210,000 Students “Speak Up” About Technology & Education Through Netday’s Speak Up Day

December 2, 2003

Irvine, CA — November 24, 2003. NetDay announced the success of its historic effort to reach students across the country and capture their views on technology. Through the Speak Up Day initiative, held October 29th, NetDay engaged the voices of over 210,000 K-12 students from 1,535 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including many Department of Defense Overseas Schools. In this first ever, large-scale national discussion on the topic, students went on online from their classrooms and shared their opinions, ideas and thoughts on how technology should be used in schools. NetDay will compile the results and submit a report to the US Department of Education’s 3rd National Education Technology Plan currently under development.

“We are overwhelmed with the thoughtful responses expressed by the students who participated and the teachers who guided them through the survey, “noted Julie Evans, CEO, NetDay. “We are also gratified with the support NetDay received from its partners. They worked to get the word out to schools and students using their websites, listservs and electronic newsletters. The Speak Up Day success story is also about effectively leveraging partnerships and the power of Internet communications to address a common concern. We are very excited about providing our partners with data from the Speak Up Day surveys so that their members, affiliates and constituents can start to incorporate the students’ ideas into school planning.”

Speak Up Day participants expressed appreciation for Net Day’s efforts to reach out and listen to student voices.

  • Julie Healy’s class in “Information Technology in a Global Society” at Annandale (VA) High School valued the chance to express their views. “Having the Director of the Office of Educational Technology from the US Dept of Education, John P Bailey, along with the Assistant Director, Susan Patrick, visit our classroom provided the students with an additional opportunity to make their opinion known. The message clearly delivered by the students was “what took you so long to ask us?” Healy added.
  • The responses were “real eye openers”, according to Anne Beacham, Educational Technologist in DeLalio Elementary School, Camp Lejeune Department of Defense School, in Jacksonville, NC. “We had a chance to see technology through the eyes of the students. We are looking forward to the survey results and anticipating making valuable adjustments in the way technology is used at DeLalio Elementary School.”
  • “Kids need to have a voice, “noted Diane Bennett, Technology Coach, at Mt. Juliet High School in Mt. Juliet, TN. “We learned from the students that they are using instant messaging at home to help each other. Now I am investigating and researching through the web how we can impact learning using that strategy. We can’t meet needs unless we hear from the students.”
  • “Participating in Speak Up Day was an incredible experience!” according to Deane Saad, Education Technology Specialist, Freetown Elementary School, Freetown, MA. . “I was totally in awe at the enthusiasm our students and teachers (grades K-4) showed during our participation in this event. During our preparation for Speak Day, we spoke to the students about all of the different kinds of technology used at school and home. We then made an imaginary time line of children in the sixties who had to find out three facts about the Pilgrims for a school report. The children were shown an encyclopedia and several other books on Pilgrims. We then asked them how that differed from the way that students today would find the information for their report! And which way they would prefer to learn. Needless to say learning with technology, using online books, virtual museums, etc. won hands down! “

NetDay will summarize all the student comments into a written report that will be submitted for the National Education Technology Plan in December 2003 and will be available online for public discussion. This report will also be a call to action for national, state and local education leaders to recognize the importance of student input in discussions about how schools and instruction impact their educational experiences. In addition, schools will be able in December to go back to www.NetDay.org to view their own survey results and compare those results to their state results and the national report.

NetDay’s mission is to connect every child to a brighter future by helping educators meet educational goals through the effective use of technology. NetDay (www.NetDay.org), a national non-profit organization known for its successful school wiring programs, today manages community and web-based programs that promote enhanced student achievement through the effective use of technology. Speak Up Day is NetDay’s latest initiative and will focus awareness on the importance of student voices in the national dialogue on education and technology.

The following nonprofit groups partnered with NetDay on the outreach efforts for Speak Up Day: Alliance for Excellent Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Electronics Association, Benton Foundation, Cable in the Classroom, College Board, Consortium for School Networking, Council for Exceptional Children, ExplorNet, Florida Virtual High School, Generation YES, George Lucas Educational Foundation, Great Lafayette (LA) Chamber of Commerce, GreatSchools.net, High Tech High, International Society for Technology in Education, McKenzie Group, MAR*TEC, MOUSE, National Association for College Admissions Counseling, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, National Education Association, National Education Knowledge Industry Association, National Rural Education Association, National School Boards Association, North American Council for Online Learning, Points of Light Foundation, Public Education Network, Software & Information Industry Association, State Education Technology Directors Association, TECH CORPS, TechNet, Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership, The Children’s Partnership, Think.com, US Conference of Mayors and Virtual High School.

In addition, the following corporate partners provided invaluable support to the effort: Bell South Foundation, Sun Microsystems, Google and Apple Computer. The US Department of Education is also a partner in Speak Up Day.

The No Child Left Behind Act charges the Secretary of Education with developing the nation’s third National Education Technology Plan. The Plan will establish a national strategy supporting the effective use of technology to improve student academic achievement and to prepare students for the 21st century. The revised National Education Technology Plan provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made, identify the areas that need to be further addressed, and consider what transformed learning may look like.

Julie Evans

Irene Spero
Director, External Relations
301 529 2731