The use of Digital Leaders (DLs) in schools is not new and I have been training and working with Digital Leaders for over 20 years. My earliest recollection of utilising children as Digital Leaders was in 1995 where I had 4 children in Year 6 who helped me organise the ICT equipment at my primary school. They were also responsible for designing, writing and publishing a termly publication for children in the school containing examples of their work and after school activities they engaged in. This ran for 2 years and was well received by staff, pupils and parents.
There are many definitions of Digital Leaders but in most schools they are pupils trained to be technology experts and advocates who act as ambassadors and peer mentors for staff, pupils and often parents. Ideally, they are given the opportunity to develop their technical skills and knowledge within and beyond school, meeting regularly to plan and reflect on the activities they undertake.
What Is the Impact of Digital Leaders?
Digital Leaders can have an impact across the whole school.
Being a Digital Leaders can develop a pupil’s communication and collaboration skills, self-esteem, resilience, presentation skills and a range of technical skills pertinent to the technologies used in their school.
Digital Leaders can support teachers in lessons leading to teachers using a wider range of appropriate technology with greater confidence and improved progress and attainment for pupils. In some schools the Digital Leaders have supported, or independently delivered, extra curricular computing or ICT clubs improving the progress and attainment of attending pupils.
Digital Leaders can help develop staff skills, knowledge and understanding of identified technologies in school by supporting or delivering staff CPD sessions.
They have been used successfully to engage parents in technology projects and sessions around the use of technology and Online Safety. Digital Leaders can support or deliver content during targeted parent events and create technology focused articles that are shared through physical newsletters, online publications and social media feeds.
Digital Leaders are often used to manage technology across the school or in a dedicated space such as a technology suite. This could include setting up specific technologies for lessons and assemblies and ensuring they are suitably stored after use.
Using Digital Leaders in this way can relieve some of the pressures on teachers, teaching assistants or subject leaders who normally have responsibility for preparing and managing these technologies.