SOURCE: Blackboard Inc.

October 17, 2007 08:00 ET

National Survey Indicates High School Students Preference for Online Learning to Expand Educational Choices

Students, Teachers and Parents Identify Significant Value of Online Learning in New Report: Learning in the 21st Century

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - October 17, 2007) - National School Boards Association Annual T+L conference -- Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) a leading provider of enterprise solutions for the education industry and Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit group, today announce the release of Learning in the 21st Century: A National Report of Online Learning. The report underscores the importance and value which online learning plays in increasing student and teacher achievement.

Key findings from the report include:

--  47 percent of surveyed students in grades 9-12 and 32 percent of
    students in grades 6-8 would pursue online learning to secure courses not
    offered at school;
--  One in five student respondents in grades 6-12 have taken an online or
    distance learning course at school or on their own, and one in three
    students selected online classes as a component of their ideal school;
--  77 percent of teachers believe that technology makes a difference in
    learning and 28 percent would like to see online courses offered as an
    alternative in their district; and
--  42 percent of parents believe that online classes are a good
    investment to improve student achievement and to track their child's

"As schools are exploring new ways to engage today's students, online learning options are crucial," said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. "Increasingly, students, teachers and parents say that online learning is an essential component of the ideal 21st century school environment."

The findings of Learning in the 21st Century are based upon data collected as part of the Speak Up 2006 survey conducted from over 250,000 students, teachers and parents representing almost 3,000 schools in the United States.

In-Depth Research/Analysis Conducted in Six Varying School Districts

Learning in the 21st Century includes in-depth profiles of six school districts effectively leveraging a variety of online learning methodologies to address a range of 21st century education goals. These goals include the use of 21st century tools to:

--  Help students manage the challenge of graduation requirements and
    tight schedules;
--  Share more opportunities for advanced placement courses while
    providing access to highly qualified teachers; and
--  Offer professional development and support peer-to-peer learning for

In addition, the report provides insight into the numerous ways the featured districts gained value from adding online learning to their own spectrum of learning opportunities.

"Teachers collaborate with each other," said Michelle Gotico, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Poe Middle School, in Fairfax, Virginia. "There are so many resources on the site (the Blackboard platform); I would not be able to teach without it."

"In today's classroom, students are asking for options to help them succeed in school and in life," said Jessie Woolley-Wilson, Blackboard President of K-12. "Students and teachers alike deserve all of the learning options available to them -- whether they want to take an AP class or access a special professional development course. Blackboard is excited to partner with schools and districts to provide engaging learning technologies to make sure that all students and teachers have access to an engaging and excellent education."

The Blackboard-commissioned report, conducted by Project Tomorrow, the facilitator of the annual Speak Up surveys, was unveiled at the National School Boards Association annual T+L conference being held in Nashville, Tenn. October 17-19, 2007. The full report is available for download free of charge at

About Project Tomorrow and Speak Up

Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow (formerly known as NetDay), a national education nonprofit group. The vision of Project Tomorrow ( is to ensure that today's students are well prepared to be tomorrow's innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. Project Tomorrow believes that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century.

Since 2003, Speak Up has collected and reported on the authentic, unfiltered views from over 857,000 K-12 students, their teachers and parents representing over 10,000 schools in all 50 states through an annual online survey event held each fall. The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction, and the data is used regularly by education, business and policy leaders to inform federal, state and local education programs.

The 2007 Speak Up online surveys are open for input from K-12 students, teachers, parents and for the first time ever, school leaders, from October 15 through December 15, 2007. All US and Canadian public and private schools are invited to participate. More information about participating in Speak Up 2007 is available at

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry. Founded in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology. Millions of people use Blackboard everyday at academic institutions around the globe, including colleges, universities, K-12 schools and other education providers, as well as textbook publishers and student-focused merchants that serve education providers and their students. Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.


Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.™

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-Q filed on August 7, 2007 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of October 17, 2007. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to October 17, 2007.

Contact Information

  • Project Tomorrow
    Julie Evans
    949-609-4660 x15
    Email Contact

    Senior Manager, Public Relations at Blackboard:
    Melissa Chotiner
    Blackboard Inc.
    202-463-4860 ext. 2404
    Email Contact

    InfoTech Strategies:
    Carmen A. Harris
    Email Contact
    (425) 614-7064