Increasing Student Voice

Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to present to administrators at Thames Valley's annual tech conference iCon12.  I offered to present on the topic of increasing student engagement and voice through video announcements.  Although I knew about video announcements I didn't pursue it for our school until one of our teachers came back from a PD session and thought it would be a great project.  So together we did a bit of research and costing for the project and put the plan into action.  We were able to fund the project from 4 areas:  School budget, District based ICT funds, a Home & School donation and a "Speak Up" grant from the Ministry of Education.  If you are interested in doing something similar at your school here are a few questions to consider.

    • How will you fund the project?


    • Do you have a space that could act as your "studio"


    • Will your announcements stream live or be recorded and stored for viewing at convenient times?


    • If you plan on streaming live, when will they occur?


    • What software will you use?


    • How will you select students to be your presenters?


    • Who will be the champion of the project?


    • Who will act as your technical support crew?


    • What will be your backup plan in case of technical difficulties?


    • How do you get staff on board?


    • What do classrooms need to support video announcements?


    • What will the succession plan be for students running the announcements?


    • Will your project simply be video announcements or will it lead to other curriculum areas, enhancing student voice?

The last question, in my opinion, is the most important.  At Tweedsmuir we have developed a 3 stage continuum.

    1. Using video announcements as a starting point with the goal of increasing student voice.  This provides the students with the opportunity to increase their oral communication skills and to get familiar with the technology.


    1. The next step is to have students plan and write small pieces that can be integrated into the video announcements.  Some examples are interviews, public service announcements or promotional skits.


    1. Students integrate the use of video into projects and assignments across the curriculum.

There will be bumps along the road with procedures and the technology, but don't give up.  You will see students more engaged and excited.  You will see students creativity and problem-solving skills develop.  And ultimately, as you move along the continuum Student Voice will be evident.

What software and hardware you should use are very important questions that I will write about in my next post.  If you have any questions outside of software and hardware ask away.  I would be happy to answer them.

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