High Schools: Engage and Connect with Students

High Schools: Engage and Connect with Students

Student engagement is always high on the agenda at schools, and perhaps never more so than this year due to the disruption of COVID-19. Schools are looking for innovative ways to engage with students on topics like:

  • Overall wellbeing
  • Resilience
  • Gratitude
  • Connection
  • Coping

In this feature, we’re taking a look at how iyarn can be used to engage with students on important topics, at a time of immense disruption and change to education.

Get Help to Talk About Resilience, Mindfulness, Gratitude and More

iyarn is an app that’s been built to help people connect to themselves and others. iyarn features a wheel, made up of important considerations (called ‘segments’).

Each of these segments are scored during a ‘check in’. This data quickly builds up. It’s useful for personal reflection and self awareness, but it’s also a great discussion tool.

How can Technology like iyarn Help in a School?

An iyarn check-in is a catalyst for conversation and an opportunity to explore wellbeing. iyarn allows you to:

  • Quickly collect data from student or group of students
  • Initiative conversations on topics that matter
  • Monitor data for trends over time

iyarn is a useful extension to a school’s approach to student wellbeing or pastoral care. It supports efforts by the school to educate students on mental health, mindfulness, resilience and many other topics.

Using iyarn in a School or Pastoral Care Environment

iyarn is well suited for students to talk about how they’re going with parents, teachers and peers, particularly for students in upper high school.

iyarn has flexible and customisable wheels, meaning that you can set up a wide range of different wheels.

It’s possible to go deep into aspects of the student experience like peer pressure, bullying or exam stress, but consider the following example of a simple wheel for high school students.

Example: The Weekly Check in

We might consider these segments:

  • Emotions: How are you feeling?
  • Learning: Did you make progress this week?
  • Health: Are you feeling fit and healthy?
  • Connection: Do you feel close to others?
  • Stress: How well are you coping with stress?

Scoring these segments via iyarn’s mobile app is quick and provides useful, high-level insight into a student’s experience at school.

Teachers Talking about Student Check Ins

Lockie Cooke, Founder of iyarn, checked in with Liv Gamble, Head of Sports at Santa Maria College in Perth, Western Australia in a recent episode of the iyarn podcast for her thoughts on the potential role of the app in schools:

This is such a cool thing to use in a pastoral care space. Santa Maria has had a huge focus on mental well being and a huge part of that is sharing. Kids are funny some times, some will open up while others won’t. Some kids aren’t equipped to deal with some burdens, and this is an easy way to quantify how they’re feeling. 

An iyarn in a home room situation can be so cool. It’s ideal for subtle check ins. Lets say a student is hanging on to something: an iYarn is a tool to reach out without directly asking for help. 

Lockie also caught up with Josh Fergus, a mentor to Indigenous boys in high school in Port Macquaries, NSW, where iyarn is also playing an important role in checking in in a pastoral care setting:

Everyone has got a screen in front of their face. The phone is easily accessible and this is a tool which is great because its interactive, it relates directly to them, but also it connects them to other people. I just love the user friendly way it is. It can take 30 seconds to do, but it might save lives. 

It might be once every couple of weeks, just to check in with family or colleagues. You might notice something thats a bit abnormal, or you might notice they’re going really well and you can celebrate that. It’s not just looking for the negatives: it’s being there for all of it. 

Once you open up into that liminal space and connect, there’s a vulnerability that occurs. There is a sense that the change that has to occur has to come through a real challenge. This can be daunting and it can be scary, and it can make you anxious leading up to it, but on the other side of that is the most amazing growth and you move into a different stage of your life.

Josh Fergus, High School Teacher and Mentor

Engage with Your Students

It’s easy to set up an iYarn ‘wheel’ to check in on a group of students.

If you’re the first in your school, login and build a wheel by downloading the app from App Store (for iPhone) and Google Play (for Android) or use iyarn’s web app if you’re on a desktop. Set up a wheel in a few clicks and then share it to the individual or group that you need to check in with.

If you want help to implement the free app with your school, reach out to iYarn.

Best of luck and we hope to hear from you soon!

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