‘I love being a Digital Leader because we get to visit lots of cool events where we can see and try out the latest technology. Sometimes the things we try are then introduced into school,’ so says a pupil from Lanchester EP in Durham. Even if events are in short supply this year, their skills are still vital.
At 2Simple we have recently launched our new Digital Leader Scheme. It is free to all existing subscribers and can be found on Purple Mash, our cloud-based, cross-curricular platform.
The Digital Leader Scheme has been in place for several years, but with the constant changes in technology and the current shift to blended learning, we have realigned the scheme to reflect what pupils and teachers need now. It allows children to get involved whether they are in school or at home
A Digital Leader Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for children to take on extra responsibility, learn new skills and develop and demonstrate leadership.
Martin Bailey, Digital Enrichment Lead at Lanchester EP Primary School, highlights the benefits of identifying children with a passion for technology who want to share their knowledge and promote all things digital throughout their schools.
Benefits for pupils
‘Digital Leaders can play a key role in carrying any school forward. We often empower our Digital Leaders to deliver training to our staff for example. When apps/sites come into common use it is important that staff understand the different features. The pupils are the experts and so the best way is for them to demonstrate new apps to us.’
His Digital Leaders also play a key role in informing future purchases for the school. ‘We take our Digital Leaders to BETT and to other EdTech events around the UK and beyond and always ensure that we get ‘pupil approval’ before making large purchases.’
The Purple Mash Digital Leader scheme
Pupils from any year group can apply and receive training and support to develop areas of expertise needed within your school.
If using the Digital Leader Scheme with Purple Mash children need to have a good knowledge of the software, be proactive in developing their skillset and have an enthusiasm for learning and sharing their knowledge with the wider community.
One of the perks of the Purple Mash Digital Leader Scheme is that termly challenges are set for schools. The in-built tools within Purple Mash allows Digital Leaders across the world the opportunity to share their work through the Purple Mash Digital Leader Blog.
Children can ask for advice, outline challenges and share what they are doing in school. There is also the functionality to set up your own Blog or Virtual Display Board so work can be shared with the wider school community.
Success in Slough
Castleview Primary School in Slough have set up a Digital Leader Scheme throughout their school using Purple Mash.
Clair Harris, Computing Coordinator, explained the impact and importance of the scheme: ‘The Castleview Digital Leader Team is truly amazing! The views and hard work of the team help influence the entire school and team members have a wide range of roles and responsibilities to fulfil.’
The children are leaders when they deliver assemblies, talk to parents, organise activities for Safer Internet Day and present at staff meetings and undertake activities provided by Purple Mash.
They help their peers in computing lessons and teach the Reception classes and provide the student voice at the Online Safety Committee.
Digital Leaders represent Castleview, meeting visitors and going on trips. In 2019, they even had the honour of speaking at an Online Safety Conference in London, where they wowed the delegates when explaining what they did in school.’
Hints and tips
If you are thinking of setting up a Digital Leader scheme, you need to :
- Build up excitement around the application process and ensure that this is transparent for all.
- Encourage children and give them short-term goals.
- Have a regular meeting schedule.
- Set challenges that are on-going to sustain interest between meetings.
- Think about how long they will serve for and use the Digital Leaders to interview, appoint and train the next batch.
- Make sure they can use hardware within the school e.g. visualisers, boards, physical computing resources.
- Ensure that they are all competent in using technology in your school, for example Purple Mash.
- Provide them with training when there are updates or new software and hardware in school.
- Once established, set up a ‘Help Service’ whereby teachers and staff can request the support of the Digital Leaders.
‘There is enormous benefit in having Digital Leaders to the other pupils in the class too.,’ says Martin Bailey . ‘They know that they have someone who they can approach who can guide them towards how to keep accounts safe and how to access and use school-based software. Digital Leaders also play an important role within lessons too as an additional person pupils can turn to for help and support.’
There are added benefits ‘Being a Digital Leader has really helped with my confidence,’ said one pupil, ‘I know that if I can stand-up and present to a room full of adults that I don’t need to be afraid of new experiences.’
Get on board!
Getting started with the Purple Mash Digital Leader Scheme is simple for Purple Mash subscribers. Just head to the ‘Teacher’s Area’ and here you will find all the resources you need.
If you are currently not subscribed to Purple Mash, visit their website here to start your 14-day free trial: 2simple.com/purplemash.