Increasing Student Voice and Empowerment Through Technology: The Perceptions of Communication Apprehensive Latter-day Saint (LDS) Seminary Students
Author(s)Christensen, Doran H.
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AbstractMany students appear to be disinterested and unengaged in traditional classroom settings. Numerous educational theorists suggest that students need current technology and communication in order to get students more involved in classroom discussion. This study examined a group of Latter-day Saint (LDS) students who were not involved vocally in the classroom (communication apprehensive), yet were highly involved in peer-to-peer communication via technology outside of the classroom. Issues of power are critically examined utilizing LDS and Freirean lenses of student voice, democracy, and empowerment. These issues are consistent with the LDS Church Educational System’s efforts to help students to explain, share, and testify of gospel truths. Student surveys concerning the use of technology and communication were instrumental in selecting a purposeful sample of five students for further study. These students, ranging from grades ninth to twelfth, were interviewed regarding their perceptions of the potential of educational technology implementation in LDS seminary classrooms in an effort to engage the communication apprehensive students. The data derived from this multiple case study design were analyzed using constructed grounded theory. Several key findings emerged through the analysis. The participants felt that some form of communicative technology could be empowering and advantageous to apprehensive students. However, the technological tool selected should be innovative and independent of currently existent resources. The participants also noted that some degree of communication apprehension still exists when using communicative technology. Ultimately, it is people who empower and give voice to the apprehensive student, not technological mediums alone.