I have long counted on the research from Project Tomorrow to aid me in my thinking about schools, technology, and the e-rate program. You’ve be ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding just how schools and students need access to technology, just what digital equity means, and how we can solve the homework gap. But this cruel pandemic has changed our world, it has emptied classrooms, it has filled our hospitals, and it has crashed our economy. Millions of students have been asked to learn from home right now and teachers are being asked to teach virtually. It’s never been more important to understand the relationship between technology and students, and it’s never been more important to make sure that every child is connected.– Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner
On October 21, 2020, Project Tomorrow released the briefing paper “Digital Learning During the Pandemic: Emerging Evidence of an Education Transformation” during its first virtual Congressional Briefing hosted by edWeb. Dr. Julie A. Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, discussed Speak Up results from before and after school closures.
In this year’s national briefing paper, we examined authentic and unique Speak Up results from over 137,000 K-12 stakeholders including; students, parents, teachers and administrators during the 2019-20 school year before and after school closures, we are able to see in almost real time how the unexpected shift has altered not only teachers’ expectations for using technology within learning, but also parents’ perceptions on the value of digital learning and the impact of this experience on students’ aspirations for enhanced learning environments.
Key takeaways from this year’s survey include:
- Increased usage of digital tools by teachers and students due to the COVID-19 pandemic brings new opportunities to discuss what constitutes rigor and quality in digital resources for classroom use, and new ways to articulate the value proposition of digital learning more comprehensively.
- As a result of the sudden shift to digital learning, parents developed a stronger appreciation for the value of technology as a learning vehicle and their role in supporting their child’s education from home.
- Students continue to value how technology supports learning. The realization of the value of digital learning by the adults in their lives resulted in an improved learning environment for many students. The use of digital, online and videos games provide an excellent example of this new impact.
To share the Speak Up 2019-20 national findings, Project Tomorrow has created a series of briefing papers and infographics to address key topics.
Over 377 people attended the live Congressional Briefing, and many more continue to watch on demand, including congressional staff members, student and staff representatives from some of our Speak up schools, and staff from many of our sponsor organizations, champion outreach partners and non-profit partners.
Students from San Marcos Unified School District (CA), Ysleta Independent School District (TX), Talladega County Schools (AL) and Albemarle County Public Schools (VA) made up our student panel of experts. These students shared their insights regarding their experience in K12 education this past year.