Hāpara Certified Educators Jennifer Struebing and Lisa Harrison spoke with Larry Jacobs of Education Talk Radio to share how they use digital tools to raise student voice in their respective schools. Lisa is in California at Vista Unified School District, and Jennifer is in lIlinois at Maine 207 High School District. Listen to the full podcast here, or check out our summary below.
What does “student voice” mean?
Honoring student voice means instead of being the sage on the stage, teachers should be guides on the side, giving learners more freedom in the classroom.
Learners are used to being told what to do. Much of their day is dictated by teachers and other adults. This can quickly lead to feeling disengaged. When teachers honor student voice and give learners opportunities to make decisions about how they learn, it can empower them, making learning more fun and setting them up to become lifelong learners.
This doesn’t mean giving up full control of the classroom. As Lisa and Jen point out in the podcast, most learners wouldn’t choose to study every topic they need to know. What it does mean is giving learners options for how they learn and guiding them as they build knowledge and answer big questions. This helps learners to become self starters and to take initiative in their own learning journey.
Google Apps and Student Voice
Google Apps make it easier for teachers to focus on student voice. As learners manage their own knowledge building, teachers can easily jump in and provide guidance where it’s needed. In Google Docs and Sheets teachers can see what a learner is working on before they hand it in, allowing teachers to provide immediate feedback throughout the learning process. Google Forms can also be used as formative assessments, allowing teachers to collect feedback and make adjustments.
Hāpara and Student Voice
With Hāpara Workspace, teachers are able to add another layer on top of Google Apps that brings student voice to the forefront of instruction. Teachers are able to provide learners with a playlist of resources that they can use however they want. This gives learners choices in how the acquire new knowledge. Learners also like that they can add their own resources, which can lead to classroom discussions about why the resources they found may be better than what they were given, or how they add something new. With Workspace, learners become more confident in speaking out about what works for them.