How Do High School Students Create Knowledge About Improving and Changing Their School? A Student Voice Co-Inquiry Using Digital Technologies

Pennsylvania State University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Student Voice, 2018, 3 (Spring)
Issue Date:
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A growing body of work in the field of student voice research now involves students as co-collaborators. Small-scale inquiries increasingly provide opportunities to incorporate digital technologies into participative research with young people. This article presents the findings of an inquiry that seized on ideas of “students as knowledge creators” and “democratic fellowship” to explore the question: What makes a good school? Twelve students representing different age groups in a comprehensive high school in Australia were coached in “knowledge creation” in a workshop led by an academic partner. This co-inquiry was designed to maximize student involvement and engagement in research processes using software applications. The design included developing skills in survey construction and focus group facilitation among a larger group of peers. Results demonstrated not only a readiness to use these skills but also enthusiasm to investigate what their peers believed would make their school a better place. Emerging themes included students wanting more responsibility for their own learning, improvements in the school’s physical environment, and the use of more technology in classroom learning. This small-scale inquiry was part of a comprehensive investigation that focused on improving the school’s strategy of positive behaviours through consultations with staff and community stakeholders. Further research that harnesses digital technologies to the skills of “students as knowledge creators” and collaborators is recommended.
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