At the start of the Changemaker Journey, Mel thought it was unacceptable that students were missing out on learning opportunities because teachers didn’t know how to use digital technologies and how to incorporate them into teaching and learning plans. She believes in a school where students and teachers learn from one another to provide learning opportunities that incorporate digital technologies in innovative ways, but at the start of the year, the reality was that only small pockets of staff were using digital tech other than laptops and iPads to support learning, and only seven staff had recently attended professional development on digital technologies. Mel decided to tackle the problem head on by recruiting students to help support staff with learning about digital technologies.
Mel researched current approaches in other schools to students helping to lead technology. Focussing on Student Technology Leader programs, Mel developed a framework and an outline of what these student leadership roles would entail.
Mel pitched to her school’s leadership team to present the vision and the framework she’d developed and invited the team to provide feedback, specifically around how best to sell this idea to the broader staff community. The leadership team suggested Mel include alignments to the Australian Curriculum in her pitch to staff, which she did. During the pitch to staff, Mel also addressed the group’s concerns about Digital Leaders ‘missing out on learning time’ in classes.
Mel (by this stage, aka Pitching Queen) then pitched the idea to students and set the expectations for the Student Technology Leader roles.
She contacted Generation YES who provided Mel’s school with a free trial. Students were able to sign up and get working through the GenYES units in small groups, whilst also working on their own individual projects that incorporated digital technologies with at least one other learning area.
The students developed a survey for staff to fill out, identifying their professional learning needs and how students might be able to help staff. Students connected with a number of the 11 staff who filled out the survey and who wanted immediate support. Students got to work and started learning about the technologies staff wanted support with.
To date, 20 students have begun the GenYES program and started completing TAPs (Teacher Assistance Projects). Three students have worked with teachers and/or created a resource for teachers, 14 students have supported teachers in class and 15 students have provided technical support for staff.
“One of our Year 7 students, who has a Negotiated Education Plan and is working at a Year 2 level in literacy and numeracy, has worked with our Year 4/5 teacher to show her how to use Ozobots. This has enabled her to see how she could use the robots in class to help her teach angles! It was also really empowering for the student as it provided him with a real life application for his skill and showed him that he can teach teachers!
Like the idea?
Mel would love your support for Students as Technology Leaders, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Mel and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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