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2011-2012 Ecole Edwards - Video technologies empowering student leadership findings

How can video technologies be used to empower student leadership?

 

This project investigated the use of video to provide leadership opportunities for our students and adult learners.  Through our grant, we were provided with video equipment to facilitate the creation of projects such as: student-focused daily video streaming as well as student-led editing of our morning announcements, the production of student-centered “leadership vignettes”, focusing on the 7 Habits of Happy Kids, the live-streaming of our spring music concerts, and the creation of teacher professional learning video clips.

 

Research Findings:

A culture of leadership permeates school community at École Edwards Elementary School.  The language of the 7 Habits of Happy Kids is commonplace and is simply, “the way things are done here.”  This project has led to an enhancement in the leadership opportunities our leaders have access to, including:

 

  • Our daily announcements are led by teams of students who deliver important messages, jokes of the day, and other important information to the school population through a video stream that is broadcast to each classroom via their SMARTBoard. These students are empowered to be leaders, and one way this is facilitated is through the opportunities to be “Announcement Leaders.”
  • Once the daily announcements are filmed, small teams of students become leaders of video editing.  These students have learned the skills to edit the video, add subtitles to help make the announcements more accessible, and music to add a dash of fun.
  • Work has been done in producing student-centered “leadership vignettes”, where a particular Habit is focused on.  These brief vignettes are available to be played in individual classrooms on-demand by teachers, and also play on the main television set in the school foyer.  It is expected that each year, more of these vignettes will be produced.
  • The live-streaming of our spring music concerts has been a tremendous success.  The days of our concert events provided our website with some of its highest-traffic days.  Through Google Analytics, as well as conversations and emails from parents after the event, we know that extended families across Canada (in every province) as well as internationally (USA, UK, South Korea to name a few), were able to access a live event at our school.
  • Teacher professional videos have been created, highlighting important elements pertaining to teacher practice, with a focus on our school-wide literacy framework, The Daily Five.  These videos are available on an on-demand basis on the Edwards technology wiki.

 

Recommendations for others

The use of video technologies presents a key opportunity to facilitate the cultivation of student leadership as well as providing greater access to school community events and professional learning.  As a school with a Leader in Me focus, we were able to empower our young learners to take authentic leadership roles in our school community as announcers, film crews, and video editors, sound and lighting leaders during our live-streamed concert, as well as many more.

 

More specific recommendations:

  • For each initiative you consider incorporating video technologies (ie announcements, concert streaming), be mindful to consider how student leaders can be empowered to carry out this work.  A staff member or parent Person Most Responsible (PMR) that will work with these leaders is necessary.  Once the required background work and learning of the skills is facilitated by the PMR, students will show they are capable of carrying out challenging tasks.  When students are given the opportunity to be fantastic leaders, they will be.
  • When student leaders are chosen for leadership roles, consider training multiple teams to allow for more students to enjoy the opportunities.
  • Build internal capacity around the technologies you use to ensure that you are not relying on a limited number of people for expertise.  This also allows for more accessible troubleshooting when problematic situations with the technologies arise.
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