Student Digital Leaders

Student Digital Leaders logoIt is my pleasure to keep in touch with teachers who are operating SDL initiatives in their school, with the aim of bringing together and showcasing all the stunning work that is going on in schools when students take on leadership roles to champion and lead the use of technology.

Sharing good practice

Some very enthusiastic primary and secondary teachers led by Sheli Blackburn and Chris Sharples are contributing news of their SDLs in action, their activities and the benefits of the programme here -  Do have a good look around the website and feel welcome to create an account and add your thoughts, when you've got your SDLs up and running perhaps.

Mark Anderson who is also a regular contributor to this network has shared a Dropbox of resources for teachers starting out with SDLs – full instructions as to how to access this are given within this blog post -

These teachers also tweet using the hashtag #dlchat if you can spare half an hour on a Thursday evening at 9pm, you'll see how active they are!  If you can’t join the chat in ‘real time’, you could always opt for a Twitter search on #dlchat  :)  There are some very interesting #dlchat sessions planned for the autumn with some very useful practice around delivery of the new computing curriculum (primary and secondary).

Recommended: Makewaves provides a route for SDLs to promote their work

Your SDLs themselves might like to start sharing their achievements and the impact they are having.  To this end, SSAT has partnered with Makewaves to provide students of all ages with a platform on which to post blogs, audio and video exemplars of their activities.  Basic Makewaves subscription is FREE - - simply use the promo code ‘Digital Leaders’ so that the Makewaves team knows that  the school is a member of the SDL network.  Then you’ll be able to make the most of looking around the Digital Leaders network on Makewaves –

Individual schools are already demonstrating some exemplary work which may help to get your students started! Lady Lumley’s School, North Yorkshire -

Lead Teacher

You will see from the presentation that the initiative needs to be lead by a teacher or group of teachers, who will be need to take on these responsibilities (as examples):

  • Developing a strategy for SDLs & gaining whole-school buy-in to the programme
  • Selecting students to be SDLs or operating an applications procedure with interviews etc
  • Training the students in the art of listening, communicating, diplomacy, evaluation and training techniques etc
  • Ensuring that meetings of the SDL group are held regularly and that minutes are posted for whole-school viewing
  • Liaising with parents of the SDLs and organising opportunities for SDLs to spread their expertise across schools in the locality etc
  • Seeking ways to promote the school's SDL activity - SSAT offers a number of opportunities at high-profile events!

Accrediting your SDLs' achievementst

The most exciting development currently underway is a Mozilla Open Badge accreditation scheme which has been developed through a partnership between teachers (Chris Sharples and Paul Scott), Badge the UK and Makewaves .. and which SSAT has been very happy to promote.  Teachers are also able to design their own badges using the Makewaves technology - see the Makewaves’ badge library -  for some ideas and inspiration perhaps!  This page illustrates how teachers are using the platform to design badges to reflect achievement within the primary Computing Curriculum

(There are Open Badges plugins for other learning platforms too … and other badging platforms like Credly – and more recently, the Badge Alliance - – but we are working with because of the growing network of SDLs as mentioned above but also because its technology offers opportunities for under-13s to earn badges and then to convert them to Mozilla Open Badges when they reach 13; because it is governed currently by strict US regulations, Mozilla is not allowed to offer Open Badge technology to U13s.) 

So some very exciting times ahead and confirmation perhaps that you would be joining the SDL initiative at a good time!

I can share a Dropbox folder of resources with you - please just email with a request - and this presentation on Slideshare, given at the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston in July, will also give you information and links etc


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