Empowering Students to Have Voices #K12online13

The K12 Online Conference Opening Pre-Keynote by Shannon McClintock Miller, librarian and technology specialist, encourages educators to give students a voice. Shannon models this by having Meridan, a 4th grader, copresent.

Shannon feels that we can make a difference and transform education by asking our students to share what they want from teachers. We need to spend more time listening. She used a survey to ask students all over the world what they want out of their education. Themes that came out as a result of this survey include:

  • Let us have a Voice and be Connected: Connect with learners (students, classrooms, authors) all over the world via Skype, Twitter, Instagram, and Kidblog. This tells students they are important and valued. Provides a means for them to be “with their people.”
  • Let us Collaborate: Work with peers in class, as well as connect with classrooms in other schools via Skype, Kidblog, Google Hangout, Edmodo, and Twitter.
  • Let us Create:  Projects may be something that benefit the community or tied to an event. Share projects via Instagram. Creation tools mentioned include: Educreations, Google Presentation, FlipSnack, TextPaint, Haiku Deck, MindCraft, and Sparkbooth. Work is curated into student portfolios. It is important to have opportunities and tools to be creative when they are inspired.
  • Let us have Experiences: Through clubs and events students have experiences: photo club, book club, poetry summit, digital games/apps development, etc. Invite people from the community in to teach or connect with experts outside of the community. Tools mentioned include: Flickr, Google Hangout, Edmodo, and Skype.
  • Let us Teach: Students create video tutorials. Empower students to be teachers at home and share with parents so that they see what the students are doing at school.
  • Let us have Access: Students need access to tools, Internet, and resources: ebooks, apps, databases, ipads, iPod Touch, etc. Tools mentioned include: Google Drive and Remind101.
  • Let us Create our Space: “We can be noisy and make a mess in this library.” Used QRCodes, Symbaloo, and Google Sites to make resources available outside of the library. Students have created “spaces” within the library to serve various purposes, for example, a book swap closet.
  • Let us have Choices: Choose the space to work in, or choose or create a club based on their interests.
  • Let us make a Difference: Inspire students to do things outside of school to help others. For example, their Dreams to Life group raised funds for another school to buy technology.

I was am by the Iowa Student Learning Institute, a conference organized by students, that Shannon mentions in her presentation. This would certainly be a vehicle to empower kids to have voices to transform their learning. I wonder what this would like like at our High School. What would our students choose for presentation topics?

Thank you Shannon, for taking the time to share your survey results, ideas, and what you are doing at your school. There are some exciting and powerful learning opportunities occurring at your school. I’m excited to see the upcoming K12Online Conference presentations for this week. This is always a great source of professional learning for me each year. The fact this it is all free and available 24/7 is remarkable.



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