Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Boma Education Week—NZ Campfire: Young Voices

Boma New Zealand invited young people to share their perspectives on and aspirations for education in our current COVID-19 context and beyond at a campfire on Tuesday this week. There were a range of students on the call and all had a say as the session went on. 

The Campfire conversation was facilitated by Hannah Hudson from Boma NZ and covered these questions as well as going off on a few tangents!
  1. How might our experience of learning through Covid-19 inform how we could rethink education?
  2. What is working, what isn't?
  3. How might we redesign education to ensure everyone is engaged and has access to learning that works for them?
These are my notes from that campfire. If you want to watch it, it was recorded and is on the Boma New Zealand Youtube Channel.

What is something that has changed that you will take forward?
Time management skills
Managing own learning
Freedom - need self control to devote time to each subject not just getting into one for hours
Working outside is nice
No distractions
Not having to be confined to a class period - can spend 2 hours on something and study what you want a lot more
Develop project management skills

What are some ideas that have seemed radical before and now are looked at again?
More unstructured time in timetables
Can collaborate regardless of geographical location
Doing webinars and classes from anywhere
Getting different perspectives
The variety is cool
Recording classes - you can go back and listen to them again
Learning from experts in the field

Missing people - students and teacher as you discuss ideas more freely onsite, can help each other onsite and learn by explaining it to others
Need more effort into being deliberate in contact. You don't bump into people
You are not building relationships

Being on a computer screen all day is mentally draining. Socially it makes you tired and you get nowhere
Teachers give you motivation at school. At home you can spend hours doing nothing and then work at night instead.
Can't just ask a teacher something - have to email or arrange a call.

Teachers are always asking how do we best engage students - Ask students what they find engaging. Ask the individual.
Could be a collaborative area - need to go with what is best for students

There are a range of different ways to learn content now so they should be able to choose. Give them an option of everything.
Everyone has a different way of learning. At home you have time to process things - less stressful than at school.

Different teachers are doing things in different ways. Some set work for the whole week, some each day - need a similar way to do things to make it easier
Need time to finish things

Being away from the traditional 9-3 means it doesn't matter when they fit work in - nice to be flexible

What's the purpose of school?
Lots of curriculum shuffling going on now - more internals, more projects
Social important - realised how much you learn from your friends
What's more important -Excellence in NCEA or the social interactions?

What teachers think young people want is misunderstood - what would you like teachers to know?
Tie things into our lives
Now it's not as much routine but more flow
Noticing simple things like family and hobbies
Having spark not just routine
Want to continue studying with fun
Being resilient - how do we operate - best in a school setting where they have time to process as well.
Prioritising ourselves now, not at school
This generation is thought to be good at tech but they actually are not necessarily. Don't want to be on screens all day
Easier to take on tech but this has opened eyes that tech is not everything
This has changed everyone's perspective
Using energy socialising on devices - it's OK to take time to prioritise somewhere else, family or outside

From your experience why are peers not engaging?
Equity has always been an issue, needs to be a priority
Trying to communicate and feeling disconnected when you can't
Big separation between those that have and those that don't
Better wifi means better connected so it's even worse when there is no connection
Struggling with self motivation - some could feel it's time to leave school because they can't do this
Can't keep up with the work, falling through the cracks
In the country, using phone for zoom calls, 3am for work so they have the internet

What should happen when we get back to school?
When we do get back to school - slow down, catch up, don't force the work all at once. Slow down and ease into the routine
Mental health side of things - self motivation
What's happening in the world is overwhelming for some and causes anxiety. School work on top of that
Look at who is disadvantaged and take what's happening. They need help post Covid19, need to learn how everyone is mental health wise
Things need to be gentle when we get back some are close to breaking point
Learning while going through stuff is really hard
Self directed nature, having to learn autonomously
Bad partnership - school can be an escape from home - additional pressure

Realised how little control we have over our own lives
2 days to go into lockdown, so fast and hard to deal with
Reminded of Earthquakes as well
As a generation Chch people dealt with the earthquakes but this goes past that - it's the whole world. Fear of the unknown

Need additional support when we go back
Struggling to read and pay attention - caught between a rock and a hard place
MLE - need a space to be alone - take an easy approach to going back
Is it more difficult at school or at home - rock and hard place
Sometimes can't get into calls so feeling left behind even more
Need to look after ourselves. If you are not 100% you won't learn

Different types of learners - if this is extended how are they catering for different learning styles
Need to have different options for different students
Keep up with the curriculum but in a way that works for you
Some by themselves, some are distracted
At home can complete normal 50 min class in 20min then can do other things but 1:1 feedback is missing
Resources are out there for help, if struggling you need to ask for help but many too reserved to ask
Being away from others can be helpful, don't feel it's a dumb question as you can email it, bit more confidence not having to do so in front of others
Liked it to start with - organised own schedule
Everyone's learning experience is individual and they all have different ways that they learn best
Great solution is to ask students for feedback - establish a partnership

No discipline if you don't go to class anymore so no motivation
Teacher is on the prowl in a classroom environment so you get help without having to ask. Asking for help is now harder because you have to email. It's just an additional thing you have to do - communication.
Reduced level of accountability when learning from home
Need a routine - regular calls for questions and feedback. Teachers need to reinforce that they are there to help
Having a Google Meet time slot where you can just jump on is great. Teachers also need to give 1:1 times
Youth week next week - theme:
“E korero ana mātou. E whakarongo ana koutou? 
We’re speaking. Are you listening?”
Need to take time to discuss things 1:1 where they can really be heard - need to find ways to integrate this into schools
Teachers take student voice and don't use it - it has no effect so then students don't bother
Meaningful feedback and meaningful partnerships otherwise feedback is pointless
You don't have to have a formal leadership title to reach out to teachers
Student leadership helping to shift responsibility from "teachers should...' to people are doing things together
Committees - if you don't get on, don't feel you can't have a say. You should still voice things. You don't need to have a teacher to do so
Student voice should not be linked to student leadership
Needs to be authentic and non tokenistic
Need to talk to those who are affected  - if you are wanting to know about student engagement, talk to the disengaged.
Has to be balanced and working alongside each other
Be good to have platforms like this - missing discussing things with other people
It's also partly on students to find ways to have those discussions

We can be the change we want to see in this world. 
People are doing the best they can
We all have a voice
We have the agency to connect
Be kind, keep learning

This was done on the platform GetVokl - hadn't seen that before but I thought it was quite good for having people jumping in and  out of conversation - couldn't see everyone at once, but was good only having a few slots for people to talk. You do have to make an account before going in which also requires a cellphone for the code, plus then email confirmation. One issue we had was with a student trying to use it on a school iPad - couldn't download the app, so that's something to consider if it is for students.

I really enjoyed watching this - great to hear the voice of young people. It would be good to do more of this from a wide range of students and schools more often. They really have great ideas!!

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