Whose voice are you hearing most in your classroom? Is it yours? It’s an easy slippery slope to slide down. Even in our classrooms where we are doing an excellent job with student voice, which students are we hearing? Is it all students, or only the fastest?
In my first year teaching, giving wait time was something that I struggled with. The pressure of getting through what I needed to cover led me down a path of expediency, moving quickly to get responses from the group. I understood the importance of wait time, but the silence could be awkward and painful. Even when I gave enough wait to time to hear from students who were not the fastest to respond, I was still only hearing from a fraction, maybe a little more than half the class at best. Sure, more student voice was being heard than the first few that usually shot hands up, but consistently hearing from all of my students was something that could only be done in one on one conferencing and conversations or through exit tickets and other written communication.
Now, these are obviously valuable, but they are not the most immediate or efficient. However, using technology can make all of those voices heard. Using in-class polling tools like Socrative, Forms, questions in Google Classroom or others can gather responses from every student. This information can be valuable to reach students for their specific needs.
Not only does gathering responses like this give us a look at the full class, it also empowers our students to make their voice heard. We can give students who may be intimidated or otherwise not ready to share the expectation that they will be heard. The expectation that they will contribute every day and that their voice will be valued.
How can your students use technology to ensure their voice is heard? Make sure that you are giving them the megaphone.