If you have seen me before at conferences and teachmeets evangelising the benefits of having digital leaders in school you will be fully aware of how I first became inspired to employ them in my school; Chris Mayoh has inspired many teachers, not just with his approach to employing digital leaders, but with his thoughts and ideas in many areas of ICT. Today he managed to inspire me even further, alongside the curriculum innovations team he works with in Bradford. I was fortunate enough to be asked to meet with Chris, Tim and Lucy (the DigitalMe team), Paul Scott (Bradford curriculum innovation manager), Tim and James (curriculum innovations consultants and top chaps!) to share knowledge and ideas about four key areas:
- The national context of digital leaders
- Key advocates of digital leaders nationally
- The open badges initiative
- Developing digital leaders nationally
Having worked with both Lucy and Tim before, I was aware of the energy they have put into ‘badge the UK‘ and am a big fan of their approach, ethos and values. Their digital leader badge framework has been created by listening to the ideas and views of students and digital leader advocates, in collaboration with the SSAT. It will be valid and relevant because of this.
Through the meeting agenda and informal conversations I could see that the innovations team has very much the same approach. Even though they are clear leaders in the digital leader movement (and other areas like geocaching), they are keen to create a national framework by working with key advocates across the country. What came across strongly in this meeting was how much they all care about giving our young people the best education they can.
Many thoughts and ideas were discussed throughout the meeting, but the key things I bought away were:
- The need for a framework for schools to follow in order to get started with digital leaders
- The need for an ‘open’ Edmodo style platform, such as makewav.es to award and display digital leader badges
- A digital leader badge system that is user friendly and ultimately driven by students
- Possibility of the Bradford team replicating Chicago’s summer of learning initiative
I left Bradford feeling very inspired, if not a little envious of where they are and what they are aiming to achieve. What a forward thinking team! Knowing that there are others out there giving up their time and energy makes the time that I spend on digital leaders all the more worthwhile. When I got home and caught up with my twitter conversations I was also reminded of something that I have toyed with before – the need for some action research into the impact of digital leaders. During the meeting we had discussed the problem of selling the idea to some schools – especially secondary schools; maybe research papers would help? What would help sell the idea to your school?
If you would like to be involved in this exciting project, one of the first ways you can do so is by beta testing the first digital leader badges in September. Please let me know if you are interested.