Home Educational Trends You Need to Speak Up!

You Need to Speak Up!

by Jennifer Bergland
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How many students in your school or district have access to fast broadband at their homes? How many students have access to a personal digital device they are allowed to bring to school? What are your community’s expectations about the use of technology in your classrooms? If you do have answers to all of these questions, are they based on real data or hunches? If they aren’t based on real data, they can be. Project Tomorrow provides the SpeakUp survey so that educational leaders and policy makers can know what their key stakeholders think about the use of technology in the educational process.

The Basics

  • The survey is for grades K-12.
  • There are surveys for students, teachers, parents, administrators, and community members.
  • For grades K-5, a teacher can decide to do a group survey or individual surveys.
  • Each survey takes less than twenty minutes to complete.
  • Survey will be open until January 13, 2017.
  • All of the data will be made available to the district contact in February to be used as the district wants.
  • The questions are grouped by theme:
    • Learning and teaching with technology
    • College and career readiness skills
    • Student’s interests in STEM
    • Professional development
    • Internet safety/privacy issues/homework gap
    • Administrator’s challenges
    • Emerging technologies

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Use of the SpeakUp Data

Districts can use the free data about their own stakeholders in any way they wish, including to:

  • Use in technology planning (budgeting, equipment, infrastructure, professional development).
  • Define your district’s strengths and weaknesses of technology use.
  • Engage your parents and community in the process.
  • Provide a greater voice in policy and legislative initiatives.
  • Provide reliable data to report to your community.

Although there are surveys for different stakeholders, each district or school can decide which surveys the district will promote. If this is your first year to participate, you might want to only have your administrators and/or teachers complete the survey. You can also decide how big you want to go. To get started, all you need to do is go to their website and register a contact for a school or the district. This contact will get weekly summaries that can be shared with the teachers or principals. The final data gathered from your school or district will be sent to the contact in February.

Project Tomorrow has some excellent promotional materials that will make it easy to get the word out. Included in these materials are flyers, banners, instructions, sampletcea-speakup emails, lesson plans, a list of the survey questions, and press releases. They have made it super simple to get started. As an incentive, if your district participates in the SpeakUp Survey, it will be eligible to win one free TCEA 2017 convention registration!

Promote the Survey

  • Send emails to all stakeholders and include a link to the survey.
  • Provide a link to the survey within your district’s LMS for easy student access.
  • Use district or campus social media.
  • Set goals for each type of survey (100% administrators, 80% teachers, etc.).
  • Involve district leadership in promotion at various administrative meetings.
  • Use the promotional materials provided by Project Tomorrow.
  • Use school marquees to inform the community about the survey.
  • Use weekly summaries to spur competition between schools.
  • Set up a period of time that is designated as your SpeakUp push (i.e. two weeks before Christmas break).

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I have been involved with Project Tomorrow since its inception. The surveys are excellent and provide incredibly valuable information. The data can be used to help your district determine your future goals and aspirations based on real data, not assumptions or anecdotes. The data will allow you to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go. Knowing your community and parent expectations on technology use can be very useful when you submit your technology plan and budget requests. If you have any questions, you can contact Jenny Hostert at jhoster@tomorrow.org.


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