smart phone than did in 2008, more of them use Facebook and two-thirds of teachers use school portals and upload class information to keep students and parents informed about grades, homework and class activities. “The development of a personal value proposition with the technology is propelling educators to think creatively about how to leverage these same tools in the classroom,” said Julie Evans CEO of Project Tomorrow. “They see how technology helps them stay organized and connected, be more productive and gain access to teaching and learning resources that were unthinkable just a few years ago.”

Students, and increasingly, parents are demanding a different kind of learning experience and that is forcing even the most reluctant teachers and administrators to re-evaluate their perspectives about the value of technology within learning. And budgets are playing a role as well. Administrators have a greater sense of urgency to more fully investigate how technologies can help educators meet their instructional goals with less expense.

The report can be found online: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_congress.html

The attitude shift can clearly be seen among administrators. This escalation in terms of valuing mobile learning mirrors the rise in administrators’ personal experiences with these highly connected, multi-functional pocket devices. For example, 58 percent of today’s administrators use a smart phone; in 2008 only half as many were smart phone users. Following are some of the changes in how administrators view mobile learning:

Percent of Administrators Who Believe Mobile Learning: 2007 2010
     
Increases Student Engagement 66% 84%
Extends Learning Day 47% 66%
Personalizes Learning 30% 64%

Teachers also highly value the ability of the devices to increase student engagement in learning (77 percent), to facilitate improved communications between teachers, parents and students (64 percent) and to access online textbooks anytime, anywhere (64 percent).

If teachers and administrators now see the potential uses and benefits of greater technology access, what is holding back the implementation?

The Speak Up survey can point to two major hurdles, which are ultimately connected: lack of teacher skill and confidence in incorporating these tools into their lessons and the fear that students will be distracted.

“Our belief is that if you equip teachers with the knowledge they need to add these new tools and resources to their toolbox, the less likely it is that students will be distracted by these elements in class,” said Evans. “Teachers and administrators overwhelmingly said the benefits of technology include engaging students, increasing motivation and offering more opportunities for student creativity. Those don’t sound like distractions.”

Besides the ongoing funding issues associated with acquiring, implementing and maintaining the technology infrastructure, both principals and district administrators also report these as top challenges: staff professional development (48 percent), technology support (30 percent), digital equity issues (30 percent) and student safety online (19 percent).

More than 380,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators participated in the annual survey, which has been conducted by Project Tomorrow since 2003.

Since 2003, more than 2.2 million K-12 students, teachers, librarians, administrators and parents from more than over 30,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many organizations, including Blackboard, Inc., CDW-G, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, K12, Inc., Schoolwires and SMART Technologies.

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

About Project Tomorrow
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. The annual Speak Up survey represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report use the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org

© 2011 Project Tomorrow®