Why Student Digital Leaders?


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A presentation first given on the Stone Computers stand at BETT 2013, describing the rationale for operating a Student Digital Leaders programme in schools and the benefits for students, the school and for the national good! There are also pointers as to SDL roles in school, how to get the programme started, the application process and how you train your SDLs.

Also described are plans to accredit student digital leadership achievement; in an exciting SSAT/DigitalMe/Makewaves partnership, there are plans to offer Mozilla Open Badges accreditation from April 2013.

The presentation was given by Glyn Barritt, Learning Technologies Manager at SSAT - she describes SSAT's support for teacher groups already heavily engaged in operating SDLs in school and sharing best practice via social media means.

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  • Good afternoon everyone – I’m GlynBarritt and the Learning Technologies Manager at SSAT … Student leadership and student voice have been at the heart of SSAT’s work for many years. As far back as 2004 in response to the Government’s Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners, the SSAT began work with David Hargreaves on identifying nine gateways to personalising learning and redesigning systems and curriculums. Entry to personalising learning could be made through any one of the gateways as they are all interlinked but perhaps the most powerful of gateways lay in the area of student voice and the opportunities this offers students ultimately to share the leadership and redesign of learning, with their teachers. Indeed, Accreditation schemes that recognise these achievements are attracting huge interest – more about that later.And so Student Digital Leadership fits nicely into the SSAT’s suite of activities and programmes designed to bring student voice once again to the fore. But what is it really?
  • Students with a passion to help their school shape vision and strategy around the use of technologyTheytake on or develop leadership roles which provide advice and guidance as to the effectiveness of technology (which means a certain amount of experimentation, evaluation and feedback; and they make sure that fellow students and their teachers have the skills to use those technologies effectively.Everybody benefits
  • This isn’t a new concept or one that SSAT can patent! The initiative in this country was inspired by the GEN YES and TechYes programmes in the US; and Alan November’s championing of students as co-constructors of learning and contributors of content.Since its adoption and development by two teachers in the UK,Daniel Stucke (Stretford High School, Manchester) and Kristian Still (Hamble College, Southampton), it has been supported by both Toshiba and SSAT, and has featured in presentations at SSAT National Conferences and the Achievement Show over the last four years.The basis of an SSAT’s Student Digital Leaders network started in 2011 with a small group of schools that have since become the pioneers of this popular programme, with the support of the education management at Toshiba and the Learning Technologies team from SSAT. Those schools have been disseminating their practices using social media and by offering to showcases and presentations at high profile events. Inspired by the work going on in secondary schools, a number of primary schools have also set up student digital leadership activities in their schools and in their regions; notable advocates are speaking on this stand at BETT this year - Chris Mayohin Yorkshire, Ian Addison in Hampshire and Sheli Blackburn in Norfolk who all use social networking to share their ideas, resources and expertise with other teachers who are equally keen to shape student digital leadership in a primary context. There is a wonderful collaborative blog started by a group of passionate teachers which gives start up guidance and support – www.digitalleadernetwork.co.uk
  • So looking at a typical school, we see that many technology plans actually focus on the needs and skills of just 8% of the school’s population … which seems bizarre given that the other 92% already have the technology expertise that training aims to give their teachers, administrators, technical support staff etc!
  • So certainly there are benefits to the school in terms of … Using those native skills to ensure that all students and staff gain the skills they need to use technology effectivelySaves the school money in terms of training staff to use specific applications when the students can probably master these in minutes!Saves the school money in terms of buying in or acquiring technical expertise.Saves the school money in terms of designing promotional materials, photographing and video-ing events and children etcSo at the very least, there’s a maximising of the impact of the ICT budget. The quote:
  • Now importantly, here are just some of the benefits to the students themselves:Increases their self-esteem … more about the application process laterHelps develop leadership and specialist skills in students – like being able to listen to colleagues, feedback and justify opinions diplomatically, identify skill sets in others or needs for professional development etcDevelops life skills – skills that will enable students to deal with the unexpected situation … become a competitive employee in the global workspaceBringsfun into learning!
  • Just this week at the Education World Forum, we heard students in the sixth Education Fast Forward debate speak about the importance of student voice in helping to bridge the gap between policy and decision makers - those people who think they know how to improve education .. and those at the coal-face, dealing with changes in policy, bad decisions and curriculums that they are unhappy with.Students wanted more of a voice in co-constructing their own learning … being trusted by teachers to give sound and informed opinions on curriculums to engage all learners … their colleagues who have been hitherto turned off learning.The SSAT is including student voice in its current campaign to support the Redesigning Schooling agenda – not bricks and mortar although it might involve that at some stage, but more about supporting the profession in grasping the nettle and having a voice in decision making that effects the future of education – see the website www.redesigningschooling.org.ukUnderpinning the campaign are regional symposia … with academic leads and high profile educational thinkers. Attached to a couple of those will be events that look at the Class of 2040 .. how students deal with the unexpected and what skills they will need.
  • So to get started, you do need to plan, plan, plan … So firstly, why run an SDL initiative in your school? What issues will it help to overcome?Will this be a whole school initiative … or piloted by certain departments? Perhaps initially?Also initially, in what areas might students start to adopt digital leadership roles?
  • Will you run an application scheme for the roles you’ve identified? And if so, what criteria for application will you set?What year groups might you target? How long will the student serve in the role?How will you ensure continuity of activity when students move on?Will you have a shadowing system … older students mentoring younger students etc?What will the benefits be for the students adopting these roles?Who in the school will take on the responsibility for monitoring activity and training?
  • So this is how one teacher managed the scheme … using year 9s and 10s but not involving year 11s in their crucial exam year .. and spreading across two years groups can help with continuity.
  • See planning takes a while!Will you target G&T students … or perhaps those students who are showing signs of underachievement and/or disengagement?Or will you have open applications?Will you have interviews? Often, competition adds gravitas.Will you allow the students to identify or suggest roles? What incentives will you offer students to apply for the roles … and maintain them to a high standard?How will you advertise the campaign and ensure that everybody has a fair chance? That parents and carers know what it’s all about?
  • The roles themselves – there are no hard and fast rules, schools run very different models according to their set up and their needs. Roles can be multipurpose or have a specific focusBut it is important to say that this initiative has whole buy-in from across the school and that the technical expertise, advice, training is embraced by all .. teachers and fellow students … But that there are realistic expectations placed upon the student, certainly when they first take on the role!
  • Now, some schools operate most of these … some operate most of these with a number of students taking on the same role .. Other schools will operate with 3 roles … perhaps just 3 students as SDLs … There are no hard and fast rules!!
  • When appointed as the SDL group, students will need to develop a sense of unity and mission.They will have questions such as … What do I need to know to do the job properly? What skills do I need? What qualities do I need?How will I get that information or training?
  • Certainly any initial training ought to ensure that the students know what .. How to be a good and sympathetic, active listenerHow to ask for help when they need it or help on another’s behalfHow to communicate effectively with each other, their peers and teachers … then outward in the communityHow they share achievements with each others, so that that the group is continually learning and moving forwardHow to apply their knowledge and their learning .. How to review and feedback to interested parties
  • Initiative will flounder if SDLs not skilled at outsetLunch time or after-school club? Half or whole day bootcamp?Broad framework agenda structured by group of teachersbut deliverable by any teacher with interest in educational technology
  • SDLs will need at least 3 collective targets for their group … SMART targets over the short, medium and long termThey will need to put detail against those targets some detail so that they can produce action plansThey should draw up a communications strategy and decided on when the group comes together .. Certainly a date and venue for the next meeting.Someone should take notes and post them somewhere central (VLE) so that all school members can read them!
  • Remember those roles?Badges will recognise achievement for those roles and in partnership with DigitalMe, Makewaves and Mozille, we have already held a highly successful Badgeathon Day with students and teachers … The consultation is ongoing and that will lead to a design process, a vote on the 5 best designs and a launch finally in April 2013. And an international launch in September 2013!!
  • As said previously, the SDL initiative is one in a suite of Student Leadership activities operated by SSAT, encouraging students to lead through inquiry, inspiration, innovation and impact. Students who are awarded badges for their individual achievement in an SDL role will still have opportunities to see how their leadership skills fit into the wider remit of the SLA, using a competency matrix with 10 strands and four levels. The SLA involves self and peer assessment and a gathering of evidence in a portfolio. Students will need supporting statements and milestone achievements.
  • This is a very small extract from the competency matrix. Students can define what their leadership activities are … again, there are no hard and fast rules … Could be longer term, could be a single event!
  • Important to say that the SSAT remains committed to working with schools that are keen to cultivate student leadership as a means of unleashing creativity and enterprise; Link exemplary practice from passionate teachers who have achieved so muchHelp amplify key messages via Twitter, FB and other social mediaShare SDL achievement via the Makewaves platformIn partnership with DigitalMe, extend Mozilla Open Badges accreditation scheme for SDLsTake SDL global – be leading lights in SDL networking and accreditation
  • Why Student Digital Leaders?

    1. 1. Student Digital Leaders Glyn Barritt, SSAT
    2. 2. Who are.. Student Digital Leaders?• Students with a passion to help their school shape vision and strategy around the use of technology >> exciting and expanding network, sharing practice• Digital leadership roles ensure that the most appropriate and engaging technologies are embedded into classroom practice … everyone benefits
    3. 3. Just a tiny bit of history!• Influenced by US GEN YES programme• Driven by core group of schools in UK, supported by Toshiba• Promoted at SSAT National Conference and Learning Without Frontiers Conference• Extended outwards with help of social media – #dlchat on Twitter, every Thursday evening at 9pm• See www.digitalleadernetwork.co.uk
    4. 4. Why SDLs make sense?• Students make up about 92% of those in attendance at any school• Most technology plans focus on roles of other 8% – teachers, administrators, technical support staff• Unbalanced? Yes! When ... – Students are increasingly savvy about the role technology plays in modern life!
    5. 5. So, what are the benefits?For the school …• Ensures that the most effective technology is embedded in all areas of school life.• Maximises the impact of the ICT budget …“ We used 10 student digital leaders in my school. I think they had the same impact as employing 4 extra ICT coordinators which would have cost the school around £200,000! ” School leader from pilot school
    6. 6. So, what are the benefits?For the students …• Develops leadership and specialist skills …and other 21st Century skills for future career/work• Flexibility in the jobs market .. able to do any job that a young person from overseas can do.• Important! Helps students bring ‘fun’ into learning!
    7. 7. So, what are the benefits?For the nation - #EFF6 at EWF – Co-construct curriculums to engage all students in learning they enjoy and which prepares them for life – Work alongside teachers to lessen effects of new demands on their workloads – Help narrow the gap between policy makers and those designing and delivering the curriculum – Redesigning Schooling – www.redesigningschooling.org.uk returning the future of education to the profession – Class of 2040 – designing strategies to deal with the unexpected!
    8. 8. Getting started … PLANNING• What issues in school might SDLs help to address or overcome?• Is this a whole school initiative or one that will be piloted by certain department(s)?• In which areas would we want our students to adopt digital leadership roles?
    9. 9. PLANNING continued• How will students apply for the roles? – What qualities should SDL demonstrate? – How will the students benefit from their role?• What year groups might you approach first? – How long would a student serve as an SDL? – How would you ensure continuity? – Older students mentoring younger students?• Who in school will oversee SDL activity and champion initiative widely?
    10. 10. “ We started 9with 10 student digital leaders from years and 10. We didn’t want it to interfere with the exams in year 11 but did want a level of maturity and skill level ” so year 9 and 10 seemed like the perfect fit.“ instance helps with continuity Spreading it across two year groups in the first ”
    11. 11. Still going with PLANNING!• How will you engage students? – Specific targetting of G&T or underachievers perhaps? – Open invitations to apply?• Will you allow students to suggest roles?• Interviews? (Competition can add gravitas to roles)• Incentives for students• How will you advertise the campaign?
    12. 12. SDL roles …• No hard and fast rules – every school operates SDLs with a different model• Multipurpose roles? Or specific purpose?• Important that SLT, teachers and technicians buy-in to the initiative – Embrace technical expertise students offer – Have realistic expectations too!
    13. 13. Leaders of technology• Give students a sense of unity and mission• Activities that focus on leadership aspects of roles – What do I need to know? – What skills do I need to be effective? – What qualities do I need to demonstrate and develop?• Allow the SDLs to think of the types of learning technology support – Will this require training?
    14. 14. Initial training• Listening and speaking• Asking for help• Communication skills• Sharing and showcasing• Using and applying• Reviewing• How to feedback
    15. 15. Bootcamp anyone?• Initiative will flounder if SDLs not skilled at outset• Lunch time or after-school club?• Half or whole day bootcamp?• Broad framework agenda structured by group of teachers but deliverable by any teacher with interest in educational technology
    16. 16. SDL First Steps ..• Encourage SDLs to agree at least three collective targets for the newly formed group – Short, medium and long term targets – As much detail as possible >> action plans• SDLs should draw up a communications strategy, decide meeting times• Designate someone to take notes and to post these where school members can read them
    17. 17. Mozilla Open Badges• Badges will recognise achievement for those roles• Badgeathon Day with students and teachers and ongoing consultation• Design process with DigitalMe and Mozilla• National launch: April 2013• International launch: September 2013!
    18. 18. SSAT’S SLA Student Leadership Accreditation• Encouraging students to lead through inquiry, inspiration, innovation and impact• No definitive description of leadership – students can define this• Longer term roles or single event• Self and peer assessment• Portfolio of evidence, supporting statements and milestone achievements on competency matrix
    19. 19. SSAT Student Leadership• Developing (Bronze), Extending (Silver), Transforming (Gold) across 10 strands• FREE for member schools
    20. 20. Aims of the SDL Network• Link exemplary practice from passionate teachers who have achieved so much• Help amplify key messages via Twitter, FB and other social media• Share SDL achievement via the Makewaves platform• In partnership with DigitalMe, extend Mozilla Open Badges accreditation scheme for SDLs• Take SDL global!
    21. 21. Glyn Barrittglyn.barritt@ssatuk.co.uk www.ssatuk.co.uk @sdigileaders @ictregister @schoolredesign