Creating Spaces for Student Voices


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Keynote presentation at ICT in Education Conference, LIT Thurles, 11th May 2013.
Related blog post:

Thanks to students of CT231 (NUI Galway), CCC Media (Chalfonts Community College) and Ms. O'Keeffe's 5th class (Kinvara primary school) for their contributions to this presentation.

CC license as noted below, with the exception of slides 24, 26, 28 & 29: CC BY-NC-SA Media @CCC

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  • In my opionion, Our Voice is:Who we areWhere we’re fromWhere we’ve beenWhat we valueWho we are in the worldSo when we invite student voice, we’re inviting all that!We must be open to that, open to others, & be prepared to share ourselves.I believe that the risks of NOT doing this work are much greater than the risks of doing it. That’s what I’d like to explore this morning.
  • Thank you. Such a pleasure to be here this morning in a roomful of many of the educators I most admire –
  • Usually rigid boundaries between education sectors.This means that only students get the “whole student” perspective... not educators!At #ictedu, educators across all levels of education Connect, Share and Learn.Serves the needs of our students better.We discuss assessment, educational technologies, student voice, etc.
  • Last year, here at ICTEdu, Pam Moran and Ira Socol were here helping us to imagine Learning Spaces… what changes could we make to enable student voice, change in power dynamics?
  • This conference is a powerful event. Not just because it is a cross-section of education, but because it is educators who have gathered here, willing to ask the difficult questions: How can I do better?What can I do to further enable students voices... To be heard To be listened to To be respected To contribute to their learning, our learning, and others’ learning. Schools have evolved over the course of 2 centuries without listening to student voices.Henry Giroux wrote this in 1992, 20 years ago… Is it still true today?
  • ASK – what do you think, what do students think, when did STUDENT VOICE enter the lexicon of educational reform efforts and educational research?LISTEN – to studentsMAKE SPACES – how can we make spaces for student voicesREFLECT for future
  • I’ll ask you the first Q: please talk with the person next to you (or near you):A positive learning experience from school – something that has stayed with you over the years. (2 MINUTES)
  • Early 1990s... educators and social critics (like Kozol) noted exclusion of student voices from conversations about Learning, Teaching & Schooling –in educational research and reform.US, Canada, UK, Australia... Challenging dominant images of students as silent, passive recipients of what Others define as Education. Late 1990s/early 21C...Many educational research & reform efforts encompass Student Voice.
  • SOUND – voice implies time for speakingPARTICIPATION – presence & involvementPOWER – “In the acoustic of the school, whose voice gets listened to?” (Arnot)  Making space for Student Voices confronts the power dynamics. CRITIQUES:Dange of indulgence, Patronising student voiceVOICES not VOICE (the singular essentializes student experience)Having a voice = Understood in terms of relationshipStudents feel RESPECTED and ENGAGEDTeachers & students learn from one another (Students respected as Knowers and Actors)Adults must LISTEN – RESPECT – LEARN
  • 20 years later… students are still feeling silenced in schools. US High School sophomore, age 15.
  • I have some examples of student voices to share with you in this presentation, but all were mediated either through teachers or in classrooms. I wondered if I could just ask students…How do you like to learn? If you could change anything about school, what would it be?Fortunately, I know a young filmmaker – Colm Keady-Tabbal -- who offered to make a short film. This is available just for the conference, not a link to be shared publicly. The students were willing to be recorded to be shared with you here today. Please feel free to tweet or write about this, however… it’s simply that the filmmaker wants to respect the wishes of the film’s participants that this film be shared just in connection with this event. He and I would love your feedback afterwards.
  • Maire O’Keeffe and her 5th class were placed in the school computer lab for the first 2 months of this year.Maire decided to make an asset of this, she started tweeting last summer and her class started blogging in September. They’ve been learning Scratch and are some of the most excited advocates of Kinvara’s new Coder Dojo.
  • 100WC2012 – Julia Skinner @theheadsoffice invited Irish teachers to join the 100 Word Challenge, where students receive a challenge each week to write 100 words… it can be an image, a series of 5 words, anything.Students write and receive feedback.
  • I have visted Maire’s class twice this year… as a witness more than anything.
  • I created this Wordle of the blog posts and reflected this back to the students. Different – Blog – Like – Now – World – Twitter - VoiceOne boy wants to be a mechanic.Maire’s class will visit NUI Galway, because I think it’s important for 3rd level staff and students to know what primary school children are doing – our future students!
  • Another class I have liaised with this year has been James Michie’s class at Chalmsfort Community College in the UKJames & I connected on Twitter, particularly over some work I shared about my tenets of teaching, which I’ll share in a moment. James has a very similar approach & focuses on developing digital literacies with his students in MEDIA and his new mooc #crit101. I encourage you to check out James’s work and his blog.
  • After publishing some of my own work on Digital Literacies & presenting at PELeCON recently, James asked if I would be willing to Skype in to his class to discuss Digital Literacies… and I asked the students their view on Student Voice and how their learning has transformed through blogging, Twitter, independent learning and dialogic learning with James.
  • Almost a year ago, I defined my teaching like this... This is based on many years experience, and related educational research – valuing critical pedagogy, constructivism. Feminist critiques. First at a conference (EdTech13) and then with my students.It sounds good... it is genuine. BUT – every year that I teach, I realise how deeply scripted I am, our culture is, in Teacher as central, as controlling.... pace, curricula, technology, everything. The more I move away from that, the more I learn, and the more I try to strip away.Every year, my students teach me. I strip away another layer and reveal new ways to learn and to empower students.
  • We agreed to use Twitter as a tool throughout the course… have used G+ in the past, but there were some issues with that.Use a class Twitter account and hashtag. Invokes digital identity immediately!Must discuss and explore first... privacy, identity in online spaces, etc. Who am I on Google? Who am I here? In this class? Who is the audience?
  • DI = online personaThis photos captures some of the ambivalence that many of us feel about our digital identities. Many students already have a confidence social digital identity, but developing an identitiy as a learner, a writer, a scholar, a citizen…. these are the essential tasks of us as educators. In the classroom and online, together.
  • This is the time that I grew up, in the Bronx in NYC.It was a time of great social upheaval and great social idealism as well.Some of my earliest memories are these... the terrible summer of 1968 when MLK Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. These were events that were real to children, talked about at the dinner table at home, talked about in school, talked about in the playground with our friends.In that environment, I had one of my most positive learning experiences in primary school, learning about the US Constitution. In addition to the awful task of learning and memorising all of the amendments, our young teacher told us we could write our own Constitution, for the class.Could we eat sweets (candy), we asked?And there was a moment – which as an educator, I now understand, was the critical moment. Our teacher could have spoken from the script, from his past, from the school rule book and said NO. But he didn’t. He said we could write our own rights and freedoms, but we would have to discuss the responsibilities as well.
  • Transforming education in such a way is a scary proposition. It won’t be quick, it won’t be easy, and it may not be immediately successful. However, the current model is even more frightening than this kind of change. We can’t continue to let the gap between school and life grow ever wider and crush students’ desire to learn. I hope that you join me in this fight for fundamental redesign of school.
  • Final quote from KF and NS...
  • Openness… open to challenging our past experiences, our current limitations (schools, curriculum, exams)As Ken Robinson has said: “To the students in your classroom – YOU are the education system.”What doors can you open?
  • We must walk into these new spaces with our students. There are risks.But the risks of not engaging with our students to build those bridges are far greater than the risks of trying something new.In a beautiful article in the Irish Times two months ago, Colm McCann used the metaphor of the bridge….The challenge is clear:No matter who or where we happen to be… we have to build our half of the bridge.
  • Creating Spaces for Student Voices

    1. 1. CCBY-NC2.0bitziCreating Spaces for Student VoicesCatherine Cronin • @catherinecronin • #ictedu • 11/05/13
    2. 2.
    3. 3. #ICTedu#edchatIE#CESI#CESImeetImages:CCBYPamMoran;IrishTypepad;cicronin
    4. 4. Image CC BY-NC 2.0 torresk
    5. 5. Most students have beensilenced all their lives.Henry A. Giroux
    6. 6. listenmakespacesaskStudent Voicesreflect
    7. 7. listenmakespacesaskStudent Voicesreflect
    8. 8. The voices of children have beenmissing from the whole discussion.Jonathan Kozol (1992)Savage InequalitiesImage CC BY-SA 2.0 maureen_sill
    9. 9. Image CC BY-SA 2.0 marfis75soundpresenceparticipationpoweragency
    10. 10. listenmakespacesaskStudent Voicesreflect
    11. 11. After returning inspired andready to change the world...I realized that apparently myjob is to shut up and studyhard.Jack Hostager
    12. 12. let’s created by student filmmaker Colm Keady-Tabbalwas shared at the conference
    13. 13. let’s keep listening...the following examples of student voice wereshared by primary, secondary & 3rd level studentswho are actively sharing their student voices
    14. 14. PRIMARY@msokeeffesclassSECONDARY#CCCmedia@jamesmichieTHIRD LEVEL#ct231 @CT231Images:CCBYPamMoran;IrishTypepad;cicroninStudentVoices
    15. 15. listenmakespacesaskStudent Voicesreflect
    16. 16. PRIMARY@msokeeffesclassSECONDARY#CCCmedia@jamesmichieTHIRD LEVEL#ct231 @CT231Images:CCBYPamMoran;IrishTypepad;cicronin
    17. 17. Primary school – 5th class @msokeefesclass
    18. 18. Secondary school – Media module #CCCMedia@jamesmichie
    19. 19.
    20. 20. Secondary school – Media module #CCCMedia
    21. 21. 2nd year module, BSc Computer Science & IT
    22. 22. openness • social media • student voice/choice3 tenets of my teaching
    23. 23. openness • social media • student voice/choiceAIM:choose opennesswhere possible & where appropriateUSECREATESHAREopen resourcescreate to share, CC-licensedopenly, including my/our own learning
    24. 24. openness • social media • student voice/choiceAIM:enable connection and learningacross the (artificial) boundariesof time and spaceTIME... class time, term time, academic yearSPACE... classrooms, schools, countries# hashtags connect across time and space
    25. 25. openness • social media • student voice/choiceAIM:use as many opportunities as possiblefor students to Create & to ChooseTOPICSMEDIA RUBRICSASSESSMENTTOOLS TEAMS
    26. 26. Course blog:
    27. 27. Twitter@CT231
    28. 28. ImageCCBY-NC-ND2.0FredericPoirotdigital identity
    29. 29. #icollab
    30. 30. listenmakespacesaskStudent Voicesreflect
    31. 31. Image CC Burns Library, Boston College (Flickr)
    32. 32. CommunicatingCreating (writing, coding, making)ChoosingWorking with othersUsing social mediaConnecting with a global audienceBeing heard and respectedReceiving authentic feedbackDoing/creating something new, for this timeChanging the status quo
    33. 33. Learners need to practice and experiment withdifferent ways of enacting their identities, and adoptsubject positions through different socialtechnologies and media.These opportunities can only be supported byacademic staff who are themselves engaged indigital practices and questioning their ownrelationship with knowledge.- Keri Facer & Neil Selwyn (2010)
    34. 34. Image CC BY-SA 2.0 cogdog
    35. 35. CCBY-NC2.0Idrose
    36. 36. Thank you!Catherine CC BY 2.0 visualpanic