Hosting a student exchange is a terrific way to ensure that student voices are considered in your decision-making process. Students are often some of the most enthusiastic participants in an exchange, but there are a few special considerations that go along with hosting them.
What follows is a discussion of how to support student participation. For an explanation of when and how to host student-only exchanges, click here.
Creating space for student participation
Students can be invited to participate in an exchange through the same channels as any other participant (ex. email invitations, social media posts, etc.) but one of the best ways to ensure your students take the time to share and rate thoughts is by designating some class time for them to do so where a teacher can help facilitate.
Facilitating student participation
Please ensure students understand that their thoughts are important and valued, however, they need to remain appropriate and productive.
If moderation is enabled for your exchange, thoughts will be reviewed before moving to the star step using the following criteria:
- Thoughts that are rude or hurtful will be removed
- Thoughts that name or identify an individual will be removed
- Thoughts that do not provide an answer – ie emojis, “I don’t know”, incomplete thoughts.
It is important for our moderators to know when your students will be participating.
- If your exchange is being moderated by Thoughtexchange staff, let your Engagement Coach know when your students will be participating (day and time) to ensure a rapid response.
- Let your students know that the Thoughtexchange process has 3 steps:
- Share: share thoughts to each open-ended question, independently and confidentially.
- Star: read thoughts shared by you and other participants, and rate thoughts out of 5 stars.
- Discover: learn what matters to the group by exploring the thoughts and how they were rated.
- It is important to guide your students through the process. Please ensure they understand each question they are being asked.
- The facilitator should also be in the exchange.
- Send students to thoughtexchange.com/join and provide the 9 digit code associated with your exchange or provide them with the direct link to the exchange.
- There will be a bit of fussing at first as people get organized and sort out how to join. Don't panic. Encourage participants to help their neighbour - the room will soon become very quiet!
- Give them about 10-12 minutes to enter their thoughts and rate.
- About halfway through (usually around the 5-minute mark), announce that if they haven't gone to the star step yet, please do now. Ideally, you would like participants to star around 30 thoughts.
- You can keep an eye on the thoughts being entered by refreshing the “Discover” page.