Friday, February 28, 2014

Rural schools overcome obstacles through edtech

With low funding, geographical isolation, and infrastructural challenges, rural schools have always had a harder time preparing students for the future than big city schools. However, now that the 21st Century increasingly relies on technology, rural schools have been able to use educational technologies to their advantage.

As many know, rural areas often struggle with finding the power and funds necessary for stable Internet connection and accessibility. Marble Falls Independent School District in Texas understands these problems: "We have the wireless capability, but when the wireless breaks down we have to have a network drop," said Peggy Little, principal at Falls Career High School. "While we have enough infrastructure to support the laptops, that doesn't account for Kindles, iPads, and smartphones." The district has taken the steps to address this problem, though; besides raising awareness about the need for technology funding, schools have also extended hours so students and even community members can spend more time using the Internet.

Petersburg School District in Alaska has also found success through using educational technologies. Besides having a strong and motivated faculty, the district also has an excellent technology program in which the student to technology ratio is one-to-one with all students having access to laptops during the school day. "IF we don't have it, and if it supports their learning, then it gets installed," said Jon Kludt-Painter, the district's director of instructional technology. Besides empowering students through educational technologies, the district also addresses infrastructural issues within the community. Like Marble Falls ISD, Petersburg School District allows students to use the school's Internet before, after, and during school hours, and there is a center open on weekends that offers Internet access. "[The] classroom really is a classroom without walls," Kludt-Painter said about online learning.

Interested in reading the full article? Check out "Two rural schools that are beating the odds" by Laura Devaney (eSchool News). How have you used technology to overcome infrastructural, financial, or geographical challenges? Let us know!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Around the Web Wednesday! Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and technology. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!

Be sure to check back each week for our Around the Web Wednesday series. Have a great day!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Use our Speak Up data templates to start analyzing your Speak Up 2013 results!

Interested in viewing your data across audiences and by theme? Use our thematic report template to drop in your school or district’s data. The report includes the following themes organized by tabs: Demographic, Strategic Planning, School Issues, Use of Technology, Internet Safety, Social Media, Digital Content, Online/Blended Learning, Mobile Learning, 21st Century Skills, Career Exploration, Online Assessment, and Professional Development. *Please note some of the options may be out of order from the local data reports to accommodate data across audiences. Question numbers for each survey audience is listed for each question and the file is formatted for print!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Around the Web Wednesday! Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and technology. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!

Be sure to check back each week for our Around the Web Wednesday series. Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Speak Up data featured in articles!

In correlation with our Speak Up survey data release earlier this month, educational publications eSchool News and THE Journal featured our data in their articles. Both discussed data pulled from the 400,000+ Speak Up surveys that were taken by students, educators, administrators, parents, and community members this past year.

eSchool News focused on digital content's impact on teaching and learning, noting that while digital learning increases student engagement, enables students to learn beyond the school day, and improves teachers' technology skills, over half of schools don't have the necessary equipment to provide digital content in the classroom. The article by eSchool News managing editor, Laura Devaney, also focused on a two-year study at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C., where students used Gale Resources in classrooms; the study found that the students who used the resource were able to successfully connect with project-based learning activities and also demonstrated higher achievement gains.

On the other hand THE Journal focused on technology trends in education, using data presented at
the FETC 2014 conference. Noted was students' desires to take online classes, the large percentage of (89%) of students who have personal access to mobile devices, the increasing percentage of teachers who use videos within the classroom, digital footprint and safety awareness, an increase in gaming among students (regardless of gender), and the use and integration of social media in students' daily lives. Author Chris Riedel ended his article with the question, "What devices belong in 'the ultimate school?'" It was found that most students prefer laptops, digital readers, and tablets in their schools.

Interested in reading the articles? Check out TCEA: Digital content’s impact on teaching and learning by Laura Devaney (eSchool News) and 10 Major Technology Trends in Education by Chris Riedel (THE Journal). Have you seen Speak Up data used online? Let us know in the comments section!

eSchool News covers education technology in all its aspects–from legislation and litigation, to case studies, to purchasing practices and new products. First published in March of 1998, eSchool News is a monthly print and digital newspaper providing the news and information necessary to help K-20 decision-makers successfully use technology and the internet to transform North America’s schools and colleges and achieve their educational goals. The newspaper is read by more than 300,000 school leaders, and a companion web site—eSchool News Online ( ) is visited by more than 500,000 unique visitors each month, including over 280,000 registered members. 

THE Journal is dedicated to informing and educating K-12 senior-level district and school administrators, technologists, and tech-savvy educators within districts, schools, and classrooms to improve and advance the learning process through the use of technology. Launched in 1972, THE Journal was the first magazine to cover education technology.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Around the Web Wednesday! Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and technology. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!

Be sure to check back each week for our Around the Web Wednesday series. Have a great day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Project Tomorrow's 2013 High Impact Teacher of the Year featured in a Super Bowl ad

If you were one of the 111 million people who watched the Super Bowl last Sunday, you probably saw Microsoft's ad which portrayed the company's role in helping a deaf woman to hear, a surgeon to operate successfully, and students to learn by enabling them to connect with other students from across the country.

While Scott Bedley's fifth-graders from Plaza Vista School in Irvine, CA were only featured in the ad long enough for them to scream, "Hi!", the brief clip actually comes from a longer online advertisement that focuses solely on the students playing one of their several classroom games: Mystery Skype. Through Mystery Skype, the students are able to use the program to meet classrooms from other areas; however, neither classroom knows where the other is located and they must guess the other's state by asking about geography, climate, and culture.

Mystery Skype isn't the only way the students use technology in the classroom - Bedley's fifth graders have also video chatted with the lead paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, recreated famous buildings and landmarks through the block-building computer game Minecraft, and have used Google Docs to tutor younger students.

Not only were his students able to learn by connecting with others through technology, but Bedley was as well. "[Mystery Skype] is a game that I learned about from different educators that I connected with on Twitter," he said. His quest to Skype with all 50 states caught Microsoft's attention, who then asked if he would like to be a part of their campaign which focuses on how the company's products can change lives. "I saw it as an opportunity to highlight some things that are innovative in education and share those with other teachers," he said.

Bedley was recently named the 2014 Orange County Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of the 2013 Project Tomorrow's High Impact Teacher in Science, Math & Technology Award, which acknowledged his influence in preparing his students to compete and thrive in the 21st century. He hopes that his highly-watched Super Bowl ad will inspire teachers to use technology in order to change the way they teach and ultimately teach their students "to excel beyond what is just traditional learning."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Getting to Know the Project Tomorrow Team

Happy Friday!

We hope you all had a great week! It's Friday, which means it's time to meet another one of our wonderful team members. Today we would like to introduce you to Vinh Luong, our Program Manager!

Vinh Luong
Program Manager
Project Tomorrow
949-609-4660 x16 voice

Vinh joined the team as our Program Manager; he manages our YouthTEACH2Learn Program and the California Future Educators Association (CFEA). Formerly, he was the Program Coordinator for the Upward Bound Math & Science Program at California State University, San Bernadino. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas, Arlington and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernadino.

In his free time Vinh enjoys playing basketball, flag football, hiking, and traveling. He also enjoys photography and maintains a photo blog just for fun.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Educational Media's Biggest Users

If you visit the education category on the iTunes and Android app stores, you may notice that several of the apps consist of basic spelling, counting, and coloring. Given that these apps are geared towards young children and even babies, it is no surprise that children from the ages of 2 to 4 are educational media's biggest users.

"At a younger and younger age, kids are accustomed to using [televisions and mobile devices]," said Victoria Rideout, the author of the report that explains the findings by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. "Companies see this trend and are creating much more content that is for the very youngest kids and marketing that content as educational."

However, the large use of educational media drops once children enter school. While children between the ages of 2-4 spend an average of one hour per day watching television or using online programs, this number drops to fifty minutes per day for 5-to-7-year-olds, and to 42 minutes per day for 8-to-10-year-olds. Furthermore, while 13% of 2-to-4-year-olds use devices for educational activities, only 6% of 8-to-10-year-olds do. The study explains that when children enter school they are able to access more smartphones, game consoles and e-readers, and are therefore more easily distracted by video games and other online entertainment that do not contain educational material.

Are you surprised by this information? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on this post! To read the article "2-to-4-year-olds are most frequent users of educational media, study finds" by Cecilia Kang (The Washington Post), click here. To learn more about the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, click here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy Digital Learning Day!

Project Tomorrow is proud to celebrate Digital Learning Day with the release of the Speak Up 2013 data results to all participating organizations and the launch of the Speak Up for Higher Education survey "Tomorrow's Teachers Speak Up!".
Digital Learning Day is about giving every child the opportunity to learn in a robust digital environment everyday, with the goal of success in college and career. It is our hope that you will use your Speak Up 2013 data results to stimulate new conversations about the value of digital learning, and in particular, to underscore the importance of including the views of your stakeholders – students, parents and educators – in these vital discussions. To find out how you can get involved in all the great events taking place today, please visit the Digital Learning Day website at:

Quick Links:


It's easy to view your Speak Up results online

The results are in and you may view your district or school results along with national comparisons by following the steps below:
1) Click here to access your reports.
2) Select Option 1 to view district results or option 2 to individual school results.
3.) Next, enter the state, the first few letters of your district or school name and your district or school administrative password.
The results will be displayed and may be printed or copied onto an Excel Spreadsheet or this Speak Up 2013 Excel Template.
Forgot your password? If you are registered as the primary contact of your organization please click here to retrieve your password information.
Not the primary contact, visit our "look up an organization" page to locate your organization's primary contact on record. For confidentiality reasons, we provide passwords to the Speak Up contact of record only. To sign up as the primary contact (if one is not on file) please contact Jenny Hostert on the Speak Up Team at

National Release of Speak Up 2013 National Findings

2014 Congressional Briefing
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Please join us for the release of the Speak Up 2013 National Findings. This is the first of two Congressional Briefings on the data results from the 403,000 online Speak Up surveys submitted from education stakeholders nationwide in fall 2013.
The April 8th briefing will include a presentation of the national findings and a moderated panel discussion with students and educators. This year’s national report on the findings will be distributed to all attendees.
To RSVP to attend the briefing or to request a copy of the report, please visit our website at:
If you need additional information about Speak Up or the Congressional Briefing, please feel free to contact Jenny Hostert at or 949 609-4660 ext 17.

Speak Up for Higher Education

Tomorrow's Teachers Speak Up!

Tomorrow’s Teachers Speak Up! is a unique opportunity for the next generation of teachers to “speak up” about their views on their career choice and share their ideas about how to leverage technology within learning. The national data findings will be used to inform national policies on technology use in education, and to inform K-12 school and district leaders on the aspirations of tomorrow’s teachers. Participation is open to all students in teacher preparation programs both at the undergraduate and graduate level, teacher education faculty within Schools of Education, as well as career changers in special programs.
To learn more or get involved in this year's survey please visit our Speak Up for Higher Education website at:

Speak Up on the GO! New Speak Up 2013 Presentations and Findings.

We are working diligently now on our analysis of the Speak Up 2013 data in anticipation of our first Congressional Briefing in Washington DC to share the national findings on April 8, 2014. In the meantime we would be very interested in what you are learning from your Speak Up data and how you are using your stakeholders’ views to inform your technology and instructional plans, budgets, professional development or community engagement. Please feel free to send us an email at or add your ideas to our Speak Up blog or Twitter postings using #SpeakUp2013.

Speak Up 2013 Presentations

Speak Up 2013 Preliminary data snapshots

In celebration of our first annual Speak Up America campaign, we pulled a special snapshot of preliminary data for students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members. Click each audience to view the 2013 preliminary data infographic for that group, or to view them all go to:!
Stay tuned for more information about all of our activities this spring including new webinars, focused reports and conference presentations!

Need help?

Project Tomorrow staff is available to help you effectively use your data, here are just a few of the services we can provide you:
Identify the top 5 trends in your school, district or state with national benchmarks
Create a Speak Up presentation that you can use to share your Speak Up results in your school or district
Provide Speak Up fast facts that can be used on your website, newsletters or promotional material
Present your Speak Up data in person or via a webinar
Prepare a summary of your specific Speak Up findings (school, district or state) that can be distributed to your stakeholders
Write a case statement, using the Speak Up data, highlighting the benefits of investing in technology (school, district, state or national)
Prepare a customized narrative report about your Speak Up data (school, district or state)
Contact the Speak Up Team, to learn more about our consulting services and fees.

Thank you for your interest and continued support of Speak Up! Be sure to stay updated on all things Speak Up by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our Blog.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Speak Up Operations Manager, Jenny Hostert, at or via phone at 949/609-4660 ext. 17.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

For Immediate Release:                            
February 4, 2014                                                 

Contact: Amber Taylor

Project Tomorrow Named as Partner in 100Kin10, National Network to Grow STEM Teaching Force

Project Tomorrow’s YouthTEACH2Learn Program Educates High School Students about Teaching Careers

Irvine, Calif. Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit organization, is one of the latest partners of 100Kin10, a multi-sector network addressing the national imperative to train 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021.

“Being selected as a 100kin10 partner will support our on-going efforts to help recruit new teachers in California,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “Our YouthTEACH2Learn initiative is providing high school students the opportunity to learn about teaching, and it is developing new pipelines for math and science teachers – a perfect fit for 100kin10’s ambitious national goal.”

Project Tomorrow’s YouthTEACH2Learn program is a career exploration program where students gain first-hand experiences with teaching as a career. During the high school or after school program, students learn about teaching strategies and gain practical experience by developing and teaching standards-based math and science lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools. As Project Tomorrow is the host organization for the California Future Educators Association, these young educators also have the opportunity to pursue career development activities with peers in after school chapter activities at their high school and in their community.   

As part of 100Kin10, Project Tomorrow has committed to recruit 2,050 excellent STEM teacher candidates, with 25 percent of those new teachers coming from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM, in California by 2018. Project Tomorrow aims to achieve this goal by leveraging the organization’s innovative programming that puts a focus on moving the starting line for teacher career development from college to high school.  

More and better-trained STEM teachers are essential to prepare America’s students to fully participate in our democracy and to understand and respond to complex national and global challenges. To compete in the global marketplace and provide opportunity to all young Americans, all students—not  just those fortunate enough to attend certain schools— must have basic STEM skills and knowledge. Project Tomorrow is one of nearly 200 100Kin10 partners unified by a single, ambitious goal: to prepare all students with the high-quality STEM knowledge and skills to equip them for success in college and the workplace.

Organizations are accepted as 100Kin10 partners following a rigorous vetting process conducted by a team of partner reviewers and the University of Chicago. Reviewers are looking for organizations that bring innovation, boldness, and a proven track-record to their commitment(s) toward expanding, improving, and retaining the best of the nation’s STEM teaching force, or building the 100Kin10 movement.  A complete list of partners is available on the 100Kin10 website.

As partners fulfill their ambitious commitments and work together to spark innovation, they have access to exclusive opportunities—including competitive research opportunities, solution labs, collaboration grants, a growing research and learning platform, and a funding marketplace. Each of these is designed to foster collaborative problem-solving and support partners in fulfilling their ambitious commitments.

In January 2014, 100Kin10 launched its third fund with $5 million and leadership from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and the Overdeck Family Foundation. To date, 100Kin10 funding partners have committed more than $57 million in support of the work of the partners. Over $31 million has already been distributed to partner organizations in 99 grants since the first fund launched in June 2011.

In the first two years of the effort, 100Kin10 partners who have committed to increase the supply of great STEM teachers have recruited and prepared 12,412 teachers. They are projected to prepare just shy of 37,000 teachers by 2016, five years into the project’s ten-year timeline. The network’s continued growth (through organizations such as those announced here) will add to this total number. In addition, nearly 75 partners are working to support and improve existing teachers so that more of them stay in the profession, with the goal of over time reducing the need for so many new teachers entering the workforce.

About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow® is the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of student voices in education.  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 development of innovative career exploration projects in schools and communities, online tools and resources for students, teachers and parents, and national and regional advocacy efforts.  Learn more at

About 100Kin10
100Kin10 is a multi-sector network that responds to the national imperative to train and retain 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021.