As well as being an important educational resource, the ability to use ICT effectively is a vital life skill in modern society. “Our aim is to produce learners (pupils and teachers) who are confident and effective users of ICT”.
We intend to achieve that aim by:
- 1)Ensuring that ICT is incorporated into all subjects on the curriculum
- 2)Helping all children to use ICT with purpose and enjoyment
- 3)Helping all children to develop the necessary skills to use ICT for their educational purposes
- 4)Training children with SEN to use assistive technology where granted to enable them to access the curriculum
- 5)Availing of CPD opportunities for Staff Training in the area of ICT.
We are aware that, “Teaching at all levels of the educational system must keep abreast of the potential created by the new technologies for the process of teaching and learning. It is increasingly important that a basic appreciation and understanding of the modern information and communication technologies is fostered in young people, from their early years in school up to the completion of their education’ 1992 Green Paper on Education
Why does our school require ICT?
- Technology is a prominent part of our students’ lives outside school. Computers play a major role in today’s society. Therefore, it is essential that pupils are provided with the opportunity to use a computer.
- The pupils in our school need to be IT literate.
- Computers provide easy access to, and retrieval of useful information and provide a broader network of communication.
- We want to provide the best possible education for all our pupils.
- We want to provide a powerful and up to date teaching resource for all our teachers.
- ICT will be used for more effective administration.
- ICT will be used to help children in need of learning support and in receipt of Resource hours.
- ICT will be used to provide more effective communication with parents.
- ICT will be used to communicate with teachers and pupils in other schools.
- ICT will be used to prepare children for life in a technologically advanced workplace.
- We recognise the huge positive potential of ICT as a cross-curricular resource at primary level
To what use will ICT be put?
- School Administration-pupil details, standard letters, newsletters, book lists etc.
- Drill and Practice software: e.g. English, Maths, Geography
- Training in Keyboard and Word Processing skills and printing of children’s work.
- Research on the internet. Children will learn how to search the internet. Children will be taught how to skim, scan, sort, record and report information researched.
- Communication via email / messaging / Text-a-parent
- Storage of Records e.g. Micra-T & Sigma-T Results.
- Software for Special Needs pupils e.g. Word Shark, Number Shark.
- Software for more able pupils.
- Scratch and coding websites eg. code.org
- The mode of instruction will attempt to generate in the children, a sense of fulfilment, while experiencing the benefits of ICT to facilitate creative expression and academic achievement.
Advantages of ICT:
- The most up to date information may be accessed speedily.
- Presentation of work is greatly enhanced and choice of how to present work is facilitated.
- Pupils with special needs are greatly empowered though use of ICT.
- The Internet can be a very effective Teaching tool.
- The computer has endless patience when used for drill and practice applications.
- The computer can allow for individual differences.
- All children find computers a fascinating source of learning and they can cater to a wider range of learning styles, eg. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.
Summary of School Audit
- The school is equipped with 5 interactive whiteboards – 3 in mainstream classrooms and 2 in Learning Support rooms. All of these computers are networked and have broadband access to the internet.
- There are 7 computers in the school, one in the Secretary’s office with a photocopier and scanner, one in the Principal’s office, 2 in the Middle Room and 3 in the Senior Room.
- There are 4 teacher laptops and 5 laptops for students’ use.
- In September 2015, 5 additional notebooks and 5 ipads were purchased from Green IT.
- There is one mini ipad purchased in December 2014 with money fundraised by carol singing.
The school has acquired a comprehensive library of computer software and is consistently adding to this based on the strengths and needs of the students.
Current Usage of ICT for Pupils:
- Current usage of software includes reading work; typing skills; internet work: scanning and presentation of project work.
- Computers are used regularly as a medium of teaching and learning in all classrooms across all curriculum areas.
- Computers and appropriate software are used extensively in the Resource Rooms.
- ICT is used to connect and communicate on a monthly basis with our Erasmus + Project partner schools in Finland, UK, Spain, Italy, Poland and Romania by way of email, e-twinning, skype and flash meetings.
We recognise the potential of ICT to enhance the learning opportunities for pupils with Special Needs. Children with specific writing, reading and numeracy needs are using ICT to provide alternative and complementary educational experiences.
Students who have been granted ipads through Assistive Technology use Communication Apps and relevant Literacy and Numeracy Apps.
- At present, 4 students with SEN have ipads granted to them under assistive technology.
Exceptional Students: With the advent of Broadband and an increase in the number of computers in individual classrooms we see an opportunity to use ICT to challenge and extend the educational opportunities for pupils with above average attainment.
At present an external contractor carries out essential maintenance. Ideally we would like to have a maintenance contract but this is not possible at present for financial reasons. The caretaker ensures that lenses on data projectors are free of dust by cleaning them once a month.
Health and Safety Aspects:
- INTERACTIVE BOARDS, LAPTOPS, ALL PLUGS SHOULD BE PLUGGED OUT EVERY AFTERNOON BY THE TEACHER AS SOON AS HE/SHE IS FINISHED WITH EQUIPMENT. This is to avoid boards being damaged as a result of lightning/electrical fault etc.
- Children are only allowed access to the WWW in supervised situations. The NCTE Broadband installation program is providing external centralised firewall. Content filters have been added to the network.
- Obviously unwanted material is deleted immediately and teachers have been asked to immediately inform the ICT co-ordinator and/or write it down in the incident book in the computer room.
- Children are taught form an early age that they do not give out any personal details like surnames, addresses, phone numbers etc. Every effort is made to invite a speaker speaking on the topic of ‘Cyber Bullying and Safe Use of the Internet’ to the school annually.
- Dedicated power points have been installed for all computers, and fused plugs used.
- Blacked-out blinds have been fitted in the classrooms.
- With Broadband there will be free internet access for everybody using school premises – the school has an Internet Acceptable Use Policy in place.
- Parents of students who have been granted ipads under Assistive Technology are required to sign the school’s Acceptable User policy before the technology is sent home
The Schools’ Goals Regarding ICT
Our long-term aim is that technology be used to support the teaching and learning in all areas of the curriculum and in all classrooms. We want our students to become active users and beneficiaries of technology rather than passive consumers of it. We aim
- To promote a positive, masterful attitude to technology
- To promote imagination and creativity
- To develop problem solving skills
- To facilitate cross-curricular learning
- To motivate children to collect, enter and interpret data
- To encourage children to communicate more effectively
- To develop project management and presentation skills
- To develop co-operative skills through participation in ICT projects that demand the pooling of skills and interactive development of ideas and material
- To train pupils in the use of scanners and digital cameras and their software packages thus enriching their multimedia experience
- To train pupils in the use of certain software packages that are directly relevant to their areas of education, from Juniors to Seniors
Staff Professional Development
The staff are familiar with the software appropriate to their own class level. Staff have access to all software which is stored centrally in the Learning Support room. We have a very open and inclusive attitude to staff training and skills development in our school and we endeavour to provide any and all opportunities for staff development. All teachers use some of the technologies. Teachers support each other and SNAs employed in the school provide huge support.
All of our staff avail of Summer CPD courses and are encouraged and facilitated to attend relevant courses in local Education Centres: Athlone, Galway and Tuam.
In 2014-2015, all staff availed of In-School support from SESS in the area of ‘ICT and Special Needs’.
What should be taught in ICT to pupils in our school?
- Names of computer parts: monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer etc.
- Basic care of a computer.
- Manipulating and controlling the mouse using software for painting games, jigsaws etc.
- Finding letters and basic words and early maths skills
- Reading programmes.
1st & 2nd Class:
- Revision of computer parts.
- Turning on and off a computer.
- Opening & closing files.
- Use of space bar & return keys.
- Using shift key for Capital letters.
- Using Microsoft Word to type a few sentences.
- Changing font type and size.
- Saving to file.
- Using Clip Art, Inserting images
- Using educational software to reinforce class work.
3rd & 4th Class:
- Revision of work done in 2nd class.
- Typing practice.
- Word Processing-correcting mistakes, spellcheck, etc.
- Formatting text.
- Saving to other devises.
- Microsoft Excel: creating spreadsheets; using tab key; alphabetical order; autosum etc.
- Using appropriate educational software to reinforce class work.
- Using Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.
5th & 6th Class:
- Revision of work done in middle standards.
- Formatting text-borders, margins, tables.
- Importing from Paint; Graphics.
- Using the Internet under supervision.
- Researching internet for projects
- Sending messages under supervision.
- Using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Prezi and Movie Maker.
- Using appropriate educational software to reinforce class work.
Children receiving Learning Support:
- Using recommended literacy & numeracy software
- How to access and use Educational Material on the Internet
To improve Broadband connectivity networked throughout the school
To actively promote community involvement in the educational activities of the school with respect to ICT
To maintain the high ICT profile of the school by continuing to advance the developmental work carried out over the past few years
To continue staff development in ICT
To add to the software and hardware base as required
To invest in one digital camera and one mini ipad per class
To increase the level of staff sharing of resources via School Network.
Timeframe for Implementation
The area of ICT is reviewed at regular intervals by In-School Management and a short written review is furnished at the end of the school year outlining progress made. ICT will be prioritise over the next 2 years for fundraising.
Purchasing of new equipment will be done by the BOM in consultation with the Principal and the ICT co-ordinator. This will be guided by the evaluation of the ICT plan and Department of Education guidelines. Advice on purchasing will be sought from various areas. Cost comparisons between different agencies will be viewed with special relevance to backup service.
The school website was set up in October 2015 as www.eglishns.com
School newsletters and other news items will regularly be added.
School policies will also be added to this site.
Children’s class work is published using their first name only for identification purposes.
Class photographs will be published without names.
ICT Co-ordinating teacher
The role of ICT co-ordinator is held by a post holder, Ms. Siobhán Fitzgerald. She assumes the role of ICT advisor, providing leadership in ICT throughout the school.
Ratified by School Manager in December 2015
This policy will be reviewed in November 2016.