Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Science Learning in California Middle Schools

Middle school science students across the state of California
seem to be overwhelmingly uninterested in the subject of science.

Proper science equipment, access to labs, teachers prepared for science instruction, and time set aside for science lessons would lead one to think that students learning in this environment would retain proper science comprehension...correct?

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case with California students in middle and intermediate schools across the state, according to The Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at West Ed.

This paradox is likely the result of ill-prepared students, not necessarily from the ill-preparation of their middle school science instructors, but rather ill-preparation stemming from lack of proper science instruction & funding in elementary schools. A domino effect seems to be at full-force in this situation, as lack of science instruction throughout elementary school years has stemmed an overwhelming lack of interest in the subject with middle schools students and beyond. This lack of interest from the students is having an impact upon the teachers' ability to convey information effectively.

Moreover, although middle & intermediate school science teachers may have the knowledge-base needed to properly instruct students, almost 25% percent of them are not credentialed in science instruction. Opportunities for teachers to continue their education in the ever-changing field of science are urged, based on the results of the research.

Luckily, the YouthTeach2Learn program at Project Tomorrow is working to combat this trend. YouthTeach2Learn allows the opportunity for high school students interested in teaching careers to instruct elementary school students on subjects in math & science. Hands-on and experiential learning is urged, and, as a result, a spark in interest in math and science is ignited at a young age.

To learn more about the YouthTeach2Learn program & Project Tomorrow, please visit our website here.

To read more about The Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at West Ed's research on this topic, click here.

Feel free to share with us your comments below. Thank you for your support in Project Tomorrow.

- The Project Tomorrow Team

Monday, July 29, 2013

Virtual K-12 Education

Is Virtual K-12 Schooling the Way of the Future? 
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We have all heard by now of the possibilities of online higher education degrees, but what about online education for K-12 students?
One school in particular, Hoosier Academies, the largest virtual public school in Indiana, is doing just that.
Students at Hoosier Academies attend classes online, and can learn from just about anywhere. The days where elementary education is confined to a four-wall classroom are no longer the end-all, be-all route to K-12 education in the US.
What benefits does online K-12 education bring? The answers are as diverse as the educational needs of each student, but for many students who may need lessons repeated for proper understanding & comprehension, online classrooms can offer a beneficial alternative to traditional schooling. Additionally, online classes can be a suitable fit for students who become easily distracted by the noises/sounds of a packed classroom, & can also meet the needs of students with learning disabilities more effectively than can traditional classrooms.
To learn more about Hoosier Academies, visit their website, or read an article highlighting this school in the South Bend Tribune here.
What are your thoughts on online K-12 education?
Feel free to share your comments with us below.

-The Project Tomorrow Team

Friday, July 26, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to Join Future Educators Association of California

Why should you join FEA? The reasons are endless! Here are just a few...

#1. Competitive Events Program
Integrate projects within your Child Development and Education Careers curriculum and compete across the nation!  Develop your students teamwork, decision-making, critical thinking, and leadership skills.

#2. Regional, State, and National Conferences
Allow students to network, share success stories, and collaborate with other chapters.  Help your students develop personal, social, and leadership skills.

#3. Leadership Development Opportunities
Give students a chance to hold local, regional, state, and national officer positions that allow them the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and leadership experience.

#4. Academic and Career Training
FEA California’s partnerships with colleges and universities across the state allow students more access to college entrance information and career counseling.

#5. Prof. Development Opportunities
Career training by college professors, leadership trainings, and exposure to mentors within the field just to name a few…

#6. Low Cost
Chapters pay one low chapter fee that includes ALL services.  There is no need to pay individual membership fees, conference fees, uniforms etc.  The Chapter Fee covers it all!

#7. Advisor Training and Colaboration
FEA is a great place for teachers and academy coordinators to collaborate and share program ideas.  FEA also provides training sessions for advisors so they can enhance their classrooms and schools.

#8. Curriculum Integration
FEA’s competitive events are aligned with California CTE and academic standards providing a great opportunity to orchestrate engaging projects in a competitive environment.

#9. Community Service Opportunities
Allows more students the opportunity to get involved in the community and build community awareness that will help develop them as humanitarians and role models within their communities.

#10. YouthTEACH2Learn Curriculum
FEA members have access to an assortment of YouthTEACH2Learn lesson plans and activities that are great to use in class or during chapter meetings.

To learn more about FEA and other Project Tomorrow programs visit us at

Thursday, July 25, 2013

About YouthTeach2Learn

The YouthTEACH2Learn career exploration program is an intiative of Project Tomorrow where students explore teaching as a career with a focus on Math and Science instruction. During the course, students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning and developing teaching skills, as well as creating and teaching standards-based lessons at elementary schools. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels and visit local college campuses in order to determine if the teaching is a "good-fit" for their professional goals.

Benefits of the program:
  • Opportunity for high school teacher to earn $10 per student in the program to be spent at will
  • Encourages career exploration and develops professional skills
  • Increases elementary students' interest in science and math at an early age.
  • Provides elementary school teachers with enhanced science or math lessons and encouragement to improve their own science or math lessons.
  • Develops a "grow your own" system of teacher development from the community
  • Increases the amount of students playing a vital role in the community
What does the program include?
  • The program includes a full year curriculum guide with supplemental resources such as presentations and assigned readings. 
  • Along with the curriculum is teacher training for the high school teacher and administrator. 
  • A program manager will work with each school site to assist in setting up the program, the development of high school approved credit, college and university articulation agreements, program evaluation, as well as the coordination of guest speakers and Future Educators Association events.
What does the program cost?
  • The program is FREE for all teachers/school sites with the opportunity to generate some extra income as well! 
  • Additional training costs vary based on location, length of training, and number of teachers. 
  • Schools may qualify for free training, submit an application and find out if your school qualifies!  
  • We are currently offering free training for the first 5 schools who sign up for the 2013-14 school year!

What will students do during the class?
  • This class is set up as a "hands on" linked learning experience.  Students learn and practice teaching theories and concepts in the classroom and have a chance to implement what they learned by teaching full class instruction at elementary schools.  It is the practical experience that allows the students to learn the most about the teaching profession.

Why would students take the class?
  • There are many reasons for students to take the class.  Many students take the class to explore teaching as a career and to gain experience working with children. 
  • Some students take the class In order to develop professional skills such as leadership, teamwork, time management, presentation, and public speaking.

To learn more and/or to have your school considered for participation, please contact: Nate Moser, Program Manager, at or 949 609-4660 ext 16.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Online Class Provider, Udacity, Commits an Epic Blunder

The Los Angeles Times recently reported an article titled, "San Jose State Suspends Collaboration with Online Provider," which details the recent suspension between San Jose State University and the online higher education partner, Udacity.

The relationship has been severed due mainly to the fact that over 50% of the students enrolled in the online Udacity courses failed to pass. The final percentage grades of the those who failed online mathematics classes ranged anywhere from 20% to 44%.

Why did so many of these students fail? Does the nature of an online platform doom these students to below average performances?

The answer is more complex than one may think, but the facts seem to indicate that the online platform was not the issue, but rather the students enrolled were not properly prepared & equipped with the materials needed to succeed in an online environment.

According to the article, a number of the students were high school students who were ill-prepared for college coursework. Many of the students who came from low-income communities did not have access to a personal computer, making it difficult for them to complete assignments on or before the class deadlines. Moreover, lack of orientation hours prior to the course start dates may have played a role in the dilemma as well.

To find out more about this issue, feel free to read the original article on the LA Times website here:,0,4160941.story

What are your thoughts on this suspension? Have you ever taken an online course? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

- The Project Tomorrow Team

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Record Numbers of Retiring Teachers

Recently, an article in reported that high numbers of teachers are choosing to retire this year.
A variety of reasons for this mass retirement are elaborated upon further in the article, but some of the main reasons highlighted include:
1. Age
2. Policy changes in retirement options
3. Educational reforms (specifically reforms that tie a teacher’s evaluation criteria on the test scores of his/her students)
With retiring teachers on the rise nation-wide, the future of our education lies in the hands of our current and future educators. The Future Educators Association of California, an initiative of Project Tomorrow, was established in order to “attract, equip and provide experiences for students who are exploring teaching as a future career; to develop essential skills that will lead to highly trained and qualified teachers.” Now, more than ever, we must invest & support our future educators in order to plan for a bright tomorrow. To learn more about F.E.A California, log onto
How do you think the rise of retiring teachers will affect our children & education in the United States?
Future Educators of CA

Friday, July 19, 2013

Speak Up Survey Results were cited at a Federal Communications Commission Conference

Did you know that Speak Up survey statistics were recently used at a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Conference? 

LEAD (Leading Education by Advancing Digital Commission), who presented at the conference, announced a national intiative to "have devices in the hands of all students by 2020."Project Tomorrow supports the use of technology in our K-12 schools for educational enhancement. Our Speak Up surveys provide valuable insight into the uses and needs of technology in our classrooms.Be sure to read up on the conference materials provided by the link, and get ready for Speak Up 2013!

Are you a multi-mobilist?

Do you use several mobile devices at once?

If you answered "yes," than you are a multi-mobilist! Today, teachers, parents, and educators alike are increasingly becoming multi-mobilists. Interesting, right?

You might be asking yourself... "What implications does this have for our schools?"

To find out, read Julie Evans' (Project Tomorrow's CEO) article in Education Channel Partner here:

Happy Reading! Thank you for your continued support in Project Tomorrow.

- Project Tomorrow Team

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Speak Up 2012 K-12 Students Report is Now Available!

From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner

"The results being released today show that we are indeed in a new world. And we as adults need to learn from kids in this instance. We need to learn from students about how they learn, where they learn, and how they seek information. I believe we must harness this information to give all students a 21st century skill set to prepare them for high-growth, high-demand jobs in the global economy.”
-U.S. Rep. George Miller, the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
This year’s congressional briefing was another great success with over 90 people in attendance! The Briefing included a moderated panel discussion with students and special guest speaker Congressman George Miller and the release of the Speak Up 2012 report: “From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner
This report is the second in a two part series to document the key national findings from Speak Up 2012. In 2003, The Speak Up National Research Project was born to give K-12 students a voice in critical conversations, and to hopefully provide their parents, teachers and administrators with new insights about the expectations and aspirations of these newly minted digital learners. Now in its tenth year, the annual Speak Up National Research Project and the resulting trends analysis provides a birds’ eye view of the changing environment for digital learning, both in and out of school. Key Findings from this year’s report include:
  • With smartphone usage dramatically on the rise - 65 percent of students in grades 6-8 and 80 percent of students in grades 9-12 are smartphone users – a main concern among today’s digital learners is how to leverage the unique features of different devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablets or digital readers, and use them for certain academic tasks.
  • While only 21% of teachers in middle and high schools are assigning Internet homework on a weekly basis, 69% of high school seniors, 61% of high school freshman and 47% of 6th graders are online at least weekly to find resources to support their homework.
  • In just one year, the number of middle school students with a personally acquired, digital reader more than doubled from 17 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2012.
  • In fall 2011, 26 percent of students in grades 6-8 said that they had a personal tablet computer. In one year’s time, the percentage of middle school students with tablets jumped to 52 percent, a doubling over the 2011 percentage.
  • Despite this increase of mobile devices in the hands of students, schools are still reluctant to allow them. Among high school students with smartphones, only half say they can use their device at school and only nine percent of students say they can use their personal tablets at school. With 73 percentage of high school seniors saying they have a laptop, only 18 percent of the Class of 2013 say they are allowed to use their personal laptop at school.
To learn more about the June 4th Congressional Briefing and to view the powerpoint presentation and accompanying flyers please click here.
To download a copy of the first report on Educator and Parent data, "From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Digital Conversion of the K-12 Classroom", please click here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Welcome to our Blog


Welcome to the new Project Tomorrow Blog! We're very excited you found us here. This blog will serve as a resource to update you on the ongoing projects & initiatives of Project Tomorrow, in addition to being a resource to new ideas & innovations in education. Building a better future for our students today is a mission we strongly adhere to & take seriously, & we invite you to engage and comment on our posts as you wish. Have an idea for a particular post you would like to see? Be sure to leave a comment & let us know.

In case you are new to Project Tomorrow and our mission, you can found out what we are about below:

Project Tomorrow is a national education nonprofit organization, with a 16 year history of impacting education. As a nonprofit organization we are driven by an altruistic mission & vision for changing the lives of children through science, math and technology education. The vision of Project Tomorrow is ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world.

We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century.

We approach our mission through national research projects, the replication of model excellence projects in schools and communities, online tools & resources for students, teachers and parents, & national & regional advocacy efforts.

We contribute to our mission by:

1. Conducting national research projects such as Speak Up.
2. Facilitating the replication of model projects in schools and communities.
3. Providing online tools and resources for students, teachers and parents.
4. Contributing to the national and regional dialogue about educational issues.

Be sure to log onto our website,, to learn more about us & our programs and initiatives.

If you'd like to be updated of each new post, make sure to subscribe & enter your e-mail in the designated " follow by e-mail" area on the homepage.

Thank you & keep checking back for new posts!