At Intentional Futures, we love finding new ways to maintain or expand our relationships with long-term clients. When one such partner, Every Learner Everywhere, reached out with a way for us to deepen our involvement in their student-centered work, we jumped at the opportunity.
Every Learner Everywhere aims to help institutions use digital learning technology to innovate teaching and learning with the ultimate goal of improving student outcomes for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, first-generation, and poverty-affected students. With 12 partner organizations, the Every Learner network collaborates to advance equity in higher education through technical assistance, open-source resources and toolkits, and an ongoing analysis of institution practices and market trends.
In the past, iF supported the network’s development and delivery of resources and tools, but collaborative thinking between iF strategists Tia Holiday and Tynan Gable and the Every Learner staff led to the idea of the Every Learner Everywhere Student Fellowship.
Comprised of 16 students from schools across the country, the Student Fellowship is focused on elevating the unique perspectives and experiences of the students through their contributions to one of the four project teams:
- Learning design and group facilitation with Achieving the Dream;
- Research, survey development, and data analysis with Digital Promise;
- Education and equity in product development with Intentional Futures; or
- Communications, marketing, and program development with SXSW EDU.
As a Fellow assigned to the Achieving the Dream team, Vickiana Supriana of Valencia College was surprised by how the Student Fellowship changed her understanding of the power her own experience could have: “There are so many voices out there that are asking to be heard. The Every Learner network gave me a platform to share my voice and showed me that I matter. It increased my self esteem and highlighted the fallacy of the inconsequential person.” Prior to the Student Fellowship, Vickiana wanted to pursue a career in writing, but with this experience under her belt, she now wants to continue elevating student’s unique experiences in education to further equity and inclusion.
Christa Elrod of Georgia State University worked with the Intentional Futures team to inform strategies for improving the digital learning ecosystem. Christa found that their own voice was invaluable during the process: “The Fellowship helped me learn ways to actually influence the system and create change through research and getting to know people from different backgrounds.” As a disabled student in higher education, Christa was excited and encouraged to see their point of view taken into account and will continue to use the skills they learned during the Student Fellowship as they pursue a career in the arts.
Not only did the Fellows learn from the experience, the Every Learner network also benefited tremendously from incorporating student voices into their everyday work: “Working with the Fellows is a constant reminder of how crucial it is to elevate lived experiences when it comes to any kind of design. In the education realm and the case of our Fellows, it is very clear that without student voices present in discussions related to course design, it is not possible to design a course that is best suited for students.” -Tynan Gable
With the inaugural cohort of the Every Learner Student Fellowship coming to a close in the winter of this year, Intentional Futures and the network have their eye on the future and many more cohorts of Student Fellows to follow.
Read more about the Every Learner Everywhere Network here.
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