Turning pupils into teachers

In recent months we have heard lots of news stories about the perils of the Internet, and how teachers and parents must be educating pupils in the do’s and don’ts of online activity, but are we forgetting one obvious group of educators?

As young people, we all took more notice of our friends than our parents and teachers at one time or another, so it would make sense to utilise this valuable peer group when it comes to e-safety too.

Ofsted recognise the power of peer mentoring and have included this as a feature of good and outstanding practice in their ‘Inspecting e-safety in schools’ briefing document.

Easier said than done!

There are one or two ways that this could begin in the classroom. By encouraging students to create their own resources that can be shared with younger pupils is one option. Or perhaps, involving students in the development of the school e-safety policy, giving them some responsibility for spreading good practice.

Outside of the classroom, why not follow the example of the Digital Leaders group from St Wilfrid’s School, who are not only interest in all things IT, but are also socially active students, with influence within their peer groups.

Without wishing to state the obvious, we can also learn a thing or two from the younger generation ourselves. No-one knows the latest apps being used by young people better than they do, so ask. Then check out the apps yourself and have a class discussion about them. They will doubtlessly know more than you, but it's ok to explore the pro’s and con’s together.

If your school has taken the bold step of treating your students as leaders and helped them to develop their own e-safety teaching resources, you may want to consider entering the Youth Manifesto Competition. This is an EU initiative to encourage shared good practice in e-safety education and learning. Find out more at www.youthmanifesto.eu/competition.

To help others learn from your students, why not let us know which apps are popular in your school by using the comments section below. We can share your thoughts with fellow teachers and all learn from the digital generation.

Written by E-safety Support on July 24, 2014 08:08

Digital Leader start-up at St Wilfrid’s in Featherstone

St Wilfrid Digital LeadersThe Digital Leader scheme came out of an idea from a network manager’s course that I attended. I saw it as having potential to both assist me in my role and at the same time provide a fantastic opportunity for the interested students who volunteered to take part.

So, during our annual 'Activities Fair' I set up my stall with sign up slips to express interest, a few nice posters and some hand-outs and decided to test the interest of Year 8. My plan was to start small with just eight or ten students, who could do the job until Year 10. Next year I could take on another group from Year 8 …and the following year another. After Year 10 students would finish to concentrate on Year 11 exams. So that the total number of Digital Leaders in school would grow to a total of roughly 24 to 30 students from Years 8, 9 and 10.

The outcome of the exhibition was that I might have ‘oversold’ it with almost half of the 280 strong year group signed up. So then I had the dilemma of whittling these down to just a few.

Using our VLE, I decided to get those signed up to reply to me via internal email with a sentence or two on each of three questions:

  • What they thought a ‘Digital leader’ might do

  • What interests them about computer and internet technology the most

  • What they thought that they might get out of being a Digital Leader
  • Most didn’t reply, one or two were silly, some had obviously not ‘got it’ and I soon quite easily came to ten students.

    Our first Digital Leaders ‘mission’ is now out of the way, which was specifically to engage parents in Safer Internet day a couple of weeks ago. We invited in parents for two possible sessions, one in the afternoon just before school finished to attract parents who might ordinarily pick their kids up from school and a second session later in the evening. Parents booked into each session online. The team prepared Parent Packs (of which 80% was material taken from the resources available to us by subscribing to E-safety Support. The value of this content was very easily offset in just one go if I had to account for the time that it would have taken me to produce these resources myself). They also rehearsed little bits of interjection into the presentation where they would offer information and personal experiences to support facts outlined in the PowerPoint.

    These talks were a great success and the feedback we collected was extremely positive. We concentrated on giving parents the most practical advice, information, and resources that we could so that they could actually all go away and do something straight away to help their own particular e-safety scenario at home.

    We are currently on a little one week special project ‘break’ to design a pin badge for ourselves as Digital Leaders, which they will be allowed to wear on their blazers. The ‘team’ have had a couple of short lessons in how the school’s wired and wireless networks are put together involving tours of server rooms and comms cabinets on the site.

    This week we are going to split into two groups, one starting to do some basic Python coding and another in looking at supporting some of the technology that we already use in classroom environments.

    Over the coming weeks and months, we will be telling you more about the Digital Leaders projects and how the students are taking a lead role in e-safety awareness around the school.

    To find out about the inspiration for the project, click here.

    Written by Digital Leaders on March 27, 2014 10:38

    Digital Leaders at St Wilfrid's School - How It Began

    St Wilfrid Digital LeadersEarly last year, at a Network Managers Course, I came across the term ‘Digital Leader’. It was used by the speaker Robert Bashforth in reference to projects started by Chris Mayoh of the YHGfL. He used the term to describe one way of raising the profile of e-safeguarding issues in schools by developing a team of students to get involved and work in doing the job with you.

    Obviously, they would have to have an interest in the issues in the first place, but then have to go on to gain the knowledge required before they are actually able to support their peers and also the staff in all matters of e-safety. They also talked about these students as helping to ‘push’ and also support digital initiatives to their peers and teachers as specialist leaders in using technology in the classroom environment.

    Well it all sounded like a good idea, but then I could not really see what the students themselves might get out of the process and where their motivation would come from to volunteer to do this. Therefore, I asked Robert and others over the next few days and did a bit of ‘Googling’ and saw that actually the ‘Digital Leader’ projects that were already happening in little pockets here and there around the country, seemed quite a viable proposition. I researched some other areas where having a ‘Digital Leader’ type of student might prove of benefit around school in issues that were generally related to computing and computer use. I also started to realise where the students involved might benefit from being involved and that it might actually appeal to and interest a few of our kids very much indeed.

    We just happened to have bought around 100 iPads in school and a couple of staff went on courses to learn how to get the most of our ‘new’ technologies. Staff needed to learn about getting away from the traditional computer suite or laptop trolley scenarios in school, particularly when not specifically teaching IT. However, any expertise did not seem to be being spread around school effectively and we seemed to be stalling a little.

    Education news came out last year saying that, specifically in IT courses, Mr Gove, (the Education Minister), would rather have IT courses that concentrate more on teaching ‘Computing’, (programming and more ‘under the bonnet’ technology), as an alternative to the more traditional Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is a fact that as a nation, we are already falling short of people coming out of education who can fill these types of technical computing jobs.

    Well it so happened that the Head of the IT Department had just bought a few Raspberry Pi computers with the aim of maybe setting up a little school club. He wanted to attempt at getting some basic coding into the curriculum, so here was an opportunity maybe to start teaching students to get interested in computer coding and some control projects too.

    And so, at our annual Activities Fair, the Digital Leaders project began.

    At E-safety Support, we will be following the Digital Leaders project to share their ideas and solutions they find to e-safety issues in their school. If you would like to share your school's experiences, please email tinae@e-safetysupport.com

    Written by Digital Leaders on March 27, 2014 10:37


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