Letting Students be the Leaders – Blog 5

Last year our division began to allow student owned devices to be used in the schools.  The problem with bringing devices into the school setting is there are not many teachers out there that know how the technology can be used effectively in the class or they have a fear of the technology itself.  In our school this led to students using their devices for personal rather than educational uses.  Over the course of last year these handheld devices become a distraction for the students and a management issue for the teachers. 

 To try to help combat this issue with personal devices, I started a project with my Computer class.  Not only was I trying to find a way to get them to be the leaders for technology in the school, but I was trying to find a way to engage them in their learning, because I understand that using technology can lead to improved student learning.   I decided to have the students be the researchers and teachers of the technologies they use.  The project was set out so that the students had to teach others in the class not only how to use the technology, but they had to show how it could be integrated into their other subjects. 

 I try to keep myself updated on new technologies, but find it difficult to keep up with everything.  Having the students take the lead provided me with a way that students could work within their own context.  Thomas & Brown (2011), state that students learn best when working within their own environment (p. 79).   By having students work with technologies that they are familiar with it achieves this goal.  I believe that this also fits into the idea of ‘play’ that helps allow for experimentation and learning.  Students spend a great deal of their personal time with these technologies,  Allowing students to work with these technologies in school would surely seem like play to them. 

 Students were truly excited about teaching their classmates, and especially me how to use some of these technologies.  Each group of students discovered multiple ways that their technology could be used within the classroom.  Each of their ideas fit well within the subject area and curriculum.  By doing this project students gained capacity.  They now have the capability to discuss with their teacher how a project can be differentiated in a way that they can use the technologies that they have at their disposal.   I am looking forward to their next set of presentation on a new set of technologies.  My hope is that their teachers will give up some control and let the students be the leaders in regards to the technology.   


Curtis, P. (2005, September 13). Report reveals teachers’ fear of classroom technology. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/sep/13/schools.news1

Grunwald and Associates. (2010). Educators, technology and 21st century skills: Dispelling five myths. Retrieved from http://www.waldenu.edu/Documents/Degree-Programs/Full_Report_-_Dispelling_Five_Myths.pdf

Thomas, D. & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Seattle, WA: Create Space.

About pjstokes

I like just about all sports...mainly participating in them. I have also recently taken up photography as a hobby (the background pic is one of mine).
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2 Responses to Letting Students be the Leaders – Blog 5

  1. Pam Baji says:

    What a wonderful piece of learning you gave to your students Pat. Good for you. You displayed the ultimate in leadership skills by giving up control, letting your students take the lead and enabling them to take the assignment to where it naturally developed, all the while tapping into some real areas they were passionate about.

    We are now in an era where students really do know more than we do about technology and they have access to so much more information than any generation of students before them that we will have to let go of the “sage on the stage” idea of teaching.

    Thanks for sharing this refreshing idea with us. Like you, I hope other teachers take your lead by letting their students take the lead.

  2. Carly Abraham says:

    I like projects like the one you described. And it’s so applicable to your school! You could do a project like this in any class and get the kids (and teachers) to embrace technology for a specific subject. Awesome. Maybe you could get your class to present to the staff?

    Keep up the good work!

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