Sunday, 7 October 2012

Digital Leaders in the Modern Classroom.

I remember when I was a primary school student and the buzz that surrounded the arrival of a computer to our small village school. It think it was an Acorn BBC Model, which at the time was a big deal in the UK. I remember the thrill and excitement in the school community about this new, intriguing and somewhat alien arrival. The individual classes got the computer for one week a term and what a week it was! It was indeed a brave new world in education.

A cartoon from 1986.

However, by high school, the image of the "computer geek" had been born and most students at my school didn't choose to do "Computer Studies" nor were they encouraged to do so. Indeed there were more students in my Latin class than there were in CS. Most of us were beginning to get technology in our homes (my first computer was the magnificent Toshiba T1000) but this and my academic life were distinct and separate. Computers were eventually part of university life of course, whether it was Word for the work and Doom for the play but even then, my knowledge of this area was solely for my own use. Only recently have I been sharing what I know (and often admitting what I don't) with my peers and students as a tech mentor and I have been wondering what I could have learned and shared before now.

In the past few months I have read numerous blogs and articles about "Digital Leaders" being appointed in schools. These are students that can offer insight into what they think is important in their digital learning. They give advice to teachers, discover the new things that we as educators do not possibly have the time to do and are committed to peer to peer mentoring in the classroom.

In short, not only are they being chosen for their love and interest of all things technological but they are being celebrated for this. One school has even started this in the infant school. The teacher created a blog asking children if they would like to be a Digital Leader. The response was overwhelming, even from the younger children. One child simply stated that they want to be a digital leader because "I like helping people. I like meetings. I like computers." (Note the order!)

Scouring the web, we can find a remarkable amount of blogs and references to students in similar positions in schools. They are proud of their role, committed to becoming part of something innovative and exciting and happy to be an active participant in their own learning.