Speak Up Challenge

EVMS Student 1 of 3 Winners in Nation
Posted on 04/16/2019
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Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit group based in Irvine, Calif. hosted a nationwide challenge “Speak Up” to all students, grades K-12, where they submitted viewpoints about key educational issues, particularly concerning digital learning and the use of technology to support future ready schools. Last Friday, April 12, the organization announced through their blog the first-round winners of the 2018-19 Speak Up Challenge. Among the three winners was 7th grader Anakin Guzzetta from Eagle Valley Middle School (EVMS) in Carson City is the first to be announced.

The challenge required students to write and submit a 500-word blog or create a 2-3 minute vlog answering the following prompt: “Help us predict the future of learning!  What will “school” be like in 2025?  How will new technologies change the way students go to school, learn, and interact with their teachers and classmates?” The prizes included $100 for each student winner and $100 for supporting teachers.

This year’s challenge was meant to introduce new technology mediums to students; by creating a blog, students can learn new creative ways to write in an interactive way. Vlogs give students an opportunity to emerge in new technologies like filming, video editing, etc. The 2018-19 Student Speak Up Challenge was also implemented with the objective of having students analyze and critically think about the near future of technology use in the classroom, the announcement read.

“Technology is quickly advancing and it’s going to affect everyone who does or doesn’t use tech,” Guzzetta said in his winning blog submission. “There might be new programs for school on tablets. These tablets could have a very high amount of storage to download textbooks, assignments, podcasts, etc.”

Carson City School District boasts of efforts in advocating for technology. The district provides one-to-one devices (Chromebooks) for every student grades 3 through 12.

“Another way technology could affect school is with VR (Virtual Reality),” Guzzetta continued, discussing what classrooms may look like in 2025. “With advancements in VR the students could go onto field trips without even having to leave their desks. All they need to do is put on the goggles and in a matter of minutes and they could be exploring the depths of space or go as small as a cell.”

He also noted that virtual assistants similar to the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant could help students and teachers alike. There are no current plans within the district to implement VR or virtual assistants, but Guzzetta said there is so much happening with the world in technology. Advancements are being made every single day for transportation, personal use, household appliances, health and even schools. With these advancements, many things from years beyond will change.

Under the direction of EVMS Teacher Lisa Stocke-Koop, STEM Lab facilitator and leadership advisor, the advanced multimedia (Social Media) class at EVMS participated in this challenge as an assignment. She encouraged the real world application of skills being used in her class. She emphasized that it was a 21st century learning skills task as part of her class.