Through the power of Twitter, I discovered the idea of Digital Leaders from @chrismayoh and @SheliBB. What a wonderful initiative to empower the children and to develop the ever changing face of ICT in our school. Initially when I set up the Digital Leaders now a year ago, I opened applications up to Year 5 and 6. The children were every enthusiastic and helped to promote the use of the class blogs and helped to run an ICT club for Year 3-6. This proved very successful so I opened applications up to Year 3 and 4. The existing Digital Leaders helped to interview prospective Digital Leaders ( I observed all interviews). The children felt extremely responsible and mature about their approach to the interviews. During this first year, they even prepared for and gave a staff meeting showing the teachers how to use Movie Maker.
In September, the start of a new school year, I gave the Digital Leaders the opportunity to reapply for their posts. Only 4 reapplied and were successfully appointed. These 4 lucky Digital Leaders attend the @NightZookeeper Kids Meet in November and represented our school extremely well. The children decided what they were going to present on and I merely supported them putting together the presentation using Prezi. You can catch up with what they did at Kidsmeet.
During November, I reopened applications. This time, I opened it up to Year 2-6. To help me shortlist, I asked class teachers to nominate children to be interviewed. Those shortlisted where interviewed by myself and they given an unknown resource- Prezi to learn how to use. It amazed me how quickly some of the children were able to use all the functions in Prezi. Due to the high level of applications, I appointed 9 new Digital Leaders to join the 4 existing.
The children were very eager to learn, I first introduced our blog and the Digital Leader Network blog. So the children could see what they could achieve. Every two weeks, they comment on 10 five sentence challenges, supporting the good work by @100WC @TheHeadsOffice. They wanted to support year groups develop their blogs and were happy to assign themselves in pairs to do this. Now they have a timetable so they know when they are booked in to help with class blogs but also to support during ICT sessions. Class teachers of the Digital Leaders Many of them are in most lunchtimes: putting together blog posts, creating photo and video presentations using Animoto or Movie Maker, testing out new apps for mobile devices Apple and Android. I know they can’t wait until we do staff training again. Our next planned training session for the teachers will be using Scratch. We are also in the process of exploring the impact of iPads and testing out apps with Reception up to Year 6.
One of my Digital Leaders, Claudia (Year5) spent a session with our headteacher showing her how to access the blogs and to comment . I know my headteacher won’t mind me mentioning that she thought Claudia was very professional and had the makings of a great teacher.
We meet regularly every Tuesday for an hour and the Digital Leaders can have time at lunchtimes to do jobs. Any jobs that they carry out are recorded on our Digital Leader Job sheet located on our blog. Each session, I try to introduce a new resource for the children to test out and think how they could use it.
Through the Night Zookeeper, my Digital Leaders have the opportunity to share their experiences at the BETT show 2013. Those that wanted to be considered for the trip, were asked to produce a short presentation about what skills were needed to be a successful digital leader. I received some wonderful presentations. After much deliberation, I chose 3 of the Year 6 Digital Leaders and one of the Year 5 Digital Leaders. I merely gave them the title to use for their presentation, as a group they decided on what aspects they were going to focus on and how they were going to present it. Tomorrow, they will be showing me all their hard work. They have been in every lunchtime, putting their presentation together on Prezi and have spent this weekend practicing. Their dedication and commitment have surpassed my expectations.
Digital Leaders definitely rock. I think every school should have Digital Leaders. It really does bring out the best and showcases leaders of the future.