Today was the first day of trialling a new approach to Student Digital Leaders (SDLs). During Term 2, I spoke with our SDLs about developing resources for teachers to use in their classrooms, but no one really seemed interested. All they wanted to do was ‘play’ with the technology. Those that did have a go needed a lot more scaffolding than I originally thought. So, I gave up on the idea and let them focus on developing their building and programming skills in order to get ready for FIRST LEGO League later in the year.
This term, however, I am determined to develop their leaderships skills as well as their technology skills. We have so many resources across our site that aren’t being used and then I hear teachers from other schools wishing for just a fraction of what we have. I believe that the SDLs can contribute to solving this problem over time.
Today was Day 1 with the first group of SDLs – there were six Year 6/7s and one Year 4. I thought it would be fairly easy working with this small group, particularly seeing as another teacher was supporting us. But again, the scaffolding was more than I imagined. We started by discussing all of the technology that we have available in our school and students were able to mention the obvious – laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards. And then, they were stumped! With a few prompting questions, they were on their way and listed a lot of what we have available: Minecraft, Spheros, LEGO Mindstorms, Pivot, Scratch, Littlebits, Hyperpad, Ozobots, Beebots, Drones, MaKey MaKey and 3D Printers. From there, we talked about how we could find out about what’s being used and how we could get more being used to support learning. The first idea was to installing cameras and surveil staff! After some more prompting questions, they decided that they wanted to survey staff and students. We agreed that five questions would be plenty whilst not asking too much time from staff. After splitting into two groups, the SDLs developed their questions and included possible responses.
Originally, I had planned that even weeks would be when students focused on the leadership aspect and odd weeks would be when they completed their own projects to develop their tech skills. However, we were 45 minutes into the session today when we had finished developing the survey questions and I could see their interest was waning. As a result, the structure will change to each session having a 45 minute leadership component and a 45 minute project session.