Every year, Project Tomorrow takes a survey of kids and teachers. The initiative is called Speak Up. The latest findings were focused on digital media (including games) use in the classroom and suggests games are continuing to play an important role in education.

“Many more schools are demonstrating greater use of digital content, tools and resources today than six years ago and we believe that the increasing adoption of interactive, visual media in the classroom by teachers is the driver for much of that change,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “The explosion in teacher interest and usage of videos and game-based learning could be a harbinger of a new awakening for digital learning.”

While there’s been a marked increase in digital media in the classroom, there’s still a way to go. Helping teachers, parents and other members of the school district find and learn to use the content in the best way is the biggest challenge.

“There’s no shortage of content or tools — the challenge and the opportunity is effectively discovering, curating and using these resources to enable student learning in exciting new ways,” said Stephanie Weeks, Vice President of K-12 Strategy at Blackboard, one of the sponsors of Speak Up. “The results of this survey point to the same trends that we have observed: students, teachers, districts and parents want innovative, blended learning experiences more than ever before, requiring change both inside and outside the classroom. We expect to see this trend continue, and our K-12 New Learning Experience Platform is focused on enabling teachers and school districts as they undergo this change.”

This year’s report is called “From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations and simulations within K-12 education.” The survey looked for information on the following topics.

  • What precipitates the move within schools from print to pixel to lay the foundation for then understanding how teachers and students are using these digital tools in their classrooms?
  • How are students self-directing learning beyond the classroom?
  • What should we expect in further adoptions of visually engaging digital tools in education?

Here are some of the findings from the report:

  • Simulations are more widely used by teachers in virtual classes (23%) and teachers who have implemented a flipped learning model (26%) or a blended learning model (17%).
  • Over three-quarters of middle school students (78 percent) are tapping into online videos, and 6 out of 10 (61%) are playing online games, all in service of various types of self-directed learning goals.
  • School principals (84 percent) are almost unanimous in their belief that the effective use of technology within instruction is important for student success. However, they do acknowledge challenges or barriers to meeting the expectation of effective technology usage.
  • Five out of 10 administrators note that the implementation of digital content resources such as videos, simulations and animations was already generating positive student outcome results

This article was written by

Nicole has been playing games her entire life. Now that she's a mom, she's passionate about promoting games as a healthy pastime to other parents around the globe. She has been an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast. In her spare time (which is not very much, honestly) she enjoys gaming, reading, and writing fiction. Most of the time she’s a mom to a crazy, intelligent, and exhausting little girl.