This summer, Jennifer Casa-Todd and I launched the (free) Empowered Digital Leaders online course for educators, and our first incredible cohort has just graduated. We’re looking forward to inviting the second cohort in October and further growing the community (more information below).
In May 2019, the initial idea for the Empowered Digital Leaders programme was sketched and storyboarded at the Google Certified Innovator Academy in Sydney. Although the Media By Example brand has grown beyond it, this online course has always been central to the vision and mission. Teachers, after all, play a pivotal role in scaffolding students’ use of social media and nurturing young digital leaders. The course is designed to empower teachers to become inspiring digital role models who can lead by example and confidently integrate social media to enhance teaching and learning.
For this part of my Media By Example project, I teamed up with Jennifer Casa-Todd (author of the brilliant Social LEADia). We share a passion for student digital leadership and bring unique, complementary experiences to the course. Working with Jennifer on this collaborative project has been an absolute joy! The summer launch was the result of many months of Zoom calls and weekend planning meetings. It all paid off and we were thrilled with how it went. Now the planning continues as we refine the course and get ready to welcome the next cohort!
The four-week course is divided into four modules, organised around the digital leadership descriptors as outlined in Social LEADia:
Module 1: An Introduction to Digital Leadership
Module 2: Learn and Share Learning
Module 3: Empower Others and Promote Important Causes
Module 4: Make a Positive Difference
Each module includes video lessons, discussion prompts and activities. Jennifer and I thought carefully about offering meaningful tasks while respecting teachers’ time and existing workload.
“The Empowered Digital Leaders online course is masterfully designed to stretch your thinking about how you define your mission as a social media role model for your students. You will be energized by the resources, discussions, and expert leadership of Jennifer Casa-Todd and Adam Hill.”
Christia Osborn-Preston, K-5 Humanities and Technology Teacher
The course is designed to be completed asynchronously, but we sprinkled live sessions throughout the four-week period. Although it’s a challenge to coordinate these across all time zones, the synchronous sessions were very well received and we stay committed to them for Cohort 2. These were particularly great for rich discussions and community building. Jennifer and I certainly appreciated this time with everyone, even if we had to stay up late/wake up early!
To be honest, facilitating the course was more time-consuming than I had imagined, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! It was a conscious decision to be present and active throughout in order to offer the best, most valuable learning experience for everyone. We made an effort to provide timely feedback and respond to all posts. We were also fortunate to have such passionate participants who enjoyed the discussions and enthusiastically responded to each other too. I learnt so much from all of the amazing conversations!
We were delighted with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the first cohort. That feedback, as well as our own reflections, helped us to identify some ways that we can refine the course and make it even better next time. We’re working hard to put these exciting new ideas into action.
We will be accepting applications for Cohort 2 at the beginning of October, ready to launch on October 10th. Be sure to follow Jennifer and me on Instagram and Twitter to ensure that you don’t miss the announcement. For those educators who are already on the waiting list, we will offer you exclusive early access. Follow the instructions in the email when you receive it next week.
“The course has changed my perspective and opened my mind. It has given me so many ideas on how to guide my students in their path to learning the positive use of social media and how we can learn together to leave a good digital footprint for the future.”
Pilar Hernández, Chemistry Teacher
For more course information, click here and explore the Empowered Digital Leaders website. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or reach out on social media.
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