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Digital leaders

In this video, we hear from Zainab Patel at the Olive Tree Primary school about their student digital leader programme to support staff CPD.
When introducing new technology to teachers for teaching and learning, for planning and designing learning for children, a school or senior leaders need to ensure that teachers have sufficient continued professional development to ensure that they are armed with the necessary skills and the confidence to be able to deliver teaching in this specific way. One of the big things that came up and questions from teachers was, ‘well, when I’m delivering lesson in the classroom with an iPad, sometimes the children know it better than I do.’ It was it was that balance between the teacher being confident enough to lose that control is alright if we’re not always in control and it’s also okay if a child knows more than we do.
These children have grown up with this technology; it’s the norm for them, it isn’t for us at this stage in our lives. So I thought why not use this opportunity to arm the children with the responsibility to support others but at the same time it meant the children would benefit in many ways. So a teacher is now able to come or approach a child three times a week at lunchtime and ask, ‘well, there’s a new feature on the iPad with iOS 12. I can screen record and it’s fantastic but every time I screen require record, I don’t hear sound. How can I make the audio work?’
and then the child would actually share that with the teacher and again it’s that adult to child support; the child becomes the teacher and it’s all okay. Our digital leaders are named iGenius. We have a whole job application process where the children are in year five and six or our nine to eleven year olds are provided with a job application and if they are interested in applying for a job as an iGenius, they have to complete the job specification. They put an application in and the application can be submitted in any format as they wish; they might do a keynote presentation, or a video, or a tutorial.
The children are then interviewed and during that interview process teachers will identify certain needs that they feel a child might develop over the course of their time as an iGenius. So it might be a child who’s fantastic using the device but might not have great confidence or might not be an effective communicator. So we use this opportunity to select children that we could then provide those opportunities for. So each lunchtime, the iGenius set up in their own dedicated space which we call the Genius Bar. We have a writable wall and on this space there are prompts for computational thinking, what our school provides for our children.
We have a timetable so what the genius bar is going to be running that week. It could be that the new iOS 12 updates come up and if teachers want to learn about new features that might be timetabled and teachers can sign up. Everyone can create, at the moment, that’s on the programme on the timetable because that’s a great new feature, great new elements to that; that will support great teaching and learning. So this happens on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday lunchtime and it means that teachers and students can approach our iGenius at any point during that period of time to troubleshoot or to learn new things.
We’ve had some great successes over the period of time our children have been able to spend as iGenius but one of the big things that’s really come out of this is that we know the children have these skills and we develop them with these skills over time but our children are able to stand up now and train others and it’s really helped develop their confidence, their communication skills, and their ability to be respectful towards adults and if an adult came up to them and said, ‘I don’t know how to do this’, our children would confidently support that adult without actually feeling like, ‘oh, I know more than an adult or I know more than a teacher.’
Being an iGenius helps develop my life skills so I can work with others, teachers and students and that will help me become an effective communicator. Being an iGenius means that I have a big responsibility and I get to learn the features of an iPad which helps learning and teaching. Over the last year, being an iGenius has really helped with my self-esteem and confidence. As an iGenius, I am able to collaborate with others.
In this video, we hear from Zainab Patel at the Olive Tree Primary school about their student digital leader programme to support staff CPD.

Key learning points from this case study

  • Skills and confidence development supports teachers’ use of new technologies
  • Create a job application process for children to become digital leaders
  • Support pupils to develop a variety of skills and knowledge through the role
  • Teachers can take their questions to the children for support
  • Provide a dedicated space for the digital leaders to be based and contactable

Thank you to Apple Education staff and Apple Distinguished Schools for creating this content.

Once you’ve reflected on the points raised with other course participants, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Campfire CPD in the cloud’ to view the final case study.
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Leadership of Education Technology in Schools

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