- Technology can be used to increase student ownership of the learning experience and encourage responsibility, independence and collaboration, Ivan Zeitlin, a 4th grade teacher at Shiloh Point Elementary in Cumming, Georgia, shares in an eSchool News article.
- Zeitlin’s school uses a learning management system called “itslearning,” which allows the student and the teacher to track learning progress and use social discussion pages to share ideas and illustrate their knowledge. Sites like Kahoot allow students to create their own reviews and study guides.
- The use of technology in a personalized learning environment encourages normally shy students to participate more fully and helps prepare all students for colleges and careers, he writes.
There are several reasons for giving students more voice in their own education. Having more choice allows a student to feel more engaged in the educational process. It also makes education more relevant and teaches them to see education more as a way to find the answers they seek than as a task that must be endured. Education becomes more personalized, more learner-centered and schools adapt to fit student needs as much as possible in an environment where student needs vary.
There are many ways to include student voice in the classroom, though these ways may vary depending on grade level and the level of use of technology in schools. The incorporation of student voice is particularly important at the secondary level because it makes high school more meaningful and allows students to learn more about themselves and their goals for the future. Some schools are even using Twitter chats as a way to boost student voice.
Increasing student voice, however, doesn't mean teachers are giving up their responsibility over the classroom. Teachers still need to guide students to the knowledge they need. Finding the right balance requires support from the administration. As Alex Magana noted on the Courageous Principals blog, “You can only get to student voice and choice if teachers are provided the resources, professional development and autonomy of guiding their students.”