Recently I was very pleased to be contacted by two pupils who I taught in Year 6 back in 2012, at Spring Cottage Primary in Hull. They just wanted to say “thank you for giving us a headstart in the world of Information Technology”. Joe and Tommy were selected to be digital leaders (we called them e-safety officers at the time), and are now enrolled on an ICT development course at college. “We created a set of guidelines for the other students within the school to follow.”Here, Joe and Tommy tell their story hoping to inspire the next generation of tech enthusiasts:
“Hello, Tommy and Joe here! We have being aspiring tech enthusiasts ever since we founded the e-safety officers programme along with two others students back in 2012, and have grown up loving technology ever since.
“The e-safety officers were entrusted with the task of raising the profile of ICT across the school and community. At the time, social media was becoming extremely popular, and of course has never looked back - especially amongst the younger generation.
“We set about by offering guidance to people, showing them how to be safe online. With the help of the CEOP’s resources, we created a set of guidelines for the other students within the school to follow. Our teachers - Mr Andrews and Mr Williams - helped us with initial ideas, but beyond this point it was up to us to start the project using the various hardware and software available to us in the school.
“As part of our studies within Year 6, we created a number of projects which involved various pieces of technology kit, such as filming and video editing to produce stop-motion animation projects. These were produced on laptops, which did a good job at the time. Soon after this, the school introduced iPads, which brought tech-knowledge to a whole new level. It allowed us to create some great content, such as digital posters and high-quality videos to share with both children and parents, in assemblies and displays around school.
“Fast forward to 2018, and we are both now enrolled on an ICT course at Hull College, which specialises in game design and technical support! As part of course we have been ask to look at blogs, and we remembered the blogging website Mr Andrews created in 2012. This got us thinking, and we later started to look up the blog posts for inspiration and ideas. We later emailed him to thank him for giving us a headstart in the world of information technology.
“IT has become a wide part of most people’s everyday life and there are always improvements and changes that can be made. In this rapidly-evolving technical world, we hope our story encourages more school to have digital leaders to keep driving these changes in the future.”
“In the future I hope to have a career in networking, and I’m specifically aiming to pursue a Cisco certification. Computers will always be a big part of my life, so I hope any job I end up doing involves some elements of IT.”
“Within the near future, my main career goal is to become an international, commercial airline pilot. This has been my career goal for many years now, but I have always been fascinated by IT and technology ever since Mr Andrews and Mr Williams introduced us to the newer technology within our last few years of Primary School. IT has become a large portion of my life, as on a daily basis I build my home computer, add parts, change applications and evolve my overall computing experience.”
Your own digital leaders
Digital leaders can raise the profile of, and inspire their fellow pupils in, the effective and safe use of technology in schools. Once you’ve appointed your digital leaders, either by applying through an application form and/or an interview, it is important to establish:
- Which days of the week and time they will be needed.
- When you have meetings and the goals you intend to achieve.
- Which year groups will be represented.
- Is the role termly or for the full academic year?
- Will the digital leaders help to appoint the next subsequent leaders?
- How you will review if they are an effective role model for others?
How best to get the ball rolling? The following list is by no means exhaustive, but some of these pupil activities could be used as starting points to get the digital leaders up and running:
- Create digital content at home.
- Write guides for others pupils to follow at school and at home.
- Run a lunch/after-school club for younger children, to teach them some creative skills using technology.
- Create posters on e-safety issues.
- Help to inform and enforce the school’s e-safety policy.
- Run a creative digital competition for children to do at home.
- Test school equipment (hardware/software).
- Ensure that devices are charged and ready for lessons.
- Keep devices software up-to-date
- Remove unwanted content from devices, such as photos and videos.
- Teach small groups of children, or even a whole class!
- Become an expert on a particular area, such a movie making, coding, augmented reality or animation, and use these skills to mentor others.
- Do an audit of IT equipment in the school.
- Raise the profile of being a digital leader.
- Run a parent/carer workshop.
- Help teachers to prepare screens for assemblies.
- Talk at school / network events.
- Offer in-class support across the school.
- Think of their own ideas - for the school, individual lessons, whatever benefits teaching and learning.
- Plan and deliver a ‘digital assembly’ to raise the profile of digital technology across the school.
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