Thoughts for LLS DLs at the beginning of the year 2012-13

Although I love the holidays, I have enjoyed looking forward to LLS Digital Leaders building on what they achieved last year.  We set out over 12 months ago to engage with young people to encourage them to take the lead on improving the use of ICTs (Information and Collaboration Technologies) in school.

We really finished on a high last year, with two teams presenting at the Fulford Teach-the-Teachers-Meet and four of our digital leaders presenting at the Learning Network’s National Digital leaders conference.

One of the main gains last year was the DLs using a cascade model of learning; teaching each other how to use software; then teaching every ICT class and then the software being used for other lessons.  Prezi was the main success.

The enthusiasm and team work of the DLs was outstanding and to me this proves that if you give responsibility to students then they are really motivated to the cause.

This year is about stage which I believe is the main one to have an impact within a school – facilitating small teams of digital leaders working with subject teachers to improve learning with ICTs.

We are very fortunate at Lady Lumley School that the coming year has a structure organised by SLT for Learning Teams.  We will have six groups looking at different aspects of teaching and learning – one of which is ICT across the Curriculum.  Monthly timetabled meeting time for teachers, with an expectation that things will happen from one meeting to the next, has been the missing component so far.  I have tried voluntary lunchtimes for which I am grateful that some colleagues have turned up to talk with digital leaders, but it has not worked as well as I would have liked.  Now I am working closely with one of the deputy heads, and SLT have given a commitment that ICT developments will be followed up, I am feeling more confident that greater progress will be made.

The first team meeting is on Monday.  It will be digital leader free, so as to give teachers a chance to say what they would like to be doing, and indeed, to show them the same Prezis that the digital leaders have been working with, because it may well be that they do not know what is available…

During the holidays both sets of digital leaders have been working on presentations on their ideas for using ICT is in their subjects.  The 30 Year 8s from last year are now year 9 digital leaders in charge of Key 3.  And the 20 Year 9s from last year are now year 10 digital leaders in charge of Key 4. They have been organised in friendship teams for two subjects that they are interested in.  We will be reviewing these on Tuesday’s lunchtime meeting.

And then, I hope they will get the chance to meet the teachers, and some very productive dialogue and than actions could result.  We will see…

Meanwhile we are going to prototype a weekly digital-leaders’-hour on Edmodo.  In the same way that like-minded teachers discuss digital leaders on Twitter’s #dlchat every Thursday evening at 9 o’clock, I want to offer the same opportunity to student digital leaders earlier on Thursday evening.  This also starts next week…

And its great to here how DLs are developing elsewhere – close local  links with Bedale High School, King James School, Stokesley School and Richmond Methodist Primary School.  For further afield, join and #dlchat.

If you run the leaders yourselves, I wish you lots of enjoyment and success this year.  Looking at everything else that needs to be done, including introducing a new A-level, I wonder how to fit it all in.  A quick thank you here to my friend and colleague, Mr Lech who helps with all this.  But working with the students, and seeing how much they get out this, makes it very worthwhile.