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Empowering Students

When surveyed, students say that the most important aspect of a positive school experience is having teachers who care about them. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Are classroom activities of interest to students? Are there tools available to students to access current content? When the Arab Spring erupted, students in the Yarmouth Schools had many questions. Teachers were able to help them find valid and real information online. Class discussions were held using Google Docs and face to face. An opportunity to work with a class in Egypt was available later so that students could ask questions. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Class activities should be differentiated for each learner. Structure digital tasks so that all learners can demonstrate their learning in the best way for them. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Do students have a choice about how or what they will learn? Students who choose their own topics are more engaged in the process of learning. Choosing their own tool to show their mastery of learning leads to problem solving and creativity. Not all students feel comfortable standing and presenting. Are there options for creating a video, animation or some other form of presentation? 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Are digital activities designed so that they are publicly available? When work is created for a public venue, it is affirming. When students know that their work will be viewed by peers and family members, quality matters. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Are you learning with your students? Admitting what you don’t know? Are you asking your students for their opinions? Seeing teachers and administrators as lifelong learners is a powerful way for students to see that education is valuable.

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Students have valuable opinions about what will and will not work in the classroom. They take pride in being asked their opinion and are terrific at one-on-one tutoring for a teacher during a class. They can solve the little problems quickly when the teacher gets stuck. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

It is always powerful to hear students talk about their learning. When we give workshops at other schools, we often Skype in our students. Students have presented at other schools and for professional associations. When we have visitors to our schools, students lead the tours. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Are your students part of the process of imaging and distributing hardware? Students at Yarmouth High School do a great job as Help Desk assistants. They are also helpful when it comes to quick tech tips, such a fixing the projector or printer that won’t work in the classroom. Students can also help set the tone for how the hardware will be used. 

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

Do students have a say in how their schools are run? When student representatives are on the School Board, a clear message is sent to the Student Body that they have elected someone who will represent them. An elected Student Senate can work on proposals for school improvement such as new courses or guidelines around technology use.

Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

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