I have always been a big advocate for authentic student voice. Empowering students to take action on issues and ideals close to their heart is one of the reasons that I love what I do. It’s raw, real and pivotal to a rich learning experience. As part of our Primary ICT Professional Learning team, we had flagged the need for the development of such a role for our students. The role was initially to be a cyber safety focused role with our students to be Cyber Angels but robust discussion and research led us to the Digital Leaders Network. The network came across my Twitter feed one day and as I delved further, I knew it was the fit. Why? First of all, it was a network. Connecting like-minded learners is one of the reasons that Twitter, Google + and TeachMeets work so well and so connecting young leaders in an authentic role was a definite draw card. The network was originally established in the UK and I have to say that they global element of the network was definitely appealing. You can check out the great work that it is being done by Digital Leaders from around the world here. A chance encounter on Twitter, however brought the network closer to home. A post I had written and posted on Twitter brought about a chance encounter with Nick Jackson aka @largerama on Twitter. Nick was one of the original team behind the Digital Leaders Network in the UK and had recently set up the Digital Leaders Australia Network. This connection proved pivotal to the kick starting of Digital Leaders at my school. And so the journey began….
To introduce the idea to students, I spoke at assemblies at our two campuses and shared the following video. This was the first step of our interview process. I spoke to the students about being resourceful, being able to successfully collaborate, being creative and about being willing to speak and share with others.
Their first challenge was to find out my email address and express interest. Once they had done this, I replied with a QR code. Their challenge was to figure out what a QR code was and once they had figured out what it was, they then had to figure out how to read one. The information contained in the QR code challenged the students to create a presentation in any form that they wished to highlight why they would make a good digital leader. The final stage of our process was a two-minute interview based on their presentation. The presentations and interviews blew my mind. Initially I had imagined two leaders per year level but I threw that out the window after the first interview. Amazing ideas, poignant answers and reflections and a passion for digital learning that I had to harness. In the end we chose 13 leaders from Year 5 & 6 at each campus to be our first Digital Leaders. Looking forward, I am very excited about the projects and pathways that the students will develop and am wanting to roll the leadership position out in the Middle and Senior Years at my school. The students and I will set up a blog to document our journey but I will also be jotting down my thoughts in this blog as well. For those who are reading who have already begun the Digital Leaders journey, I would love to chat further to discuss ways that we could collaborate and learn from each other. For others, don’t forget to check out the Digital Leaders Australia Network at www.ozdls.com. Thanks for reading!