Post 5 of 7
Once the activities offered in Digital Ambassadors programme have been defined, it is time to invite students to participate. In this post, I share the most effective strategies I have used to ensure maximum participation and retention in the programme.
Reasons for inviting students
The Digital Ambassador programme I have designed is technically open to every secondary school student. However, I have found that inviting students to participate is beneficial for the following reasons:
- Selected students feel special, and are proud to have been selected
- It helps ensure an even distribution in terms of gender and age
- It shows students that the programme is a serious one
- It helps with long term retention and ultimately with the survival of the programme (can select students who are more likely to stay long term)
Selecting students to invite
Often similar programmes are started by newly appointed staff, making it somewhat difficult to choose who should be invited. It is possible to ask the following groups of people for help in picking students:
- Mentors (tutors)
- IT team
- Pastoral leaders
- Special student groups (e.g. Student Council members)
Sending the invitation
From experience, I find that sending personalised and physical invitation cards yields better results than a message in the daily bulletin, or email. It does take a bit of time to set up, but I have always found it worth it.
Here is a sample invitation I send to students (click on it for a PDF file – logo is copyright-protected).
Presenting the idea in a meeting
Students get invited to an information meeting about the Digital Ambassadors programme. It is a good idea to invite students who were part of the programme the previous academic year, either to renew their interest, present new initiatives and also to ask for feedback to entice new ‘recruits’.
Accepting students who were not invited
Some students may ‘slip through the net’ and, even though they were not invited to the meeting, may want to join the Digital Ambassadors programme. It is important to give those students an opportunity to do so. Sending an email, or an announcement through the bulletin system may be all that is needed.
It is important to repeat the invitation process every year, as inviting younger students is key to the longevity of the programme.