Digital Leaders are a common sight in most secondary schools. The team of students who are assigned as digital leaders are usually expected to help with a range of IT based tasks. For example, assist with computer based learning, provide assemblies in e-safety and/or be a friendly face to the less technical minded students. I was therefore flattered and surprised when I was contacted by The Times to discuss the Digital Leaders programme that I have put together.
On the surface, I’ve been doing nothing different to other schools but it seems that The Times was particularly interested in the ‘teach the teacher’ approach that I’ve taken with my Digital Leaders. Rather than my team focusing solely on the students, they were aimed at assisting the teachers. In short, if the teachers are better, quicker and more confident with technology then they will provide even better learning environments for their students. As for the team of digital leaders, we all know that you understand something better if you can teach it to someone else – well, this is a prime example of that philosophy in action.
The key criteria for any prospective Digital Leaders team is as follows:
- Anyone interested in becoming a Digital Leader must apply and go through an interview. Great for getting students, of any age, understanding an application process.
- Not just those who are good with technology need apply. A key characteristic is enthusiasm and a passion for innovation.
- Only a handful of students are selected from each year group. This makes the role competitive, ensures that there is technical support across all year groups and embeds co-operation across year groups.
- Not only do students get a shiny badge but they also get to take home a Chromebook. Surprisingly, a badge was more appealing than the Chromebook…
In a nutshell, students want to help. Those with enthusiasm, passion and interest in technology (regardless of their current technical ability) are perfect for the role of Digital Leader. Train them, nurture them, support them, enthuse them and, importantly, look after them. If your budget doesn’t stretch to a Chromebook or some badges find a noticeboard and let your colleagues, the students and their parents know about the fantastic work of your Digital Leader team.
Take a look at my interview and the fabulous student comments in The Times to find out more or ‘join the discussion’ below.
The Digital Leaders article was published in The Times on 28 August 2018. The online version of the article can be found here (you may need to register to read the full story).