Amplifying Student Voice

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The following is a guest blog post by Rachelle Dene Poth. Rachelle is an experienced teacher of French, Spanish and STEAM at Riverview Junior Senior High School n Oakmont, PA. Additionally, Rachelle is also an attorney and earned her Juris Doctor Degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Duquesne.

In addition to her teaching duties, Rachelle serves as the Communication Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, a Member at Large for Games & Sims, the Innovation Resources Co-Chair for the Teacher Education Network and PAECT Historian. Her connected educator work has led her to various roles such as being a  Common Sense Media EdTech Mentor, Amazon Inspire Educator and Edmodo Certified Teacher to name just a few.

There has been a great movement toward providing more personalization for students in classrooms today. ​This focus towards more personalization is a result of changes in instructional strategies, research studies, data and perhaps, what I hope to be part of the catalyst for this, is student voice. Providing more learning opportunities which create authentic ways for students to amplify their learning, to connect with the content in a more meaningful ways and to have a choices in how to apply their learning, are goals which educators should set for their classrooms today. In order to give students opportunities for being creatively engaged in their learning, I am passionate about being informed about helpful classroom tools like Buncee. The reasons why I want to keep informed and provide opportunities using tools such as Buncee is to give students that chance to be creative and more engaged in learning.

Promoting student voice in the classroom has become a more common practice through the availability of technology and the integration of digital tools.  In my own classroom, I have sought to open up more ways for students to find what they need, in order  to create, communicate, collaborate and to think critically about the work they are doing. How can they best apply their learning? How do they want to show what they know and can do? In order to give students more opportunities for being creatively engaged in their learning, I am passionate about staying informed about helpful digital classroom tools like Buncee.

When I first tried Buncee, I began by checking out some of the Buncees available and I was instantly drawn in by the diverse creations.I really enjoy having choices. Personally, I want(ed?) to explore and start creating right away on my own. I was so excited by seeing the variety of choices available, and recognized how beneficial Buncee would be for creating a multimedia presentation. This could be accomplished without the need for different tools to include audio, video and more, as I had been doing before in my classroom. The greatest part of exploring the diverse options available was that I knew that each student would be able to create something unique, authentic and meaningful to them using all of the options available within Buncee.

As I looked through the gallery, I was thinking about past projects I had done with my classes, and how this tool could be used for so many of those, and be a lot more engaging for the students. By using Buncee, student experiences would be more personalized and lead to greater learning potential. Besides this, students would be engaged and have fun in creating something that represented them and their interests.

The Four C’s: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.

Students need to develop 21st century skills. Finding ways to engage students in learning, to increase motivation and make learning experiences more authentic and meaningful are some of the goals in classrooms today. There are many options through which teachers can do this by offering a variety of tools for students ​to choose​ from for creating project​s​ or providing a choice in homework assignments and practice. The key is to put the power / empower the students to decide how to show what they know and can do with the material. By having a choice, students can apply their learning in a way that is meaningful, personal and leads to an increase in content retention. When students have autonomy in their learning, they become more engaged and learning potential increases. By using a tool such as Buncee, learning is fun and students are more engaged in their creations.

As an educator, I offer these choices so that each student has unique learning experiences.Being able to decide how to show your learning, add your personality and interests into the creation, amplify the potential for mastering the content material. I want the students to succeed, and my hope is that they also enjoy the experience and are excited to share their work. Student feedback in the classroom is vital and and I want to make sure that the students are benefitting from the methods that I am using. I make it a point to include them in the conversation and find out exactly what they thought about each experience. The following perspectives from my students, grades 11th-12th.

Mairead

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Buncee is really easy to use and easy to understand. I liked the choices available and the moving characters are really cool. You can change your project from boring with just plain text to an entire project full of moving parts and more. There are many different backgrounds and characters which can make your project different and stand out from any others. When you add in the characters it is really easy to maneuver them to any part of the slide and turn them whichever way you want them to be. Another helpful thing is the ability to write on the slides, which is great for adding your information for school projects.

Ethan

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I really enjoyed using Buncee for the last project I did. I found that there were a lot of options for being creative. The ability to animate the different characters brings a project to life in a way that no other tool can. The are a multitude of different fonts that can be used in correlation with hundreds of characters and backgrounds that make projects so much better and engaging. Buncee makes it possible to create a project that is fun and entertaining but can also be used in a professional setting if the situation requires it. I have shared this tool with other students and family because of the possibilities it creates for anyone, in any line of work. There is no other tool that can do what Buncee does, nor as exceptionally well.

Megan

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When Mrs. Poth asked our class to create a project for our chapter, I knew I wanted to use a website that could easily display my thoughts. She had mentioned Buncee and I thought “well why not give it a try?” When I began using Buncee, I found it to be very easy and fun to use. There were so many options for backgrounds, stickers, and animations that I could really make the project my own. I also really liked that I was able to insert a video from Youtube right onto my slides, without having to just copy and paste a link. Buncee enables me to display my thoughts much better than other websites. In the future, when I am assigned more projects in any of my classes, I will be sure to use Buncee and recommend it to my fellow classmates.

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A grammar lesson, taught by the student in class.

Lena

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Buncee is a wonderful educational tool!  At least once each grading quarter, our Spanish class has to design a creative project using vocabulary from the chapter. We are required to use a different digital tool for each project, and choose from a list. I tried Buncee for the first time this year and it is my new favorite website for school projects!  Buncee allows you to be creative in a variety of ways.  You can choose unique animations, fun and exciting backdrops, different fonts and so much more.  Not only does Buncee allow you to be creative, and make the project your own, it provides an engaging experience because it is so easy-to-use and has great visuals.  You can easily add and move multiple characters and stickers onto  your slide, or add clips from YouTube without having to click on a link!  The dialogue boxes are also easy to move and edit which is very helpful for beginning users.  Buncee can be used in any class, and is a fun,  engaging tool for both the creator and the viewer.  I hope that this blog has inspired you to enjoy Buncee as well!

Reflections

It is clear that students have opinions about technology and its benefits.  When they have opportunities to work with technology and then to share their work and knowledge with others, especially sharing with teachers, this  has a profound impact.  Student voice is key and educators can learn so much from the students and seeing their creativity come through.

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