It is easy to forget that pupils are an equal stakeholder in a successful programme and therefore pupil engagement is an equally important factor. You can’t just impose it on students and expect them to engage with it in the way you want them to. A clever school will engage their pupils by involving them from the very beginning of the planning process
It is vitally important to involve your pupils at every stage of the project. Harnessing their enthusiasm will make a significant contribution to getting the message home. However, students need to be made aware of the educational benefits of having a computer device at their disposal when at home rather than focusing solely on the hardware or the games they will be able to play!
It is still the case that many students will be a lot more technically proficient than their teachers when it comes to computers and software. By involving them in the device selection process and perhaps the evaluation of Apps and other software will not only provide a valuable contribution to the selection process but also have a very positive impact on their engagement with the programme as a whole.
Pupils need to value these new resources and to treat them with respect. They need to adopt new disciplines (such as remembering to charge their device overnight) and take ownership of their learning. They also need to understand that they should not expect to use the technology all the time but, as with other educational resources, as and when it is appropriate.
Briefing the students who will be involved in the programme will aid in building an understanding amongst parents of the children’s commitment. It is also a good idea at this stage to engage a group of students to assist with the planning and delivery of the launch event; this will be discussed more fully in the ‘launching & the future’ section.
Another highly successful idea is to use your most IT literate pupils as ‘Digital leaders’ to help their fellow pupils, staff members and perhaps parents as well.