Digital Leaders – this year’s plan – Fully Qualified Digital Leaders

photoYesterday evening, I watched as some of our Lady Lumley’s Digital Leaders essentially ran the Computing Department’s Open Evening. Our Lead Governor for teaching and learning spent half an hour talking with them and there may be an invite to talk to the governors of our biggest feeder primary – Pickering Community Junior School.  Several students from PCJS immediately logged on to Makewaves and started showing their parents how they were using the site and enjoying using the social media tools with their friends. On Monday, LLS DLs will be running the Year 7 assembly and inviting up to 12 Y7s to join them as Digital Leaders in the next couple of years. On Tuesday I visited PCJS – part of a monthly commitment this year – to see their 25+ DLs working at their after-school club and discuss with their digital leader coordinator Mrs Gow about using Makewaves with years five and six and developing the use of Level 1 #DLopenbadges to show the achievements of PCJS digital leaders.

I have had several enquiries in the last week from Digital Leader Coordinators and an invitation from Makewaves to post a case study on the Makewaves Digital Leaders Network page. Rather than base the case study on what has happened so far, I thought it would be more useful to look ahead and see how the activities and projects in the next Clipboard01year can be underpinned through the use of badges and makewaves. Please read previous posts for full details of the #DLOpenbadges and the Digital Leaders framework.  One of the Platforms supporting #Openbadges is Makewaves, and it is free to use the Makewaves social media platform (when you join, email them to say you would like the Basic Package for Digital Leaders – The Basic Package is always free but they have also added in the network and the badges) for everything you need for your Digital Leaders now and in the future.  It enables your Digital Leaders to network between themselves and Digital Leaders in other schools, as well as to earn badges to become fully qualified Level 1 and Level 2 digital leaders.  The Missions are available as part of the badges here on Makewaves and I have an-all-in-one mission evidence checksheet here.

On Monday the Digital Leaders will present to the Year 7s. This will be the third year that Digital Leaders have done the recruitment – I only needed to be involved in the first year as, by definition, I didn’t have any Digital Leaders at that stage – and they do a much better job than I could do. [There is a shareable Prezi in my diary if you would like to use this as your starting point]. In fact, once you get involved with the digital leader bandwagon, it creates its own momentum in many ways. We are lucky enough to have Digital Leaders in the audience with two years experience already through the shared vision of teachers and students in our biggest feeder primary school. However, we are keen to be inclusive and make some places available to other students too – either from other feeder primary schools or maybe those who might have gained in confidence and are now prepared to make the commitment.

If you look at the slideshow, you will see that LLS DLs are now understanding that every activity that they undertake is another Clipboard02opportunity to build evidence for their badges. In fact, a commitment to help a teacher or a Department with developing the use of a particular piece of software or hardware can give a pathway towards four different digital leader badges.

The year sevens will be invited to join us for a regular weekly meeting on Wednesday lunchtime. If there are a lot of applicants I will need to use one of the application forms provided on the DLN Blog. Sometime in the next two weeks I will need all the Digital Leaders to update/fill in a new parental permission form [example in diary] for using photos and information on the variety of websites that we use as digital leaders. The new year seven Digital Leaders will need their Digital Leader lunchtime passes for Wednesdays and Thursdays too.

Our first activity will be to get the new DLs to register for Makewaves. Everything you need to run your Digital Leaders is free on the Makewaves Digital Leader Network. This includes their basic membership with profile pages, creating multimedia stories, taking part in regular badge challenges, and being able to comment on their friends’ stories as well as other digital leader achievements. In addition, to support the digital leader network, and still all free – Digital Leaders have access to other Digital Leaders on the DLN Makewaves DL Network; the ability to take the missions that lead to the nine Level 1 and nine Level 2 Digital Leader #dlopenbadges and upload the necessary evidence; and the ability to seamlessly add into a Mozilla Open Badge backpack to keep with them in the future.  All the evidence will be available to them in the future too.

Our new ICT area – three classrooms knocked into one open plan ICT suite – has just been finished for open evening. I will need LLS DLs to organise support by them every lunchtime. Every digital leader needs to show evidence of a regular commitment over a year towards their leader badge.

LLS teacher’s meet every Friday morning for 10 minutes of sharing ideas. LLS DLS have undertaken to learn WordPress (technician badge), make a tutorial (creator badge), and train the teachers (educator badge) each week so that they can post their evidence on the LLS good practice blog. For other examples of learning new software to help teachers, DLs may have have to start off by reviewing the software and thus gaining evidence towards the reviewer badge. For example, the maths department are interested in flipping their classrooms, and would like to follow the example of Dr Jones and record video clips of various mathematical teaching examples. Dr Jones uses a Mac, and is therefore keen for LLS DLS to review Windows screen recorders and then train the other maths teachers with their recommended choice.

Once these initial projects have been done, the Digital Leaders are going to share the Friday briefing and ask to be involved in similar projects with other departments.

Meanwhile, LLS DLS and I are continuing to explore Google Apps for Education.  We would have liked to use Google apps previously, but the 13-year-old age limit was an inhibitor with our year sevens and year eight digital leaders. Now we have our own Lady Lumley’s site and are able to use it for creating docs and slides; and share resources choosing exactly who has access or not as required.  I foresee Digital Leaders making recommendations to the senior leadership team on whether we can use Google Apps for Education across the whole school…

All the while, Digital Leaders use the Digital Leader badges and the associated missions on Makewaves to collect the evidence that they need2.1 to gain the eight Digital Leader badges ready for the ninth and final leader badge.

My vision for Digital Leaders in the next few years is that the year eight and older Digital Leaders will have responsibility for helping to train the year sevens (although having seen the skills of the Digital Leaders coming up from primary school I may have to rethink this…) Anyway, Year 8 DLs will be the most productive year for gaining their evidence for their badges. And then we have the luxury of fully qualified Digital Leaders in KS4 and 5… and will look to develop level 3 badges with our DLs doing most of the work and looking for projects outside of school to match their talents…

Please get in touch if you would like to be using the #DLOpenbadges to give accreditation to your Digital Leaders too…

and #dlchat at 9.00pm Thursdays

Digital Leaders – a few students who help out or a great strategy to improve your school’s computing and ICT as well as develop your young people?

We now have a framework and complete set of Level 1 and Level 2 Digital Leader Open Badges. These are available for consultation during September and will be available via the Makewaves platform from the beginning of October.








I would like to outline my vision for developing Digital Leaders in my school and our main feeder primary using these badges. I want my students to qualify as level 2 Digital Leaders in the next 12 to 18 months. I also want the plan to be sustainable to continue producing Digital Leaders with ongoing capacity to improve ICT within both schools.

I am not going to worry about Level 1 badges. I know my Digital Leaders have been working and are capable of working at Level 2 and that is what I am going to get them working on.

There are nine badges:


The Leader badge and the overall qualification can only be awarded when the other eight badges have been earned.

We meet tomorrow for the first time this school year. These are some of the activities we will discuss:

– agree a regular lunchtime for training and ‘hanging out’
– decide on tutor times to meet regularly (I want Digital Leaders to learn to run their own meetings)
– planning an introductory assembly for the new year 7s (part of the Presenter Badge)
– updating and getting new DL permission forms signed
– volunteer for, and organise, a rota for Digital Leaders to support the home learning club at lunchtimes (a regular weekly support commitment is essential for the Leader Badge)
– hold a teacher focus group to find out needs and requirements for training and support this year. This will drive a succession of badges for individual Digital Leaders through the year – Reviewer > Technician > Creator and Educator will all follow from this needs identification and working with individual teachers and / or departments through the year
– have initial training on earning badges on Makewaves including being a Networker and a Reporter
– eSafety is now a much greater part of the computing curriculum and I hope to develop this aspect further this year (Safeguarder Badge)
– individual Digital Leaders to create some sort of plan for each term so they can monitor their progress and achievement
– we will be using Google Apps for Education as well as Makewaves to carry this out

And some Digital Leaders will be looking through the new mission statements to see how they have already gained the evidence required during last year.

Anyone else interested in running a similar project in their school in the next year – please contact me via the contact form or @gr8ict on twitter. Come and find out more on twitter using the tag #dlchat at 9-9.30pm on Thursday evenings.

Y7 Digital Leaders are welcomed by PCJS Digital Leaders 

Our DLs know they are special, because due to the hard work of Mrs Gow at Pickering DLsY3T3_PCJSCommunity Junior School, we have Digital Leaders in our biggest feeder Primary School as well as at Lady Lumley’s.  We had heard exciting news about the new ICT suite at PCJS, so we were looking forward to seeing the new room.
However, it is about developing young people rather than the technology, so as you can see from the comments below, there was greater excitement about seeing friends and ex-teachers.


Launch of Digital Leader Open Badges – #DLBadges

Welcome to all #dlchat, DLN blog users and anyone who coordinates – or is planning to coordinate – a group of students to help encourage better use of ICT around school. We now have a framework for accrediting digital leaders at three different levels and badges will be ready to use from September onwards.

all badges

Paul Scott and I have been writing a framework for Digital Leader Open Badges with support from DigitalMe and Makewaves. We now have a framework, badge designs, and have started developing the step-by-step tasks needed for students to complete each mission and gain a badge.


#SSATACH14 Delivering the Computing Curriculum with Digital Leaders and Open Badges

Introduction to #OpenBadges from Lucy Neale, DigitalMe


Using AppFurnace

My Digital Leaders have trialled AppFurnace and we are now rolling it out to all of Year 9 (and Year 8 and 9 next year).

See where I will build up user links
and Kudlian Soft for details for getting it for your school.

As far as I know, it is the only mobile phone app that has a player for both iOS and Android – published by Calvium.



Final Badges completed and Reporter Missions are live …

We now have a L1 and L2 framework, with ideas for L3 (L3 is harder to construct…), and to show how Digital Leaders can progress over time, we now have live Reporter missions at Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Here are the first Digital Leaders badges which follow the framework as part of a coherent Digital Leader qualification:

dlb001-2x120     dlb002-1x120     dlb003-2x120

L1   L2   L3

Go to the Digital Leader Network on Makewaves to find out how to join (for free) and have your DLs follow missions and be awarded badges.

Creating a shared Digital Leader Framework including Missions and Badges

Here is the link for the Digital Leader framework work-in-progress, and please read and comment, but also read below for the context…

There continues to be a great of interest about Digital Leaders shown with #dlchat, DLN, and DLN Makewaves, with increasing numbers in primary schools and to a lesser extent, secondary schools – see briefing sheet for summary. However, what we need to do is bring together the different experiences of digital leader coordinators and share good practice. Following discussions with @triches, @chrismayoh and @naace at #bett14 this year, @Pederosa and @gr8ict have been working together, with encouragement from @triches, to make a start.

Our aim has become:
“an easily understood framework for running digital leaders in years 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8/9 that encompasses current practice, breaks it down into small tasks, and means that digital leaders can progress through these key stages developing their leadership and technical skills. This means potential digital leader coordinators will have an easy route into starting digital leaders at this important stage in the new computing curriculum. It will also enable the use of digital leader #openbadges with simple and shared criteria (missions) for digital leaders to progress over a period of time in both primary and secondary schools”.

At my Leicester talk I was asked for a definition of digital leaders. I suggested:

“A team of enthusiastic students who work with teachers and students on regular or one-off projects to improve improve learning with digital technologies”.

And I showed a mind map of current practice:

Digital Leader Roles and Skills mind map 29-01-14

I am working with a group of North Yorkshire schools to continue to develop a network of digital leaders in North Yorkshire, following North Yorkshire Digital Leaders’ Conference – #DLNY13 – 21st June 2013.


Developing and Implementing Digital Leaders – Leicester Jan 2014

“Developing effective digital leaders in your school
– A practical guide, illustrated with examples of what works well and what doesn’t work so well…
Click on slideshare and download the ppt to read the commentary as well as the slides.
Digital Leader Briefing Sheet – also linked from DLN Blog

Context – why you might be thinking about digital leaders
Setting up and running Digital Leaders – practical examples and resources
Projects – examples and ways of working, but you’ll think of your own…
Effectiveness, motivation and sustainability – not just digital leaders but also the coordinators…
Beyond your school … Working with a wider community, sharing experiences and the bigger picture
Accreditation through Digital Leaders badges – a sustainable way of Digital Leaders gaining credit for the roles and skills they develop.

Mind the Gap – we need a Broad and Balanced Computing Curriculum

Chris Sharples recommends that we should focus on a broad and balanced computing curriculum, which includes computer science, but is not taken over by it. We need to find new ways for young people to demonstrate the digital skills required by employers.

Ahead of BETT14, I was invited last week to a Stone Group roundtable debate hosted by Simon Harbridge, CEO of Stone Group. There was a broad range of people from industry, education and non-profit organisations, with a brief to develop concrete suggestions to “How do we bridge the gap between education and the real world?”.



This is a question that I am always trying to address as a Head of ICT in a North Yorkshire comprehensive.  My colleagues and I need a broad and balanced computing curriculum to continue to offer pathways for our students into a spread of IT industries.

I do not recognise our ICT curriculum as being “boring” or “clearly inadequate” (Michael Gove, “What does it mean to be an educated person?” 09-05-2013) and neither have OFSTED who in their last two visits judged our ICT lessons “outstanding” as did our LA using the new framework in July.