Google+ Communities

Google+I’m a big, big fan of Google+. It’s a very big component of my personal learning network (PLN). Here are some thoughts about about why I prefer Google+ over the other social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). I encourage everyone to take a look at Google+’s services and consider taking advantage of them.

Friend Me

Please feel free to friend me on Google+. Then browse through my Links and Other Profiles to make connections, collaborate, and share resources through other networks. As I frequently say, “Together we learn more.”

Google+ Communities

I’ve developed several Google+ Communities where we can interact and share resources around particular topics. I invite you to join and actively contribute to all of these groups in which you have an interest/expertise.

Interest in Math and Science Careers Sparked in Classes Where Learning Is Directed by Students & Supported by Technology

This post is a follow-up to an earlier blog entry about the findings in the Speak Up 2011 report. The following information provides additional insights and comes from a press release from Project Tomorrow.

— — — — —

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amber Taylor
703-201-4893, amber@sambertaylor.com

Just Nine Percent of Students Describe Their Most Recent Math and Science Classes This Way; More than 40 percent Still Describe Traditional Format

Washington, D.C. – Nearly one-third of high school students who experience math and science classrooms where instruction is led by teachers, learning is directed by students and where technology is used to support both, express a strong interest in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career, according to the latest findings from the 2011 Speak Up survey (View as: HTML, PDF). Nationally, just nine percent of students described their most recent math or science class this way.

Only 20 percent of students in traditional classrooms, where the instruction is teacher directed and the use of technology is limited, expressed the same interest in STEM careers.

“This is the first time we’ve noticed this correlation between the type of math and science instruction and the students’ interest in STEM careers,” said Julie Evans. “For a nation concerned with developing the next generations of scientists, engineers and innovators, this finding should raise some eyebrows.”

When asked to describe their most recent math or science class, the majority of middle and high school students chose one of these three classroom paradigms:

  1. Traditional class with teacher-directed instruction – lectures, textbook assignments, group projects and labs (43 percent)
  2. Traditional class with teacher-directed instruction as in #1, but with some technology used to support instruction (33 percent)
  3. Traditional class with a mix of teacher-directed instruction and student-directed learning and the use of technology tools to support both teachers and students (9 percent)

“For three-quarters of today’s students in grades 6-12, math and science class is still much like it was when we adults were in school: predominately teacher-centered with little or no opportunities for students to direct their own learning, at their own pace, with their own tools,” said Evans.

“Think about that in contrast to what is being called for by the new Common Core Standards for math. The Common Core approach is based on teachers laying out a specific task and inviting the students to dig in and solve the problem using appropriate tools and resources,” explain Evans. “If our schools are able to implement this type of teaching and learning, the potential for interest in math and science should grow.”

These findings can be found in a Speak Up 2012 report, Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connects the Dots with Digital Learning. That report and more can be accessed here: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/2012_PersonalizedLearning.html

This year’s survey findings also show:

  • Significant increase in students’ mobile Internet access outside of school with more than half of all students (urban, suburban and rural) reporting access through 3G/4G mobile devices.
  • Middle and high school students’ access to a personal tablet device doubled from 2010-2011 (26 percent of middle school and 21 percent of high school students now report personal access to a tablet).
  • Students are adopting technologies and then adapting them to support their own self-directed learning (tweeting about academic topics, tutoring other students online, using mobile apps to organize school work, used Facebook as a collaboration tool for classroom projects, etc.).

The 2011 online survey – completed by more than 416,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators – offers the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered input on education and technology from those ‘on the ground’ in the schools.

Now in its 9th year, the annual survey about education and technology is facilitated through public, private and charter schools all around the country; every school is eligible to participate. The results provide important insights about education, technology and student aspirations to individual schools, state departments of education and national leaders.

Since 2003, more than 2.6 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 35,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard, Inc., DreamBox, Hewlett-Packard, K12, Inc., Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative, Schoolwires and SMART Technologies.

Project Tomorrow partners with more than 75 different education associations, organizations and think-tanks for outreach to the schools and development of the survey questions including the American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National Science Digital Library, National Secondary School Principals Association, Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors’ Association.

About Project Tomorrow
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report use the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.

 

Speak Up 2011: National Findings for K-12 Students and Parents

About Speak Up

The Speak Up National Research Project provides participating schools, districts and non-profit organizations with a suite of online surveys and reports to collect authentic feedback from students, educators and parents. In addition, they summarize and share the national findings with education and policy leaders in Washington DC and in each state.

The top three reasons schools and districts participate in Speak Up are to:

  • Collect unique data from their stakeholders.
  • Conduct a needs assessment and create a vision for 21st century learning.
  • Use the data to create and inform technology initiatives or create strategic plans.

Across the nation, educators report that Speak Up:

  • Gives them a better understanding of issues important to their stakeholders.
  • Provides a mechanism to empower students to voice their opinions.
  • Provides meaningful input into their planning process.
  • Enhances their ability to implement technology initiatives more closely aligned to students’ expectations and needs.
  • Helps identify meaningful benchmarks for measuring success.

Since 2003, educators from more than 30,000 schools have used the Speak Up data to create and implement their vision for 21st century learning. Register to participate in Speak Up. (Source)

Speak Up 2011 Report

On April 24, 2012, Project Tomorrow released the report “Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connects the Dots with Digital Learning” at a Congressional Briefing held in Washington, DC. Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, discussed selected student and parent national findings from the Speak Up 2011 report and moderated a panel discussion with students and parents who shared their insights and experiences.

The report focuses on how today’s students are personalizing their own learning, and how their parents are supporting this effort. The ways that students are personalizing their learning centers around three student desires including how students seek out resources that are digitally-rich, untethered and socially-based. The key questions being addressed in this report include:

  • How are students personalizing their learning?
  • How are parents helping students to personalize their learning journey?
  • What are the digitally-rich, untethered and socially based learning strategies that facilitate this process?
  • How can education stakeholders support students as they seek to personalize their learning?
  • What are the gaps between administrators’ views of personalized learning compared to parents’ and students’ views?

Key Findings

  • Students are adopting technologies and then adapting them to support their own self-directed learning. For example, 1 in 10 high school students have Tweeted about an academic topic. 46% of students have used Facebook as a collaboration tool for schoolwork.
  • Parents are supporting their children’s personalized learning journeys. 64% of parents report that they would purchase a mobile device for their child’s academic use at school.
  • There is a gap in offerings between what schools offer and what students want to learn. As a result, students are looking outside of the classroom to meet their personalized learning goals. For example, 12% of high school students have taken an online class on their own, outside of the classroom, to learn about a topic that interested them.
  • In math and science classrooms where students and teachers direct learning supported by technology, students’ interest in a STEM career is 27%, compared with 20% for students in traditional math and science classrooms.
  • Parents’ definition of academic success for their children places a strong emphasis on learning the right skills to be successful (73%)- more than any other metric for success, including monetary success or getting into a good college (Source).

At a Glimpse

Below is an infographic presenting many of the key findings from the Speak Up 2011 Report. Click on the image to download the full-size PDF.

 

So, Now What?

Speak Up 2011 demonstrates how students are personalizing their own learning, and how parents are supporting their efforts. As reflective educators it is important that we consider the implications of these findings. I’ve used a modified Compass Points Thinking Routine as a framework for guiding our reflection and conversation.

  1. How do these national findings compare to your local experiences?
  2. Are there changes that need to be made so that your local classrooms can be more reflective of these findings?
  3. What excites you about these findings? What is the upside?
  4. What do you find worrisome about these findings? What is the downside?
  5. What else do you need to know or find out about the findings? What additional information would help you to evaluate things?
  6. What is your current stance or opinion on the findings? How might you move forward in your evaluation of this report?

Google Friend Connect

I encourage you to join our professional learning network (PLN) via Google Friend Connect so that we can all engage in more active and collaborative ways. I hope you’ll join our educational community (click on the button below) and let’s have fun learning together. Please feel free to invite other educators, preservice teachers, homeschool families, and anyone with an interest in education and technology, too.



Join our EduPLN: Together We Learn More

I encourage new visitors to the website and blog to join our professional learning network (PLN) via Facebook and Google Friend Connect so that we can all engage in more active and collaborative ways. I hope you’ll join our educational community (click on the buttons below) and let’s have fun learning together. Please feel free to invite other educators, preservice teachers, homeschool families, and anyone with an interest in education and technology, too.

Join our EduPLN: Together We Learn More

I encourage new visitors to the website and blog to join our professional learning network (PLN) via Facebook and Google Friend Connect so that we can all engage in more active and collaborative ways. I hope you’ll join our educational community (click on the buttons below) and let’s have fun learning together. Please feel free to invite other educators, preservice teachers, homeschool families, and anyone with an interest in education and technology, too.

Together We Learn More

I encourage new visitors to the website and blog to join our professional learning network (PLN) via Facebook and Google Friend Connect so that we can all engage in more active and collaborative ways. I hope you’ll join our educational community (click on the buttons below) and let’s have fun learning together. Please feel free to invite other educators, preservice teachers, homeschool families, and anyone with an interest in education and technology, too.

Using Facebook Pages

I’ve recently setup a Facebook page for Clif Mims.com which includes my entire educational website and this blog. This provides us additional avenues for sharing resources and engaging with people that share an interest in education, technology, instructional design, curriculum, professional development, technology integration, Web 2.0 and social media, and more. I’ve added fan box widgets to my website and towards the bottom of the right-hand menu of this blog which show off a few random avatars of people that have already become fans.

Please click the gray “Become a Fan” button and join the learning and fun.