Julie Belisle, teacher, and Sylvie Perron, educational advisor at École Le Sommet (First Seigneuries School Service Center) recently posted a podcast. Beyond the project itself, it is the content of the sound recording that commands attention.
Julie and Sylvie wanted to create a stimulating project for the students of the Tac-TIC Squad at their school, a group of students who are experts in technology who lend a hand to teachers. Initially, they wanted to make a video, but eventually, the students wanted to experience the podcast. They said they felt more comfortable speaking since the audience wouldn't see them.
“The aim of the project was to give students a voice. We wanted to give them the floor to express themselves on how they experience distance education. We wanted it to be them who testify openly ”, indicate the two women. They specify that they also want the words of young people to inspire teachers and lead them to adapt their practices to promote their motivation in the current context.
Thus, they recruited some volunteers from the Tac-TIC Squad and offered them questions. Then, they gathered them into two groups (1er cycle and 2e cycle) in the school's multimedia studio in order to record the audio sequence. All sanitary measures were of course respected at this time.
A participating student composed the soundtrack for the podcast and Julie Bélisle did the editing. Recording is now available on different platforms like Anchor and Spotify.
Not all negative
Listening to the words of Marie-Ève and Jérémy, students of 3e and 5e secondary, then Lucas, Logan and Charles, in 2e secondary school, it is quickly understood that distance education does not only have drawbacks for them. They appreciate being able to get up later and feel less pressure to have to look their best at school. Academically, some feel they can move more at their own pace and feel less peer pressure.
On the other hand, certain conditions must be put in place in order to promote their learning. They admit that it is easier to lose focus in the home environment and that it can be awkward to ask questions in a large group. In addition, they are sometimes afraid of arriving late for class since they no longer have the school bell to remind them (a tip: set alarms at key times of the day).
Regardless of their grade level, students appreciate the interactive activities (Kahoots and quizzes of all kinds are popular) and the periods when they have choices (activities or subjects). They deplore, however, that some teachers try to convey concepts in a masterly way online. This makes it more difficult for them to listen to the teacher and take relevant notes at the same time (especially for those who write on an iPad).
Human contact above all
Above all, it is human contact that allows students to maintain their motivation in distance learning. They especially like the times when they can get together in small groups to collaborate with fellow students, whether officially during class or at other times to complete teamwork. They admit that almost all of them have side-of-class chats with their friends on social media to help each other out.
They also appreciate the moments when they can interact in private with their teachers (by videoconference or by simple chat). They find it less awkward to ask questions and feel that the teacher is really listening to their needs at these times. In addition, they express the wish that their teachers take the time to chat informally at the beginning of the lessons, that they do not concentrate only on the subject to be transmitted.
45 minutes in length, the podcast is definitely worth listening to by educators who wish to contribute to the well-being of young people. Listening to their needs will certainly help them get through the crisis.