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Empowering Students to Be Digital Leaders

By June 12, 20172 min read

Originally posted on Tim Huls‘ Medium site here.

“Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Educators have been outsourced by YouTube” Matt Miller -Ditch that Textbook

Need proof? My two sons, ages 15 and 13, pulled a 1947 John Deere “A” tractor home from the iron graveyard; tore it apart and had it running in a week. How did they do it? An iPhone and YouTube.


There is no question that the use of technology can enhance student learning and creativity. Standards have been adopted by districts across the country to help schools keep up with the rapid advances in technology on a global scale. Educators are realizing that they are being tasked to prepare kids for professions that don’t even exist yet. In reading this, one may think that the education profession is in jeopardy. For those educators and institutions that are not willing to adapt, innovate and give up control; then yes, you best be searching for a new career. Those teachers that are willing to guide, encourage and empower; you are on the right track.

Don’t let the fact that your students know more about technology than you do scare you. In fact, this is where your role as a teacher comes into play the most. You now have the job of teaching them how to use technology responsibly. Empower your students to create content and lessons that interest them. Make it personal. Use social media to help you. YouTube is social media. Use social media to connect to experts around the word to share their stories and knowledge. If you are wanting to use social media in your classroom, but are still wanting a “safety net”, I encourage you to check out Class Intercom.

 width=Class Intercom is a platform that allows students to generate content through your school’s social media account(s). Student content is submitted and then approved prior to being posted. I’ve seen this platform in action and it has amazing educational value. Students can generate Twitter, Facebook and Instagram post to tell your school’s story. Use student posts to teach syntax, semantics and proper grammar. Use Class Intercom with your Journalism and Digital Media classes to create “quick hitter” informational posts. Elementary teachers can designate a “daily reporter” empowering students to post and share what they’ve learned throughout the day.

George Couros mentions in his book titled The Innovators Mindset,

“We have the world at our fingertips, the ability to connect and create with people around the globe…yet what do most schools focus on when talking about technology? Cyberbullying and digital safety”

Good or bad, social media is where this generation of students gather their information. Let’s help students focus on using social media to make a positive impact. Want proof that this generation of digital natives is capable of using social media in a positive way? Check out Hunter Radenslaben’s story.

Technology will not make our jobs obsolete as we continue to teach and practice LEADERSHIP lessons learned from the generations before us. Innovative educators are needed now more than ever as we empower future generations to be DIGITAL LEADERS.

This blog post was written by Tim Huls the Principal/AD at Hampton High School in Hampton, Nebraska. Follow Tim on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TimmyHuls 

Jill Johnson

Over her 30 year career in education, Dr. Jill has served in various roles including secondary ELA teacher, professional development consultant, and high school administrator. After completing her doctoral study, Technology Leadership Qualities in Secondary Principals in Nebraska who Support Student-led Social Media Teams, Jill began her tenure as Class Intercom President.