Make your voice heard! Speak Up National Research Project now open

Every year, the Speak Up National Research Project collects authentic feedback from students, educators and parents about education, the use of technology in schools, and more.

There are two main reasons you should participate in Speak Up 2012:

  1. The data collected can be used by your organization to incorporate in your own planning. Being able to compare your community input to a national dataset is invaluable.
  2. The data is used at a national level to shed light on the REAL issues, concerns, and perceptions of students, parents, and educators.

Since 2003, educators from over 30,000 schools have used the Speak Up data to create and implement their vision for 21st century learning.  You can too! Schools and/or districts can register to participate. The surveys are easy to use and age appropriate.  Register today to participate in Speak Up 2012.

Speak Up 2010 – Get the evidence you need for your tech vision to succeed

Participate in Speak Up 2010 through Fri., Jan 21, 2011

Join with educators from across the country who use the Speak Up Surveys to identify how their students, teachers, administrators and parents want to use technology for learning, communications and collaboration. Participating in the Speak Up Surveys is free and 100% confidential.

Last year, over 5,757 schools and 1,215 districts participated in the Speak Up Surveys. All these districts got terrific customized data about how their stakeholders view technology, and how they compare to other districts. This is the data YOU need to support your technology vision, and there is no other way to get it.

It’s easy to get started, visit the Speak Up website to register your district (or school). Then encourage your students, parents, teachers and administrators to take the online survey. To help you out, check out the tools and tips on the Project Tomorrow website.


Students say teachers limit technology use

Last week posts from two popular edubloggers hammered home the same point – that technology is going to make an impact on education whether we are ready or not.

These horses are out of the barn – Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog

There are some educational “truths” that we can’t change, even if we wanted to. These educational technology resources, annoyances, and conditions are here to stay despite some educators denial, resistance and fast grip on the status quo.

I Don’t Need Your Network (or Your Computer, or Your Tech Plan, or Your…) – Will Richardson, Weblogg-ed

When do we stop trying to fight the inevitable and start thinking about how to embrace it?

As usual, the students are way ahead of the curve. They don’t need a blog to tell them that their access to learning technology is being denied, meaning not just Internet access, but access to personal technology.

I blogged about this yesterday based on student focus group data, but here’s the qualitative data from over 280,000 K-12 students supporting the same thing. (Data from Speak Up 2008)

Student response to: Besides not having enough time in your school day, what are the major obstacles to using technology in your school? (Check all that apply) Grade 6-8 Grade 9-12
School filters or firewalls block websites I need to use



Teachers limit our technology use



I cannot access my personal email account or send email or IM to classmates



I cannot use my own computer or mobile devices



There are rules against using technology at my school



Internet access is not fast enough



None of the above



My assignments don’t require using technology



Software is not good enough



Computers or other tech equipment are not available



Teachers don’t know how to use the technology



I am unable to access the Internet



I don’t have the skills I need



When 34% of today’s 6-8th graders say their teachers limit them from using technology, what does this mean for the future? I think what children are learning is that teachers are out of touch with the real world, and worse, that school is where you literally power down and wait to be told what to do.

OK, granted — not every student has visions of exemplary learning when we ask them about technology. BUT, we simply can’t ignore this either. Many of these students ARE interested in learning.

It means we are telling them that they must achieve, but preventing it at the same time. And there is no one wiser to hypocrisy than a teenager. We run the risk of losing a generation of young adults who are taking a good hard look at the way the real world works and comparing it against the artificial limits placed on them in school. And when we tell them “it’s for your own good” we simply lose all credibility.

According to the student Speak Up 2008 data, only one-third of high school students who participated in the poll think their school is doing a good job preparing them for the jobs of the future. Think this is just kids whining? Nope – even fewer numbers of their parents think that. Yet, a majority of school principals (56 percent) say their schools are doing a good job. Who is kidding whom?

So this is straight from the horse’s mouth, not edublogger ponderings … what are we gonna do about it?


PS And do you know what YOUR students would say about this? Find out! Sign up for Speak Up 2009 (survey open until Dec 23, 2009.)

Professional development that hurts

Yesterday I wrote about a report on What Works: Effective Technology Professional Development. Today, unfortunately, I have the other side of the story. Yes, it’s possible to do professional development that actually decreases the chance that teachers will integrate technology into the classroom.

This is from the Student Speak Up survey project, where students, parents, teachers, and administrators answer questions about technology in their academic and personal lives.

Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, who runs the Speak Up project sent me this input from a focus group of 40 high school students in California in March 2009 (and gave me permission to publish it.)

Students told me that they had better access to technology at school before we (meaning education agencies and groups) trained all the teachers how to use technology.  The students said that their teachers were very fearful of the dangers of Internet use in particular and concerned about their own liability.  The perception of the students is that their teachers were therefore making conscious, deliberate decisions to use technology and in particular providing Internet access less than what they had done previously.

This is not that teachers don’t have technology skills. This is a deliberate stance taken by teachers who LEARN about technology, but are so confused, scared, or disempowered that their practice retreats to use LESS technology.

Professional development that doesn’t empower teachers is no solution at all.


PS Registration is still open for the 2009 Student Speak Up until Dec 23 – share your voice!