Technology in education is not student voice. Using tech in schools is not student voice. In no way, shape or form does student voice require tech. When it comes to student voice, BYOD, 1:1, tablets, smartphones, labs, carts, texting, social media are OPTIONS, not requirements.

There’s a myth being sold by some ed tech companies today that using their specific kind of tech, their unique product, or their proprietary program. That’s simply not true.

Student voice does not belong to any one company, nonprofit, approach or activity. This is as true for ed tech as it is for curriculum writers, test writers, policymakers, or anyone else. Just like there can’t be a student voice robot that speaks for students, there can’t be a single technology, innovation or activity that wholesales student expression.

This is true for many reasons, but perhaps the elemental reason is the very definition of student voice. Student voice is any expression of any student about anything related to education and learning. People don’t like that definition because it doesn’t meet their particular desire for students.

From my own experience working with a variety of partners in ed tech, I have found a few who are earnestly committed to engaging student voice throughout education.

However, a large number of ed tech professionals are more committed to selling product and making schools do what they want them to than they are to student voice. VERY few people today are earnestly committed to student voice.

I am not a Luddite or anti-tech, largely because I’m committed to authentic student engagement. Tech can authentically engage students. However, tech is not student voice; there’s a difference.

 


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Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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