Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology – Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today’s Students

On April 30, 2015 Project Tomorrow released the report “Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology – Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today’s Students” at a Congressional Briefing held in Washington, DC and online in a special live stream of the event. Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, discussed selected student national findings from the Speak Up 2014 report and moderated a panel discussion with students who shared their insights and experiences with digital learning.

Over 70 people attended the Congressional Briefing including congressional staff members, student and staff representatives from some of our Speak up schools, and staff from many of our sponsors, champion outreach partners and non-profit partners.
Students and parents from Baltimore County Public Schools (MD), Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy at Capitol Hill (DC), and Fairfax County Public School District (VA) shared their insights regarding their daily digital learning experiences.

Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology – Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today’s Students is the first in a two part series to document the key national findings from Speak Up 2014.

For the past twelve years, Project Tomorrow’s® annual Speak Up Research Project has provided schools and districts nationwide and throughout the globe with new insights into how today’s students want to leverage digital tools for learning based upon the authentic, unfiltered ideas of students themselves. With this year’s national report on the views of 431,231 K-12 students representing over 8,000 schools and 2,600 districts in the United States and around the world, we focus our attention on the lived experiences of students immersed in daily digital learning experiences.

From the Speak Up database, we extract the views and ideas of students in four specific types of learning environments to comprehend how their experiences differ from students in more traditional classroom-based education. The four learning environments examined include:

  • Students who are using school provided laptops, tablets, or Chromebooks to support their education
  • Students in blended learning environments where instruction is a mix of class time and online time
  • Students whose learning is 100 percent online or virtual
  • Students participating in STEM learning experiences such as specific STEM academies, school tech support team, or computer programming/coding clubsKey Findings from this year’s report include:
  • When students have access to technology as part of their learning, especially school-provided or enabled technology, their use of the digital tools and resources is deeper and more sophisticated.
  • The availability of online learning continues to increase with only 27 percent of high school principals reporting that they are not yet offering any online courses for students. Interest among students continues to grow, with 24% of high school students saying they wish they could take all their classes online – a large increase from 8% in 2013.
  • Almost three-quarters of students with school-provided devices as well as students with limited or non-existent technology access at school agreed that every student should be able to use a mobile device during the school day for learning.
  • Students connect the use of technology tools within learning to the development of college, career, and citizenship skills that will empower their future capabilities.
  • Digital experiences for students in a 100 percent virtual environment are much different than those in traditional schools. For instance, 72 percent of high school students in virtual schools take online tests, compared with 58 percent of traditional students.
  • Students see the smartphone as the ideal device for communicating with teachers (46%) and classmates (72%) and for social media (64%).
  • A gender bias exists in STEM interest –middle school girls are 38% less likely and high school girls are 32% less likely than their male peers to say they are very interested in a STEM career.

Download PDF of the report
View the report in HTML
Infographic: Mobile Learning in the United States
Flyer: Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About K-12 Students’ Views on Digital Learning
Congressional Briefing Homepage
Congressional Briefing Packet Materials

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