Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms
Stacey Roshan, Educator and Author
“Some of our smartest students might be our quietest — how do we give them an opportunity to be vocal in classroom discussions without calling them out or making them feel uncomfortable? Some of our unsung superstars may need time to think about their answer before speaking up — how do we shift from a culture of calling on and praising the student who raises their hand first? How can we shift from a first is best culture to one that sends the message that everyone’s voice matters — and that everyone has the potential to excel in the classroom?” — excerpt from Tech with Heart by Stacey Roshan
It is exciting to see conversations related to whole-child well-being coming to the forefront in education. How can we leverage technology to be a part of the solution and help bring a new level of empathy and compassion to our teaching? My personal experiences as an introverted student who struggled with perfectionism have had profound impact on the educator I have become. By embracing technology, I have been able to develop a more inclusive classroom environment where all students can feel comfortable sharing their ideas and voice.
The reality is that many of our students seem to have it all together on the surface but may be struggling internally. How do we recognize this as teachers, schools, and parents? I believe that we can leverage edtech to give all students a chance to participate in class discussion and empower learners to demonstrate their understandings in a variety of ways. In my teaching, technology has allowed me to:
- Create more time for one-on-one interaction to connect with my students on a personal level
- Reduce stress in the most rigorous classes I teach, both in the classroom and in homework assignments
- Provide a differentiated learning environment where all students feel safe in responding
- Quickly see where students are struggling.
I continue to go through the journey of flipping my classroom in an effort to ease student anxiety in math. It’s been challenging, and next steps aren’t always clear — I’ve done some things right, and some things haven’t worked, but I’m always continuing to grow. In playing with technology, I’ve discovered ways to give some of the quieter students in my classroom (those who I could very much relate to on a personal level) a way to make their voice heard. I’ve embraced technology to get to know my students as individuals — to build a deeper, more connected relationship and get deeper insight into their personal needs. Edtech has helped me build a safer classroom environment for all types of learners in my classroom.
These are some of the themes and questions I address in my new book, Tech with Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms. You can read the first few chapters of Tech with Heart here. If you or your school is interested in doing a book study, some activities and questions will be found here.
Stacey Roshan is Director of Innovation & Educational Technology at Bullis School and author of Tech with Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms. She is passionate about bringing innovative tools into the classroom to create a safe learning environment for all students to find their voice and build confidence. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN and PBS Newshour. She has also been named Teacher of the Future by NAIS. In addition to teaching high school students to love and understand math, Stacey works closely with faculty to design tech-infused lessons aimed at providing the optimal learning environment for all students.
To be reminded why your work is so very important and for more stories and advice, visit our collection of teacher perspectives at The Art of Teaching.