Accessing Student Voice Through Flip Grid
By: Lindsey Palmer
The Movement:Similarly, with the advancements in digital technologies, traditional models of teaching and learning have been reshaped to fit today’s digital learners. Learners can now access information anywhere and can show their learning through a variety of multimedia platforms. Learners can now participate in online through global discussions on topics they wish to have their voices and opinions heard. The use of social media and social networking tools is making the world a much smaller place and educators must harness the student’s passion for different issues to access the required engagement for the classroom.
The student voice movement in education gained momentum quickly, moving worldwide faster than many anticipated. Inspired by the need for student engagement and student ownership, the movement seeks to strengthen the position of students within the school systems. The movement views students as valuable assets for input in education, providing teachers with ideas and opinions, which informs policy makers’ and teachers’ actions. Student voice is seen as a central component in the transformation of students’ experience within the education system and their aspirations as future contributors to society.
Students as Stakeholders and Agents of Change:
Students must be regarded as stakeholders and change agents. It is clear there are benefits in classroom management, school climate and culture, school restructuring, community connections, and student achievement when students are given autonomy over their own learning. Student voice is linked to young learners’ sense of agency which affects their growth, behavioural and social-emotional development. To encourage student engagement educators must change their mindsets about the learning process to consult with students as their adult allies and mentors. These adults must be attentive listeners as students find value and meaning when having purposeful conversations or educational debates with adults. The end goal of these conversations is to energise both the youth and adults together.
Planning a Student Voice Based School:
When thinking about setting up an inclusive learning environment that incorporates student voice within the school walls, educators need to promote a habit of consulting students on matters affecting their school directly. Information and issues are always more effective when students find it relevant directly to them and their community. Stimulation of productive adult and youth discourse and mutually respectful protocols for accessing student input need to be at the forefront of any student voice centred classroom. To have any meaningful effects in a school student voice protocols need to be inclusive, beginning with the premise that everyone belongs and their opinions are valued in the community. When schools are intentional about encouraging students to state their opinions and share their ideas it serves to motivate, improve school climates, and give educators valuable insights to better shape their work. Student voice needs to be woven throughout the daily fabric of the school and continue to reach after school through the programming, field trips, or events. The largest impact of student voice comes from the students being change makers themselves. Students should lead constructive action by asking questions, listening effectively and taking action to form a solution.
Implementing Student Voice:
According to Leaning Forward, educators must complete the following five steps when trying to implement student voice within the confines of their classroom walls: Bring all demographics of students, agree on a supported purpose, generate the correct questions, engage beside the youth in the problem solving approach, and make student’s opinions public (Cushman, 2019).
It is easy for educators to reach out to students who are always engaged in class; the high academic achievers, athletes, and students who speak up readily. However, it is important to consider all students opinions and encourage the students who seem apathetic or are alienated to have their voices heard. The use of student questionnaires, weekly reflective journals, drop in office hours with adult change makers like teachers or administrators, monthly staff or grade level meetings that students can attend to have their voices heard, a student blog or newspaper can be powerful tools to help all students feel they have been heard.
A Supported Purpose:
Students should be engaged in a questioning paradigm to learn how to formulate questions and research their interests. When students have a chance to learn from each other and find a problem that needs to be addressed within their school community, they become more engaged and take ownership over their own learning. Possible problems that could occur within the community are school safety, student expression, community mentorships, over crowded classes, access to technology of supports, access to health care or counselling, assessment policies, transportation or parking, quality of food or access to food etc. When looking at topic selection it is important to consider wording. Adults and students should identify the target area of concern, state it briefly as a statement rather than a question, and ensure their own bias is not involved in the statement.
Generating the Right Questions:
There are four basic rules to use when engaging learners in a questioning paradigm: Ask as many questions as you can, do not stop to discuss, judge or answer any questions, write down every question exactly as you stated it, and change any statement to a question (Rothstein & Santana, 2012). These rules free youth from the confines or fear of judgment to ask the questions that are really on their minds. This framework allows all questions to receive the same respect and still requires the process to encourage intellectual discipline.
To Walk Beside:
It is important for adults to engage beside the youth as they formulate ideas, opinions and solutions to problems. As students research and develop new ideas they are engaging with new content knowledge and students will acquire critical thinking skills that will serve well in the future. Of course, students may generate ideas that adults may inherently disagree with or find it difficult to hear. It is important that adults take a step back and try to view opinions or problems as a chance for students to undergo problem-solving in an appropriate way: through a process that is multidimensional, dynamic and open-ended.
Make Opinions Public:
Ways video can improve student voice:
One way of engaging the “shy students” is through the use of video recording technology. Video aided self-reflection, advocation, and journaling can help those students be comfortable showing their knowledge and passions. “In 2006, students in a leadership class at a high school in Boston had an idea for a video project. They had noticed that their peers in nearby suburban schools had more interesting classes and a far better record of going on to college. They proposed to go into those schools and interview students and teachers to find out why. The 12-minute video they produced has now been used many hundreds of times by schools around the country,” (Cushman, 2019).
Make Opinions Public: Video Recording through Flip Grid:FlipGrid is a new web based platform that is a powerful tool for sharing student voice. It can be used in a variety of ways to engage students as online collaborators and change makers. Students take short video clips of themselves and respond to short discussion prompts. The “grid” can be set up as an open forum for discussion or a closed forum for students to post their personal thoughts. As FlipGrid continues to catch steam, more and more improvements are being made to incorporate the Global Competencies. Students can now engage on #GridPals or #FlipExplorer series or use #FlipAr to post videos to their personal products.
Below find an informative infographic on some useful tools for using FlipGrid in education:
References:Capacity Building Series. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/CBS_StudentVoice.pdf
Cook-Sather, A. (2006). Sound, presence, and power: ‘‘Student Voice’’ in educational research and reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(4), 359–390.
Cushman, K. (2019). Retrieved from https://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/pdf/pd_chapter1.pdf
Fabienne M. van der Kleij, Comparison of teacher and student perceptions of formative assessment feedback practices and association with individual student characteristics, Teaching and Teacher Education, 10.1016/j.tate.2019.06.010, 85, (175-189), (2019).
Fielding, M. (2001). Students as radical agents of change. Journal of Educational Change, 2(2), 123–141.
Lucas Walsh, Rosalyn Black, David Zyngier and Venesser Fernandes, Harnessing student voice and leadership: a study of one Australian Indigenous leadership program, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 10.1080/14681366.2018.1502205, (1-19), (2018).
Lieber, C.M. (2009). Making learning REAL: Reaching and engaging all learners in secondary classrooms. Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility
Toshalis, E. & Nakkula, M.J. (2012). Motivation, engagement, and student voice. In the Students at the center series. Boston, MA: Jobs for the Future.