I have long been an advocate for authentic student voice and action. It is the driving reason behind the establishment of the Digital Leader program at Ivanhoe. Nick Jackson (@largerama) is driving this in Australia and I am constantly inspired by his dedication to the action component. Our Digital Leader program is in its third year and has gone from strength to strength. This is due to a combination of factors. Passionate students desperate to learn and share, great teachers like Jason Coleman (@jc_igs) and authentic opportunity for real action. A goal for this program was always to have students present at a conference. Just recently Ivanhoe hosted the TeachTechPlay conference and a highlight was the student participation. Our Digital Leaders were split into two groups. One group was to capture the conference through a Touchcast TV series and the other group was to create a student keynote video titled “From one learner to another”. Below is an image that I came back to after presenting my first session. It is four students self-organising and self-directing the project. It is complete ownership of their learning and an unbelievable level of pride in their work. When I first came across the board, I just stood there in admiration. It is an example of students who have been given the green light to take the lead, to try, to fail and to improve. It was one of my proudest moments as an educator.
Now you may think that these students are the cream of the crop and will always stand out but these students have faced real challenges with school and for them the Digital Leader program has helped give them voice, challenge and direction. I believe so much in student voice and action that I asked my Digital Leaders to co-teach my Touchcast session. The students absolutely rocked it.
We need more co-learning opportunities for teachers and students. The experience was so moving for these students that they are still on a high over a week later. The closing keynote for the conference was designed to show teachers that students need to see them learning. Students need to see teachers struggling with a concept, taking notes to connect thoughts, asking questions, using strategies to help make things click. The Digital leaders used GoPros, video cameras, cameras like pros and ended up creating the most amazing conclusion to the conference.
Hearing Mark Anderson’s keynote (@ictevangelist) where he talked about how the Digital Leader movement has grown from strength to strength in the UK has inspired me to connect our program with other Digital Leader programs. Nick Jackson does this really well through www.ozdls.com and the #ozdls hashtag on Twitter. If you have a Digital Leader program, please reach out and connect. This movement of authentic student voice and action needs to grow.
As always thanks for reading.