Digital Leaders – this year’s plan – Fully Qualified Digital Leaders

photoYesterday evening, I watched as some of our Lady Lumley’s Digital Leaders essentially ran the Computing Department’s Open Evening. Our Lead Governor for teaching and learning spent half an hour talking with them and there may be an invite to talk to the governors of our biggest feeder primary – Pickering Community Junior School.  Several students from PCJS immediately logged on to Makewaves and started showing their parents how they were using the site and enjoying using the social media tools with their friends. On Monday, LLS DLs will be running the Year 7 assembly and inviting up to 12 Y7s to join them as Digital Leaders in the next couple of years. On Tuesday I visited PCJS – part of a monthly commitment this year – to see their 25+ DLs working at their after-school club and discuss with their digital leader coordinator Mrs Gow about using Makewaves with years five and six and developing the use of Level 1 #DLopenbadges to show the achievements of PCJS digital leaders.

I have had several enquiries in the last week from Digital Leader Coordinators and an invitation from Makewaves to post a case study on the Makewaves Digital Leaders Network page. Rather than base the case study on what has happened so far, I thought it would be more useful to look ahead and see how the activities and projects in the next Clipboard01year can be underpinned through the use of badges and makewaves. Please read previous posts for full details of the #DLOpenbadges and the Digital Leaders framework.  One of the Platforms supporting #Openbadges is Makewaves, and it is free to use the Makewaves social media platform (when you join, email them to say you would like the Basic Package for Digital Leaders – The Basic Package is always free but they have also added in the network and the badges) for everything you need for your Digital Leaders now and in the future.  It enables your Digital Leaders to network between themselves and Digital Leaders in other schools, as well as to earn badges to become fully qualified Level 1 and Level 2 digital leaders.  The Missions are available as part of the badges here on Makewaves and a student sheet-by-sheet evidence collection guide here #DLOpenBadges_2015-04 Evidence excel spreadsheet

On Monday the Digital Leaders will present to the Year 7s. This will be the third year that Digital Leaders have done the recruitment – I only needed to be involved in the first year as, by definition, I didn’t have any Digital Leaders at that stage – and they do a much better job than I could do. [There is a shareable Prezi in my diary if you would like to use this as your starting point]. In fact, once you get involved with the digital leader bandwagon, it creates its own momentum in many ways. We are lucky enough to have Digital Leaders in the audience with two years experience already through the shared vision of teachers and students in our biggest feeder primary school. However, we are keen to be inclusive and make some places available to other students too – either from other feeder primary schools or maybe those who might have gained in confidence and are now prepared to make the commitment.

If you look at the slideshow, you will see that LLS DLs are now understanding that every activity that they undertake is another Clipboard02opportunity to build evidence for their badges. In fact, a commitment to help a teacher or a Department with developing the use of a particular piece of software or hardware can give a pathway towards four different digital leader badges.

The year sevens will be invited to join us for a regular weekly meeting on Wednesday lunchtime. If there are a lot of applicants I will need to use one of the application forms provided on the DLN Blog. Sometime in the next two weeks I will need all the Digital Leaders to update/fill in a new parental permission form [example in diary] for using photos and information on the variety of websites that we use as digital leaders. The new year seven Digital Leaders will need their Digital Leader lunchtime passes for Wednesdays and Thursdays too.

Our first activity will be to get the new DLs to register for Makewaves. Everything you need to run your Digital Leaders is free on the Makewaves Digital Leader Network. This includes their basic membership with profile pages, creating multimedia stories, taking part in regular badge challenges, and being able to comment on their friends’ stories as well as other digital leader achievements. In addition, to support the digital leader network, and still all free – Digital Leaders have access to other Digital Leaders on the DLN Makewaves DL Network; the ability to take the missions that lead to the nine Level 1 and nine Level 2 Digital Leader #dlopenbadges and upload the necessary evidence; and the ability to seamlessly add into a Mozilla Open Badge backpack to keep with them in the future.  All the evidence will be available to them in the future too.

Our new ICT area – three classrooms knocked into one open plan ICT suite – has just been finished for open evening. I will need LLS DLs to organise support by them every lunchtime. Every digital leader needs to show evidence of a regular commitment over a year towards their leader badge.

LLS teacher’s meet every Friday morning for 10 minutes of sharing ideas. LLS DLS have undertaken to learn WordPress (technician badge), make a tutorial (creator badge), and train the teachers (educator badge) each week so that they can post their evidence on the LLS good practice blog. For other examples of learning new software to help teachers, DLs may have have to start off by reviewing the software and thus gaining evidence towards the reviewer badge. For example, the maths department are interested in flipping their classrooms, and would like to follow the example of Dr Jones and record video clips of various mathematical teaching examples. Dr Jones uses a Mac, and is therefore keen for LLS DLS to review Windows screen recorders and then train the other maths teachers with their recommended choice.

Once these initial projects have been done, the Digital Leaders are going to share the Friday briefing and ask to be involved in similar projects with other departments.

Meanwhile, LLS DLS and I are continuing to explore Google Apps for Education.  We would have liked to use Google apps previously, but the 13-year-old age limit was an inhibitor with our year sevens and year eight digital leaders. Now we have our own Lady Lumley’s site and are able to use it for creating docs and slides; and share resources choosing exactly who has access or not as required.  I foresee Digital Leaders making recommendations to the senior leadership team on whether we can use Google Apps for Education across the whole school…

All the while, Digital Leaders use the Digital Leader badges and the associated missions on Makewaves to collect the evidence that they need2.1 to gain the eight Digital Leader badges ready for the ninth and final leader badge.

My vision for Digital Leaders in the next few years is that the year eight and older Digital Leaders will have responsibility for helping to train the year sevens (although having seen the skills of the Digital Leaders coming up from primary school I may have to rethink this…) Anyway, Year 8 DLs will be the most productive year for gaining their evidence for their badges. And then we have the luxury of fully qualified Digital Leaders in KS4 and 5… and will look to develop level 3 badges with our DLs doing most of the work and looking for projects outside of school to match their talents…

Please get in touch if you would like to be using the #DLOpenbadges to give accreditation to your Digital Leaders too… free to join and use on #makewaves

and #dlchat at 9.00pm Thursdays