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Students Respond to Speak Up Day

NetDay CEO Julie Evans visited several schools to meet the students who participated in Speak Up Day 2003. Her conversations confirmed the results in the survey and gave students another opportunity to share their views. If your school has an interesting story to tell, contact us at speakup@tomorrow.org.

Annandale High School

Annandale High School
Fairfax County Public Schools
Annandale, Virginia
Grades 9-12
Enrollment: 2370
37% free and reduced-price lunch
16% African American
22% Asian
21% Hispanic
41% White

Annandale High School students wanted to know, “What took you so long to ask us?” Business and technology teacher Julie Healy used class time for Speak Up Day and 66 students in her honors business technology course participated. She programmed the survey into Blackboard and led activities suggested by the lesson plans. When school data became available, she shared it with students and teachers at her school.

Students were very interested in how their answers compared to the national data. They used the information to write articles for their award winning student newspaper, prepared a presentation for the school board, and talked about creating their own survey.

According to Evans, their results were a close match to the national data with some differences.

  • To the question how do you usually learn about using technology, 64% responded I learned on my own, compared to 48% nationally.
  • Students at Annandale also were much more likely to use technology in a classroom than their peers (48% vs. 28%).
  • With an assignment to write a report on a topic they know little about, 87% of Annandale students search the Internet or go to a bookmarked Web page compared to 67% of all students. “

Most of the teachers are in awe that our students are that sophisticated,” said Healy. “The rest of the business department wishes they had done it. We’ll have much better response next time.”

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Eleanor Roosevelt
High School

Prince Georges County Public Schools
Greenbelt, MD
Grades 9-12
Enrollment: 2928
17% free and reduced-price lunch
56% African American
10% Asian
4% Hispanic
30% White

Yvette Goslee teaches business education at Eleanor Roosevelt High School and 144 of her students completed the individual surveys during class time. She saw Speak Up Day as a unique opportunity for students to give their ideas freely and have a voice in the future of education.

Evans spoke to 12 of the students, most of them members of the Academy for Information Technology in classes that emphasize technology integration. They expressed particular interest in how they compared to other high schools around the country. They wanted to know if they were really as advanced as they thought they were. They were serious about using technology to accomplish their goals and all had access outside of school. One student ran his own web hosting business.

Roosevelt students tended to be more advanced than the average, but were similar to Annandale.

  • 61% of the Roosevelt students consider themselves advanced tech users, compared to 26% nationally and 30% at Annandale.
  • Almost identical to Annandale, 65% say they learn about using technology on their own and 47% use technology in a classroom at school.
  • If they are having trouble with a homework assignment, 35% responded that they would go online to their IM buddy list to see who can help. Only 26% of Annandale students and 12% of all students chose this option.

Goslee believes that other teachers “might be surprised at how much students already use technology as part of their lives and thinking process.” As the chairperson of the technology committee, Goslee plans to use the school and national data in her next technology plan. By sharing it with teachers, she hopes they will see that technology is not going away and it may be the best way to reach students.

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