ELI: Julie Evans, K-12 Students Speak Up

From the site:

The Third Annual Robert C. Heterick, Jr., Lecture
Since 2003, the NetDay (www.netday.org) Speak Up annual online survey has collected authentic, unfiltered feedback from K•12 students about their use of technology for learning and entertainment. Learn about students’ expectations for technology use and their aspirations for a 21st-century learning environment as uncovered in the most recent survey data.

Julie Evan’s organization polls K-12 students and parents and then takes many of those issues to Capital Hill. The focus is upon kids and their thoughts about tech. (The slides will be made available; I will link to them when I find them.) They do annual surveys (“Speak Up”); done online; convenience; open. This is to instigate conversation locally and to help form policy, at the national, state, local levels.
Preliminary results on this year’s survey:

  • Communications is still #1
  • Self-directed learning on the rise
  • Continued disconnect between students and adults
  • Sophistication of youngest learners (like my 3 year old who uses the Mac!)
  • She cites data that says in 1994 only 3% of elementary schools had internet connections and now it is 92%. But I wonder what that means? One connection in the school or a connection in each classroom (as she contends)? So while their online use has increased there is still a spectrum of experience.

    Techonology & Devices

  • On gaming it is near 70%, regardless of gender. Cell phone is going up including over 40% of k-12 kids.
    9% of reporting HS students have smart phones or Blackberry*
  • Overwhelmingly report that they are using them for research, less presentations and tests, 50% for “keyboarding.” I am not sure what that is. Typing class? [Somebody just asked, it is typing tutors.]
  • 35% 6-12 are taking online class. Number one reason why the students want it: to get extra help in a subject area. Top subjects: Math, foreign language. The kids want it as supplemental not additional or unavailable subjects.
  • Testing – They love collaborative projects, but prefer tests first and then presentations and portfolios.
  • Technology outside of school – Email, Games, Music, MySpace (only 6-12).
  • Favorite Communications Tool – Cell phone for talking (36%), Email, IM. Daily use: 73% 9-12, 57% 6-8, 42% 4-6
  • Surprise fact (to me) – 50% of Gr. 3-5 use online tools to connect with other students.
  • These stats are interesting, but I will have to get them from the slides. Suffice it to say a LOT are meeting online friends, never meeting in the flesh, but only online.

  • What is the value of good tech skills – To get a job, success in college, be aware of the world, do well in school
  • Obstacles to using tech

  • Gr. 3-5 Access issues – lack of computers, inconvenient locations, slow internet
  • Gr. 6-12 Control issues – RUles against tech tools, teachers control where/when, school filters
  • (Kids report having their own “rubric” or grading scale to assess their teachers [lack of] technology skills.)

    If you were a principal for a day:

  • Laptop for every student
  • Use cell phone/mp3/handheld
  • Use email/IM/blog
  • Digital movie making
  • Interactive whileboards
  • Online textbooks
  • Online classes
  • Lesson on my iPod
  • The lowest figure above (the last) is 34%! She says that the laptop response is across the board and across economic situation of the students.

    Trends to Watch

  • Spectrum of digital nativeness
  • New communication devices and tools (and the kids will push the boundaries of how they are used
  • Connecting without boundaries
  • Tech as tool, not fad or fun
  • Inclusion of student ideas in planning
  • The kids say that email “is for grandparents.” They have the accounts but use them for storage of text and files, but prefer texting and IM.

    “If you have to learn about it it is technology; if you don’t it isn’t technology.”

    * Big caveat on all this. John Harwood just leaned over to tell me that less than 2% of our PSU students have smartphones. So how do they get this 9% stat? Because this is a self-selecting survey. I assume she will provide more details about how they collect and analyze their data. National findings will be released March 21st, she said.

    • Someone just asked about the data and she says they do correlate it and verify it and it “matches up.” I don’t know what that means… More questions on this. The schools sign up (students do not come up individually) for those, sometimes by class, grade level, or school and district. They also do extensive focus groups. Oftentimes those schools have NOT taken the survey.
    Relevant to MySpace, etc. someone as a parent just asked if the kids were aware of the privacy issues and concerns. She says yes to “privacy” and that kids are “rolling back” from sharing too much on the web. She says that the teachers are behind the curve in terms of development.

    Also, this is what they (the kids) want and think. How much should their views and desires drive policy?

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