Student Voice: Gen Z Speaks Out
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Advocating for student voice has never been so easy. As classrooms transformed their teaching and learning methodologies during this past year of hybrid learning, opportunities for student voice has exploded through the use of technology and multiple media sources.
The benefit of an infused digital media curriculum is the ability to provide a true student-centered classroom based on choice and voice. Students are provided a platform for building their communication skills, expressing thoughts and ideas, and integrating authentic global audiences via audio and video modalities.
Encouraging and supporting student voice through media in the classroom also provides students with practice in time-management, prioritizing, reliability, and the responsibility of following through on tasks. Students become independent users of technology and responsible contributing members of their school and community.
Scripted Radio is proud to support our youth, through a weekly radio show, “Student Showcase.” Each week, students from around the country discuss their views and opinions on student voice in the classroom. The Student Showcase airs on Thursdays at 4 and 8 o’clock pm EST on Scripted Radio. (Scripted Radio) The Student Showcase podcasts are also available on iTunes Podcasts under Scripted Conversation.
Scripted Radio is part of the Backbone Radio Network. Backbone Radio has created a K-12 Student-Radio Media Project, aimed at helping schools of all levels develop productive, fun, and professional-sounding student-run Internet radio stations for the benefit of students, families, alumni, and the schools themselves.
The following students have been guests on the Scripted Radio “Student Showcase.” These full episodes are available through iTunes Podcasts under Scripted Conversation and on Scripted Radio. (Each of the following students were asked about their views on the importance of student voice for this article.)
Submitted by Cooper VanDriessche
Riley High School
South Bend, Indiana
“In our society today, it is so imperative that students are able to have a voice. We have gotten so used to throwing out students' ideas because they don't have enough "life experience" to be able to contribute a good idea. With an ever-changing learning environment, students are now showing that their voice is important and that they can contribute to the conversation in major ways. For this reason, student voice is so important because it allows us to see an issue in a different light. We are now seeing young adults start to become advocates for things they believe in, which shows how much power students have when they all work together to show they are important and their ideas do matter.”
Submitted by Harlie Mast
Plymouth High School
“Social media has never been more prominent than it is today, and understanding and utilizing it is even more critical for the youth. Technology has become the primary means of not only obtaining information but creating communication, especially during the pandemic. For students, having a voice in this transition is more than just inclusion, it is offering something that no other generation has ever experienced. The student voice represents the collective thoughts, feelings, and individuality of not only the student body but how this generation is evolving with the pandemic and new technology.
Personally, I started using technology at a young age, and now I can easily adapt to this digital age; it has offered me opportunities and taught me skills that I will need for the rest of my life. Experiencing it growing up has led to me having a passion for technology, and I plan to study communications in college. As a collective, we are going through widespread isolation. Technology offers the ability to connect and form networks, not only with each other but with those who were out of reach before. The capabilities of social media and technology is exponential, bringing awareness is vital to ensure that this generation is equipped with the tools to properly and safely access the resources around us.”
Submitted by Jasmine Antonucci
Manchester High School
“Every student has an amazing voice and capability to create and innovate, but it is up to the schools to expose students to these opportunities through media. A lot of students don't know they have the capability to innovate and use their voices in school and outside of school; media work like editing on Wevideo and using technology in groups helps build confidence, teamwork, and leadership. When I started GearHeads four years ago at Illing Middle School, my students were quiet and not very comfortable sharing their awesome ideas. After a few weeks, they were super excited to come in; they became louder and worked in groups discussing and turning their inventions into real life. This was all through the use of media like LittleBits, which introduced them to circuits and Wevideo, editing, and speaking on screen! It is crazy how much media can change students and make them feel more confident in their ideas and voices. Not only that, but they are having fun while learning and interacting more than in the classroom!”
Submitted by Nancy Garcia Pena
Plymouth High School
“Student voices in the classroom allow students to feel like they matter and encourages the school to listen to their ideas. Every school wants to offer opportunities to their students, and by listening to what they have to say, schools will be able to offer them opportunities that interest them. It is thanks to student voices that classrooms are able to engage in intelligent conversations and form connections with their peers and teachers.”
Encouraging and supporting student voice through media in the classroom provides an exciting and engaging medium for students to develop their communication skills, build confidence and discuss the issues that are important to them within a classroom, studio, or virtual setting. Students are able to express their views in a safe environment, which will promote inclusion and the school community.
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