Pilot programs also launched in Texas and Florida
By David Nagel | The Journal
October 22, 2009
Project Tomorrow has kicked off Speak Up 2009, the latest in the organization's series of annual surveys focused on 21st century teaching, learning, parenting, and administration. This year it's also added a new survey geared specifically toward pre-service teachers.
The survey is used as a gauge of opinion and practices in education, with a particular emphasis on technology topics, such as the use of Web 2.0 tools, mobile computing, telecommunications, STEM, and a number of other topics. To date the survey has reached out to teachers, students, parents, and, more recently, school and district administrators.
But this year's survey also includes pre-service teachers--those who are currently enrolled in colleges or universities. For pre-service teachers, it will cover expectations of the use of technology on the job, views on emerging technologies, the use of professional learning communities, technology training in teacher prep, comfort in using emerging technologies, views on the impact of technology on teacher effectiveness, and views on the impact of technology on learning, among other topics.
All told, about of third of the questions in the survey will be new this year, according to Project Tomorrow.
Last year's Speak Up survey polled more than 281,000 students, 29,000 teachers, 21,000 parents, and 3,100 administrators and involved 4,379 schools from 868 districts in all 50 states. Since 2003, more than 1.5 million K-12 students, teachers, school leaders, and parents from more than 18,000 schools have participated in the survey. Some 300,000 are expected to participate this year.
"Each year more schools sign up to be part of Speak Up because it offers them--their students, parents and staff--a way to express their opinions about the future of learning, local and national policies, how teaching could be improved and more," said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, in a statement released this week. "The information is invaluable to the schools who participate, and the elected leaders at all levels who use Speak Up data as a way to gauge opinions on a range of educational issues."
Compiled survey results are shared each year with state and federal policy leaders.
In addition to the normal surveys, Speak Up 2009 will also include pilot programs in Texas and Florida in which additional questions are asked of students covering specific topics. In Texas, middle schoolers will be asked questions about technology literacy, library use, and what kind of technology instruction they would like to receive in the classroom. (The Texas pilot is a partnership between Project Tomorrow and the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Computer Education Association, and the Texas Library Association.)
In Florida, students will also be asked questions about personalized learning, including how they would like to learn, how they define success, and how they would like their work to be assessed.
Survey responses will be accepted through Dec. 18. Speak Up is open to students, teachers, parents, and administrators from all public, private, parochial, and charter schools in the United States and Canada. It's also open to pre-service teachers currently enrolled in programs at colleges and universities.
Individual information is kept confidential. Results (aggregated) will be made public in the spring. (Participants will also have access to their organizations' own aggregated data, which is expected to be available in February 2010.) The survey is conducted completely online. Further information about Speak Up 2009 can be found here.