Become a School Digital Champion!

Are your students embracing digital technology in everyday life?

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Are your students interested in developing their technological skills?

If so, did you know that students could use their digital skills to make a difference in their home, school and wider community through the School Digital Champion Programme!

The School Digital Champions Programme is a government initiative (Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications) that helps to motivate and encourage students to use digital technology effectively and creatively. The programme is open to second level students to collaborate and create a digital skills project. Students are asked how they can use their skills and technology to help reduce waste, combat climate change, improve energy efficiency, promote digital inclusion, etc. This project can aim to help the home, school or wider community and involves training in many aspects of digital technology such as video editing, digital citizenship and mobile app development.

Not only does it provide an opportunity to develop skills, the programme also encourages students to take ownership of their project and showcase their creativity. Furthermore, students participating in the programme can avail of site visits to technological companies such as Facebook, Google, RTE studios, and Samsung to name but a few.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic may have temporarily replaced site and training visits with online virtual visits, one could argue that the pandemic has been advantageous when students are devising their digital projects. With an increased emphasis on digital learning (during the period of school closures) and the heavy reliance of technology for completing daily tasks, students have created many projects that aim to link their homes, schools and communities together.

One such example is that of my own students during the academic year 2019/2020 whose project aim was strengthen the connection between their school and their local community. The students decided on various approaches for this project including the development of short testimonial student videos, creating collages of their school using drone footage and increasing awareness of digital citizenship amongst the school community.

Deele College School Digital Champion Team at their training event in December 2019.

From my own experience, participation in this programme has been a valuable learning opportunity for my students. It not only provides them with an opportuntiy to develop a project, but it also fosters learner agency, leadership and student participation in many aspects relating to digital technologies within the school community. I would encourage students to become actively involved in such a programme to help foster the development of skills and showcase their creative projects!

Furthermore, the programme could also be aligned with the Junior Cycle Digital Media Literacy short course and can be used to help facilitate the learning experiences for some learning outcomes, particulary digital citizenship. It could also be aligned with Junior Cycle Coding short course with the development of computational thinking skills, use of micro:bits, mobile app development to name but a few. The possibilities of intergration with such learning experiences are endless!

If you are interested in getting involved, please see here for further information such as applications, training and showcase information.

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