A few weeks ago Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow was in the National Capital Area to brief Congress on the state of digital learning in grades K-12 in the United States, and what this means for our students’ preparedness to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Julie presented using data from Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey. The Survey is an invaluable tool for local, state, and federal administrators as they evaluate personalized learning programs. While Julie was in town, we had a chance to sit down with her and learn more about Project Tomorrow. We were intrigued to see what the 2013 Speak Up report would reveal about the state of mobile learning in K-12 schools—where major advancements had occurred, and where we still need to make progress.
The 2013 Speak Up Report did show significant improvement in the number of schools embracing mobile learning strategies and not only welcoming student-owned devices into the classroom, but also supplying devices to students for use at home. As is always the case with educational trends, we need to be mindful of socio-economic as well as gender trends and how they affect not only the ability to access mobile devices and the network backbone that powers them, but also how they are used. Overall, digital equity was a growing concern among district technology leaders in the 2013 survey, with 46 percent of administrators saying it is “one of the most challenging issues they face today." This statistic becomes even more important when compared to the 2010 survey, where just 19 percent of district technology leaders saw digital equity as an area of concern.
Overall, the 2013 Speak Up Report demonstrates that America’s schools are ramping up their use of mobile learning devices and platforms at a much faster rate than we’ve seen previously. While this is leading schools and districts to grapple with high order issues such as how boys and girls differ in their use of technology, and assisting students with adapting to different learning media, the key takeaway is that benefits of mobile learning—from extension of the learning day to the personalization of learning and improved engagement with students—are well understood by our educational leaders and being implemented as quickly as funding, training, and technology permit.
Check back here next week to see our interview with Julie Evans on the 2013 Speak Up Report.
To download a copy of the report, click over to Project Tomorrow here.