The Success of Generation Z Depends on Us!

by Rayna Freedman

Flipgrid Student Voice conference attendees

Rayna Freedman, Kim Zajac & Sandy Otto

Waking up at 3:00 in the morning to catch a flight to discuss student voice was one of my summer highlights. The Flipgrid Student Voice conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota was about connecting educators and igniting the spark to empower students. The event kicked off with FlipgridZing, an ignite style showcase of educators who had three minutes to empower the group to explore, take risks, and think BIG as we head into a new school year. This was followed by an Edcamp Flipgrid style. Hot topics were going gradeless, sketchnoting, empathy and activism, and gamification. The excitement for the next day was building, as we were all looking forward to jam-packed sessions about the power of student voice.

Create Opportunities for Student Voice

Matt Miller, former MassCUE CUEbyte speaker, inspired the audience, talking about the importance of giving students an audience. He reminded us, “Students already have a voice. They need opportunities to use it.” He discussed the importance of choice, action, and skills when preparing learning experiences for students. Educators need to give students an avenue to share ideas as it is them who will change the world. “One of the most powerful things we can teach kids: Their ideas have VALUE.” It is up to us to create a culture for students to take risks. “Whenever students change the world we get to change the world through them.”

Holly Clark opened her afternoon keynote reaching into our hearts. She said, “We have an amazing opportunity to do things with our students which have not been done before. It’s amazing…and it’s SCARY!” She talked about the importance of building relationships with students, trying to understand the Generation Z that sits in our class. It is a generation that is not okay with the status quo that was born into a world with devices that allow them to create and develop what they perceive as missing. Unfortunately this is happening outside the classroom. She encouraged us to think about how do more in our classroom. “This generation will not have to do some of the things we considered rites of passage.” We as educators need to be open to new ways of learning for all our students.

Hanging with Rockstar Educators

Sprinkled throughout the day were 15 and 25 minute sessions from rockstar educators about best pedagogical practices to bring what Holly and Matt were sharing to life in our classrooms and schools buildings. Check out the Flipgrid Live: Student Voice Conference professional learning site for rich resources to implement in your school or building tomorrow. We would love to hear via your ideas via a Flipgrid on encouraging student voice in your school or building. The success of Generation Z depends on us!

Rayna Freedman is in her 18th year teaching 5th grade in Mansfield. She is MassCUE President elect and co conference chair of the fall conference. She is always seeking new opportunities to learn.

– Rayna Freedman (

Print this post Print this post