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ICT - Plug into pupils' skills

What it's all about

Jack moves around the crowded classroom, explaining and fixing problems. His fingers dance across the keyboards of laptops and PCs and skate over the smooth glossy surface of a handheld device. But Jack is not a teacher. He is one of my Year 5 (P5) digital leaders, writes Martin Burrett.

A growing number of schools are setting up groups of digital leaders to encourage and support these talented children to develop their expertise and enthusiasm for technology.

They support teachers with computing ideas and teach fellow pupils vital skills that will be desperately sought after by employers. In some schools, the teams get together to produce new ideas and work on projects. Most groups and their teachers are collaborating between schools at face-to-face events and over the internet, via Skype and blogging.

At every level, sharing and collaborating is key. Pupils want to report on their technological discoveries and are eager to show what they have been designing and creating at home and in school. Teachers are encouraged to swap ideas about what their digital leaders are doing.

There is also a weekly Thursday evening discussion on Twitter where teachers can talk about their ideas and what has worked well; the idea of sharing children's ICT expertise and grouping schools in clusters was developed on Twitter.

To set up a digital leaders scheme, go to www.digitalleadernetwork.co.uk and follow @DigitalLeaderUK on Twitter

What else?

Dan Roberts' practical ideas for the classroom include a tool for a web-based jump-off page to get pupils started in their research. bit.lyWebWonder

Check out TES 's range of whole-school ICT resources. bit.lyWholeSchoolICT.

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