(Almost) all our content from 2006 to 2017 is archived and available online under a Creative Commons license. Please read this post from June 2018 for more background and updates about our conference and current status.
2010-Student Voices

Students Redefine School

Presenters: Monkia, Jim, Jessi, Hans, Morgan, Lucas, Cristan, Noah, Chase, Aaron, Gus, Andria, & Austin (with help from educators Monika Hardy and Jim Folkestad)
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Link to the students’ teacher’s K12Online Ning Profile page

Presentation Title: Students Redefine School

Presentation Description: We believe that education is the vehicle to social change everyone craves. We believe that personalization is now possible in public school, because of the connections to people and info the web now allows. We believe that the process of learning how to learn, amped by the personalization digital equity allows is the new standard.

In the lab, we are experimenting with ways to facilitate personalized learning and ownership. We believe learning and self-constructing is natural, but most people need to break out of habits focused on following rules. Experimentation means doing, and doing breeds mistakes. Risk of failure blinds many to their potential. We believe playing it safe today is a greater risk.

DotSub Video Presentation Link

Blip m4v direct link (video file)
Blip mp3 direct link (audio file)

Link to presentation’s supporting documents:

Additional Information:
some links to what we’re doing….

lab tumblr
facebook group – daily footage
site created to scale the processbeta
monitoring process
student voices for k-12 online
student voices trailer for k-12 online
adjacency part of ongoing experiments
current videos modeling the (detox) process of thinking


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  2. Sherry Haddox

    I hear a great deal of ideas. Watching young people talk about things that matter to them is interesting but I could not help but feel sorry for the young lady that felt that she could do more on her own.

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  5. Danielle Robb

    This is absolutely wonderful! It is so important for kids to be able to have a safe place to pursue their dreams. I love how the kids in this video could choose a topic that they were passionate about and DO IT! My favorite project was the kids who were writing the songs! Amazing! The purpose of school is to get kids ready for their future and their careers. A lot of schools do not provide this for their students. It’s awesome that these students were able to show their creativity, take ownership for their projects, and complete something that is helpful to their actual lives!! I wish there was something like this when I went to high school. There used to be a pre-school at my high school where high school students could go in and earn elective credit for watching the students and teaching them, however this was cut due to budget cuts before I was able to experience it! What a wonderful idea!

  6. Katie

    This presentation is moving. After listening and watching, I realize that kids and young people really know what they want to learn; they know what they already know, and they’re trying to think about what they need to do to know more. I teach Kindergarten, but this video helped me recognize that I need to acknowledge my students’ interests and use their passion and the basis for project-based learning. I have never believed in didactic teaching, but I need to elevate my teaching and classroom activities to a new level.

  7. Julie

    Students Redefine School was an interesting concept. I liked the fact that this project can be modified to best fit any age group. My students would enjoy recording themselves on camera. They would also enjoy viewing the finished project. While the concepts the teenagers touched on in the video might be beyond my students’ comprehension level, my students could simply speak about what they would like to be when they grow up. In addition, my students could use the video segment to help them write a short paragraph about their desired profession. This video concept has many possibilities. However, the most appealing aspect of the video is that it is truly student driven. The students are engaged, learning, and growing as individuals throughout the entire process.

  8. Jamie

    I love it. I love the idea. I love the process. It’s an amazing concept. I just wish that this could be a reality. But with our standards based society, I’m not quite sure that we would be able to implement anything as wonderful as this idea. I know I’m too afraid of losing my job to branch out like I would like to.

  9. debbie

    I liked this concept: Students Redefine School. After watching the students talk about things that interest them I thought about how important it is to infuse the interest of my students into teachable moments. Using the studetns interests to teach simple concepts might make a lesson seem more meaningful.

  10. Lisa B

    The students really liked what they were doing the the innovation lab. Each student had a different interest and dream yet they all came together to create this video and talk about it. They also seem to be working together and share their ideas and thoughts.

  11. Diana Maloney

    I love this concept. What a way to really give students a concrete way to pursue dreams. What a great way to give students the opportunity to find out if their dreams are really suited for them. This empowers the student to be in charge of the direction of their life. The process is so basic yet why hasn’t this been used before? This can be used by people of all ages, even out of school.

  12. Sara

    I very much like the idea of education geared toward student interest, in high school. It is refreshing to hear about kids “dreams” and what they want out of education. Students should have a say in what they are learning!

  13. Crystal

    I think this video showed me that I need to gear my lessons to my students interest. I also did not see how this would connect to my second grade state standards. I am sure that this does connect to their state standards. The students seamed very interested in connecting with culture and their personal dreams. They are starting to think about their future and what they need to do to prepare for it. They did mention that we all are stressed and I will agree with that. I just hope the kids are not stressed as they are young. Good Job!

  14. Katie Gullette

    Interesting concept. this concept can be made to fit any age group. Knowing your students and what interests them is the key. My kinders would have fun during the recording process. My students would only really understand probably the question of what they wanted to be when they grow up.

  15. Victoria

    Wow! These students are lucky to be able to use this process to help fulfill (or at least define and begin to fulfill) their dreams. I thought the process was simple and helped the students to focus their energy in the right direction. What do they want and what are they doing in order to get what they want?…
    Unfortunately so much learning is already defined for our students. As a teacher it is important to remember to learn about our students’ passions and abilities and use those to help our students learn even more.

  16. Alicia

    I think this is a fantastic idea! What better way to peak students interest than by allowing them to choose a subject they are truly passionate about.
    I also felt it was a great way to use technology in the class.

  17. Diane

    It was great to see the young people excited to learn in new ways. The opportunities to connect globally are amazing. It is inspiring to see youth wanting to make a difference in the world. Getting the chance to explore one’s passion is invaluable!

  18. Ashley B

    This presentation got me thinking about ways that I could personalize learning more. Like others have said, it is definitely a challenge in today’s standards-driven schools. It is inspiring to hear these students talking about their passions and how the innovation lab is a safe place to share those passions with others. I think it could definitely be done with younger children. They do have knowledge about things such as pollution, social injustice, etc. It is never too early to get them thinking about their futures by having them take action on issues that they are passionate about now.

  19. KB

    This was really interesting as a mother of teenager I can see that traditional schools are not holding the interest of the students. Their lives have more technology they we could have imagined. I teach the tender age of three and had a child tell me my computer was broken because it didn’t respond to her touch!

  20. Terri M.

    Listening to various students use words like, “passion”, “drive”, “no boundaries” and “specialized” throughout the video is an indication of how powerful this idea can be. It would be great if students in older grade levels had the opportunity to explore their own love of learning, hone their skills in a particular field and share it with others.

  21. M.Gonzalez

    Interesting….for years in preschool we have been working on using developmentally appropriate activities and resources for children. Activities and resources based on their individual needs, even more developing lesson plans based on the children as individuals and not as a group. Now, upper grades are headed that way; definitely a better approach to education.

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