Student voice in the staff room

Like many technology change projects, Portsmouth College set out to enhance the relationship with students by encouraging the take up of a personal tablet device, in their case iPad. There is no doubt that the technology has brought new and exciting elements to teaching at the college and one of the ways this is delivered is through a group of student ambassadors and staff learning champions.

Neil and I have had the great pleasure in working with Portsmouth since the iPad project was first talked about, initially a Vision and Plan session followed up with many days of training and workshops with staff. This September when we visited to deliver Apple Professional Learning workshops we spent some time with the student ambassadors and I’d like to share the workshop we did with them and encourage you to do similar to help measure impact and promote effective Student voice.

Portsmouth College are using the G Suite for Education from Google mainly with iPads, but also Windows desktops, laptops and some ChromeBooks. G Suite gives all staff and students access to an online cloud of tools such as Google Docs, Sheets and Forms while the iPad gives access to a wealth of inspiring creative tools as well as being the device to access everything – what a great combo!

We started by talking about what sort of questions as a student body the ambassadors would ask of fellow students to help document the technology project. We all contributed to a Padlet wall to capture and share ideas. Padlet is an amazing online shared wall where the whole room can contribute to a single space with ideas and feedback, if you aren’t using it you should be – www.padlet.com

It’s time to get students engaged using the amazing tech tools we have at our fingertips

After some discussion around question types, and the benefits of quantitative vs. qualitative, the students set about creating an online form with relevant questions to ask their fellow students. The Google Form creator app (forms.google.com) has some great features where forms can be restricted to the institution and the automatically collecting of student data such as email.

The form, and the data it gathers, is safe in the Google cloud and not ‘out there’ for anyone to access. Each form has a unique web address to share which we copied and pasted in to the-qrcode-generator.com to create some printable QR Codes. These are a great way to drive people to your form and once stuck up around the college make it easy to scan and go.

Now that iOS 11 supports QR Code scanning straight in the camera app it’s even easier! Just update to iOS 11, open Camera and point at this QR code –>

So far we have developed questions, built a form and created a mechanism to access the form. Back in the workshop, we answered each other’s questions so we had an idea of how the form looked and could see how Google helpfully turn our answers into some good looking charts. A quick screen grab of these charts and a tidy up in Photos with the crop tool gave us a set of data we could now present back. What’s the point in collecting this information if all we do is look at it once and leave it in our cloud?

Using the amazing Quik app (app store link) from GoPro we took the screen grabs of the stats, added some titles, music and descriptive text. Quik makes a great looking movie and has a wealth of effects and styles to make sure the videos are varied. On saving, Quik saves the video in our iPad Photos app. Now we have a video – how do we share this? Well hello TrilbyTV. Students uploaded their finished video to TrilbyTV and within minutes after approval the content is playing on the staff room TV screen. A direct connection from students gathering student body views and sharing these with staff – how else could this happen so quickly and in a way that is fully in the control of the students.

We created TrilbyTV because we saw a reason and a need for sharing student voice like this. Ofsted will talk about learners views, ensuring we listen carefully to and work effectively with learners to improve teaching, learning and assessment. While traditional student councils, feedback boxes, observations and meetings all have a place, it is surely time to step things up and get students engaged using the digital tools we are familiar with and that we have at our fingertips. Then get sharing the results and output of this in as many ways as possible including via our digital screens around school.

TrilbyTV is available on a 30 day free trial and we’ll even come and install a player device if you don’t have one – fill out the form here and we’ll be round to help #SwitchOnYourSignage