First Steps to Digital Leaders

We have wanted our own digital leaders for a little while, but after seeing Sheli Blackburn, Mark Anderson and Chris Sharples presenting at BETT with their digital leaders, we knew we had to get them started soon.

The year 4 and year 5 class have two ICT geeks as their teachers; they have also used Chromebooks for nigh on a year (the rest of the school had this rolled out to them in November); they were the first to get blogs as a trial, and have been forced encouraged to try new software, websites and programs at the behest of their teachers.

To this end, it was only fair (and made sense) for these two classes to have the opportunity to become the inaugural Digital Leaders at our school.


We explained the role and put a questionnaire on each blog.

We received 32 applications (there are 65 children in the two classes – pretty good response rate!). Interviewing 32 children would take a lot of time, so we whittled down the applications to 21 based on their responses, as well as what they had done either on the blog or at home with Google Docs.


As well as Louise and myself, our headteacher wanted to take part in the interviews too, showing exactly what a prestigious role this is. The children were asked to show something they had produced online as well as explaining how they did it safely (not using copyrighted pictures, for example). They were also asked a couple of questions, generally along these themes:

  • how/why has ICT helped your learning?
  • how would you feel explaining how to do something to a different class/school?
  • which website/program/software is your favourite and why?
  • how has blogging helped your learning?

The range and depth of the responses was genuinely brilliant – it was clear that the children had thought carefully about what they wanted to share, while the confidence shown by some was surprising in the best way possible.

The interviewees were discussed and 16 children were chosen to be the first Digital Leaders at our school. The successful candidates will be told during Friday’s celebration assembly.

What next?

  • The Digital Leaders will have their own blog to post updates on their work.
  • A weekly after-school club will begin to discuss new software, apps and websites.
  • Their first job will be to lead a blogging club (a lunch-time free-for-all where all children can come and blog)
  • Plans are already being made to go into a local school to share their knowledge about Google Apps.
  • Badges for areas of specialism will be agreed with the children.
  • Digital Leaders will be asked to assist children (and teachers) during their class blogging sessions.
  • Share progress with the Digital Leader Network.

All in all, it is a very exciting time for these children. Their enthusiasm about ICT, and the difference it has made to them, was infectious. Let’s see where it goes!


With thanks to Sway Grantham who shared lots of her resources on Digital Leaders.


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