What is something that every learner has in common, from EYFS to Tertiary Education? Apart from the fact that they are on a never-ending journey of discovery and learning, the common thread is that they have a voice and they need to use it!
Now, I don’t mean a loud voice, quiet voice and so on – we know that not all voices are made equal! But what I mean is STUDENT voice. The voice of their knowledge, the voice of their curiosity – in essence, the voice of their THINKING.
There are many ways that learners express this voice. Some love to write, some like to discuss and debate, others are visual and prefer to display their learning through artworks or photography while others create masterpieces of music or drama.
As educators, we can provide our learners with different platforms for each of these different styles of expression. I find that the best way for my students to express themselves when they are speakers is to find ways to speak! Technology has been kind to us with this with the invention of voki, vocaroo and voicethread, as well as Garageband, iMovie and podcasting. For students who wish to perform dramatically there is always iMovie, using iPods or iPads to film themselves and post their movies.
For learners with a passion for writing, there is blogging, quadblogging and a range of on and offline tools such as ComicLife, KidPix and Kidspiration (and many, many more online tools!) My writers need an audience and a response so they love to blog and read the comments from others. Instant feedback for their voice!
Those who are creators of art and photography have the use of digital cameras, iPods and iPads with which to create a masterpiece of still shots. Artistic children seem to enjoy Sketch Up and a variety of art apps on the iPads. The choice is almost limitless now!
Give your students’ work, learning and thinking a voice – they do not all speak or sound the same, but their voices are all as important as one another.