“We start small, but we must start”
Classroom blogs offer students their own personal space to reflect on classroom practices, learning objectives, personal engagement, and a host of other topics.blogging_student voice
There are a variety of platforms for blogging such as:
Kidblog.org is education-friendly and has privacy measures specific to minors.
Outside of school, students have communities of friends and family with whom they exchange conversation and ideas on a daily basis. When they’re in school, they often retreat to their “circle of friends” without interacting with others.
The most obvious benefits of this clicker technology are:
Being able to provide immediate feedback when checking for understanding
Allowing the computer to grade each student (and import to your gradebook)
Tracking growth over time
Having constant student engagement in the lesson
More importantly, teachers and administrators can employ clicker technology to collect large numbers of student opinions and perceptions.
WEBCAMS/RECORDING: “CONFESSION BOOTHS”
The process is simple: Set up a webcam or regular video camera in a secluded corner of your room and allow students to take turns sharing their thoughts with you throughout a particular unit of study.At the end, have different groups of kids edit the footage using iMovie, Windows Media, or another editing tool and produce their own mini-documentary/confessional. The final products can be uploaded to SchoolTube as student voice projects.
When Andrew Brennen (national field director for Student Voice) sits down with students for a roundtable discussion, he leads with an open-ended question: What can you tell me about school that teachers and administrators don’t know?
Plenty. That was one clear takeaway from a student panel discussion at the recent ISTE 2016 conference in Denver, where thousands of adults gathered for professional learning. A handful of students, meanwhile, raised issues about bullying, drug use, discrimination toward LGBTQ youth, and dissatisfaction with lessons that have little connection to real life.For schools that want to facilitate their own student voice conversations, Brennen recommends having students take the lead. “The roundtable is not a place for adults,” he says.
How to Listen
To expand the conversation and help ideas cross-pollinate, Student Voice is conducting a national listening tour this year. Brennen, has facilitated discussions with students in diverse contexts from Philadelphia to Iowa to Kentucky. “Students are a huge, untapped resource to help reimagine a model of school that’s 100 years old,” Brennen says. “Questions about developing student agency and critical thinking are becoming more important.” Yet even schools that deliberately teach critical thinking, he adds, “teach students to think critically about everything at school except school itself.”
What happens after a listening session?
That depends on local context, but here are a few strategies to consider:
Storytelling: Share students’ stories across multiple platforms. Student Voice helps to amplify stories on social media and also partners with traditional media outlets to get stories to broad audiences.
Partnerships: Engage students as partners in school change efforts. That might mean students playing a role in professional development, serving on focus groups, occupying school board seats, or participating in hiring decisions.
Recognize Student Rights: To ensure that student voice goes beyond lip service, get your school involved in the Student Bill of Rights. This is an initiative started by Student Voice that asks students to vote on issues that matter to them, and then take action to ensure that their rights are being upheld.