education-technologyA new way to address digital citizenship in your school

It seems that technology is a constant source of stress for teachers at school.

If it’s not the pressure to integrate technology into their teaching, it’s the social issues related to students’ use of site such as Facebook, Tumblr or Formspring and apps such as SnapChat.

Far from enhancing communities and making education a more technology driven, social experience, many schools are building bigger barriers to shut out the issues that social media and technology bring into school.

Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that teachers must understand this technology first before teaching the kids.

But what if we flipped this idea?

What if, instead of teachers, it was students who lead the technology learning in your school? Is this even possible?

A few months ago I became aware of Digital Leaders, and they believe so.

Digital Leaders are students chosen for positions of responsibility in school related to technology and have teachers work with, and to guide them.  Think Peer Support Leaders, but with a tech focus.

In the UK, Digital Leaders has already seen enormous growth with a national spread of schemes working in a variety of ways across many schools. In one Northern city alone, there are over 50 primary schools with their own Digital Leaders.

Students who become Digital Leaders not only get to utilize their digital skills but become active in teaching and learning in their school – that’s what I call engagement.

There are many examples of how Digital Leaders are making a difference in education. A few of the ways Digital Leaders is working in the UK see kids,

  • assisting teachers in the classroom in their use of technology (the guide-on-the-side role);
  • getting involved with Professional Development by showcasing and training teachers in technology;
  • presenting at conferences,
  • organising and hosting their own conferences;
  • running helpdesks and assisting technicians.

If you’re interested in learning more, or want to get involved in the Australian roll-out of Digital Leaders, you can register your interest at http://www.ozdls.com

At the very least it’s got to be worth a conversation hasn’t it?

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler