Stephen Stills’ 1966 song, “For What It’s Worth,” spoke to one kind of revolution in its day, but some of its lyrics are prophetic in the sense of what they say about the learning revolution going on in your own classrooms today:
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear.
First, what appears to be happening and second, why we’re not sure.
This week over 90% of the students we heard from reported using their tablets at school for schoolwork. That’s the kind of number you’d get if you asked how many students used a pencil at school in traditional classrooms. Wow. More impressive is what they said they used that technology for. Almost two-thirds are using the devices to find information and to work on class assignments like writing an essay or creating a presentation. A fourth are taking digital assessments and almost half are checking up on their grades. Almost a third are communicating with you, their teachers, and about the same number are collaborating with other students. There’s no doubt that the tablet devices are being thoroughly integrated into the learning culture of your classrooms.
While it would be easy to assume 70- 90% of you might lecture or lead whole-class discussions on any given day, as you reported in the original survey you took for Digital Promise, fewer than a third of this week’s reporting students indicated they listened to lectures by their teachers the day before they took the survey. More than half worked in small groups and worked on projects. And almost a fifth led discussions among their peers. Instructional transformation seems underway. But we can’t be sure and the overall picture is fuzzy.
So why aren’t we sure? This past week we only heard from a small fraction of you and your students. With your pioneering work, we can pave the way to transformational learning environments for other educators throughout the country. That’s the mission on which Verizon, Digital Promise, and you set out together. But we can’t tell your story, make your travels and travails clear for other educators, if we don’t get more data points, more often, from more of you who set out with us.
Any ideas about how we can substantially increase participation in our two-minutes-a-week survey?
Percent of student body participating at each school:
Number of teachers participating at each school: