Including student voices
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
Every once in a while I make a comment on someone else's blog that I also
wish was on my own. This is one of those occasions...
As my team of teachers and I reflected in the evenings and on
the plane ride on the way home [from NECC], we wondered: Where were the students? . . . .
overall, it was a bunch of adults talking about what's best for students. Now,
don't get me wrong, I think a bunch of adults talking about what's best for
students is a fine thing (it's what I spend most of my time doing, after all),
but I can't help but wonder how much more powerful it would be to have students
involved in these discussions as well.
I've generally been frustrated with student presentations at
conferences. Folks trot a few students out, pat them on their heads for being
there and sharing their voices, and then go back to doing whatever they were
doing beforehand, giving themselves self-congratulations along the way for
'including the students.' I haven't seen many impactful student presentations in
the sense that adults take the students SERIOUSLY and maybe actually change
their mindset / practice as a result (of course I haven't seen too many
adult-delivered presentations that do this either, but the level of
condescension isn't the same). So... I like the idea of including student voices
very much but would encourage some very creative thinking about how to do that
to best effect. I'm sure the Generation Yes folks, among others, would be glad
Anyone else feel this way? Or have I just been unlucky enough to go to a
bunch of bad student presentations?
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