In recent years, student voice and agency has become an integral part of teaching and learning. Placing students at the centre of their own learning and encouraging them to take ownership of their learning can prove difficult initially. Having said that, student voice and input into their learning can not only increase student engagement and interest, but can also provide a scaffold for students to develop their own individual learning pathways.
This blog will discuss two useful techniques on how to encourage student voice in lessons, and to help amplify that voice!
Graphic Organisers (via Jamboard)
The use of graphic organisers is not a new teaching and learning strategy. They can be used for a wide variety of activities, such as summarising concepts and providing feedback to feed forward to name but a few.
In the example below, a simple Jamboard was created to evaulate what students have learned about a particular topic, and determining the steps moving forward in their learning. By doing this, students can create digital “sticky notes” and add to the Jamboard. This is a simple but very effective technique as it not only encourages students to discuss concepts that they have learned, but it provides a scaffold for future learning opportunities in which the students are deciding what they would like to learn more about.
Flipgrid is an online platform in which students can submit video responses to questions, discussions and topics! It’s aim is to “empower student voice” by allowing students to submit video responses. These responses can be public to all classmates, or set as private for viewing by the teacher only. This helps to amplifying student voice for all students as some may not want to engage fully in the physical classroom or share their views and opinions. It can also be useful for class debates and discussions.
In my experience, Flipgrid can be a positive experience for students. Its use for Classroom Based Asssessments in Junior Cycle Science proved extremely beneficially. As part of the CBA, all students were required to conduct an experiment of their choice. This can prove difficult as teachers have may have large class groups and so monitoring of all experiments can prove challenging. Allowing students access to Flipgrid to record their experiments was very effective as it not only allowed the teacher to engage with all the videos, but it provided a platform for students to demonstrate their experiments.
See the video below to learn more about Flipgrid:
Both graphic organisers (via Jamboard) and Flipgrid are only suggested ideas on how to encourage and amplify student voice. There are many others, but you may find these beneficial.
Within the school environment, the introduction of face masks, social distancing and screens can sometimes be seen as a barrier to student voice in a physical classroom. But there are alternative methods digitally that can help amplify their voices so they can have an input in their learning journey!