What is student voice? Why does it matter?
Student voice is generally defined as students having input on their educational experiences (Robinson & Taylor, 2007).
This can be as broad as school site policy reform and teacher evaluation or as narrow as simply involving students as partners when planning educational experiences. When students have a role in planning educational activities, their investment, ownership, and learning greatly increase (Flutter & Rudduck, 2006; Grace, 1999).
Student voice can positively impact classrooms, teachers, schools, districts, and learners (Fletcher, 2015).
Collecting student voice
Student voice is more than just listening (Fletcher, 2015). It involves giving students real opportunities to design their own learning experiences and releasing some of the instructional control. Research shows students learn better when engaged in the educational process. But how do you collect student input in an organized fashion?
- You can create a questionnaire that seeks their input or feedback. Learn more about using Google Forms to create a survey or questionnaire.
- Students can collaborate on a document to create a brainstorm of ideas, and you can look at Version History to see who contributed what. Learn more about Version History.
- Google Docs is largely text-centric, so it's good for writing sentences or explaining rationales. Learn more about the basics of Google Docs.
- Google Slides can be helpful in this instance if you give each person a slide as their own space. It is a space to put text, images, links, and embedded videos, and it combines everyone's input into one place while still offering separate spaces for individuals. Learn more about Google Slides.
- Google's Jamboard is a collaborative whiteboard where all editors can contribute. Although originally designed as hardware, the Jamboard app is now part of G Suite's core apps. Web browsers can create and access "jams" but have limited editing options. However, the mobile apps, which you can download for both iOS and Android devices, offer many more features and tools, which students could work on together. You can also download the Android app on Chromebooks. To learn more, watch a video about what Jamboard can do.
- Chrome has a sketching tool called Chrome Canvas, which can also be used to capture students' ideas and thoughts. You can learn more by watching this video about Chrome Canvas.
Empathy is about being able to understand someone else's perspective and feelings. One of the only ways to do this is to get to know your students so that you can understand what motivates and empowers them.
- Storytelling is a great way to learn more about your students' experiences, values, and lives. Consider having students create an eBook to tell a personal story in Google Slides and then share their eBook with their classmates or with the community. Learn the basics of Google Slides.
- Use Google Drawings to have students create a digital poster to be shared with others around a key theme or value. Learn what you can do with Google Drawings.
- For more ideas, check out ISTE's suggestions for 8 ways to empower student voice.