21st Century Digital Leaders

After reading Mary Bjerede’s terrific post:  http://getideas.org/thought-leader/21st-century-leaders-for-21st-century-learners/ , I began to consider where Digital Leaders fits into such a system as Mary proposes.

It is fairly obvious to me that there is an obvious ‘fit’ in Mary’s call for students to have “authentic learning… have students share their work with authentic audiences” and this in itself is a major step forward to improvements in education, in my opinion. Yet, is that it for Digital Leaders? Is that the sum total or the majority of the impact on young people when they are empowered in such a way? In other words, is Digital Leaders really just about authentic experiences for young people in a 21st Century learning model?

As you would expect my answer is absolutely NOT!

Digital Leaders provides students with authentic experiences but it is so much more and that is why I am convinced of its significance. Being a Digital Leader can:

  • Provide a strong community of learning and sharing based practice that is all about the students. In time, this can moved towards a model that is self-reliant and self-managed
  • Promote students into responsible positions. The positions provides them with-
    • Key experience in communicating, presenting, coaching, training, mentoring and assisting
    • Vital roles in development of practice, organisation, time, resource and people management
  • Give students a chance in school to apply their knowledge, skills and experience that is genuinely beyond that of the people they are working with including the teachers
  • Put young people in the thick of education practice, development and decision-making which allows them to truly see the complexities of decision-making in organisations

There are so much more depending on how the concept of Digital Leaders is applied but I think these show that it is not just about authentic experiences.

picture courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/emseetwo/5131980208