We live in a world that is characterised by abundant information, advanced technology, a rapidly changing society, greater convenience in daily lives and keener international competition. Therefore, it is important that all stakeholders are proactive and take a leadership role in identifying how ICT can enhance our education system, particularly in the areas of teaching, learning and assessment.
Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020
This document is a statement of the aims and objectives, principles and strategies for ICT in Springdale National School. The policy was first developed in 2017 and reviewed in 2018 through a process of consultation with the teaching staff. The Board of Management approved the policy in 2018. This policy will be fully implemented as of September 2018.
Relationship to the Characteristic Spirit of the School
Our vibrant school community is welcoming and inclusive. There is a motivating and nurturing environment where students are encouraged to broaden their experiences and to make the most of their many talents. Parents and teachers work together in striving to motivate and inspire all children to love learning and to maximise their development in all areas. We believe that ICT has a significant role to play in ensuring that each child reaches their potential.
The purpose of this policy is to provide an overview of ICT in our school and to set out our general aims and goals in delivering ICT to the pupils. Our policy provides us with a framework for long and short term planning which will be of benefit to the teaching and learning of ICT in Springdale National School. Our policy provides information for all teachers, the Board of Management and parents of the approaches and methodologies being used in the teaching of the ICT, emphasising the key messages of ICT.
Springdale National School recognises the potential of ICT as a method of enabling all children and teachers to engage with the curriculum in a deep, child-centred and creative way. We are aware of the rapid development and the increasing complexity and range of uses of ICT (much broader than just computers), the increase of interactive technologies in schools and the development of communication through broadband.
We are confident that the existing ICT infrastructure will enhance the learning opportunities of our pupils in an atmosphere of self-worth, self-belief and self-motivation. We recognise the success of ICT training in raising the profile of ICT within our school and in enthusing teachers. We aim to develop and strengthen the use of ICT in our school to support learning and teaching.
Historically our school has facilitated the provision of ICT through 2 to 3 networked desktop PCs in each classroom. In 2017, the school began a process of upgrading these PCs. Each PC is run off the Windows 7 operating system and has the Microsoft Office 2010 suite. Creating projects, touch typing and research using the internet is encouraged in this way.
Between 2015 and 2017 Edanu, in collaboration with class teachers, facilitated a number of lessons for pupils focusing on coding, Stop Go Motion animation, iMovie and Book Creator. It was decided that the procurement of mobile devices could greatly increase the accessibility of ICT and benefit the day to day curricular learning of our students. In early 2017, Springdale National School purchased 16 iPads. A portable wireless router was also purchased to facilitate online access.
In line with the general educational philosophies of the school, effective provision of ICT opportunities will attempt to generate in the children, a sense of fulfilment, while experiencing the benefits of ICT to facilitate creative expression and academic achievement. As well as being an important educational resource, the ability to use ICT effectively is a vital life skill in modern society. We want our pupils to become independent, autonomous learners who are confident and competent using technology.
Through the use of ICT our pupils will be enabled to:
• gain competence and confidence in using ICT
• develop thinking skills and problem solving strategies.
• locate, gather, synthesis, analyse, reconstruct, communicate and present information.
• experience deeper analysis of concepts and processes.
• gain more control over the direction of their learning.
• collaborate on joint tasks both face to face in the classroom and online.
• develop creativity.
• engage in learning out of school in other settings.
• gain access to internet, interactive learning resources and whiteboards to facilitate cross-curricular learning.
• develop information handling and research techniques thereby enriching project management and presentation skills
Uses of ICT in Springdale N.S.
ICT will be put to use in the following ways:
• School Administration-pupil details, standard letters, newsletters, book lists etc., Aladdin software
• Adventure games that stimulate higher order thinking skills and problem solving, e.g., Words Rock, Baggin’ the Dragon
• Word Processing of children’s work
• Research on the internet
• Communication via email
• Music composition and digital recording
• Drill and Practice software/apps: e.g. literacy and numeracy
• Software for SEN pupils e.g. Word Shark, Number Shark.
• Embed ICT in the half yearly and fortnightly plans.
• Digital presentations
• Filming eg. iMovie
• Animation eg. Stop Go Motion
• Book Creator
• In keeping with our mission, we perceive ICT technologies being used as a tool of teaching and learning in each classroom. All computers are networked to our own internal network, including networked printing.
• Our current broadband provider is Eir, as dictated by Department of Education and Skills Schools Broadband scheme. We have e-fibre broadband and an Apple AirPort Express to facilitate ease of access for pupils and teachers
• The school has used CAT-6 caballing when installing the access points
• We currently have 16 Apple iPads, stored centrally in a charging trolley
• Each classroom has a data projector, interactive whiteboard and teacher laptop.
• The office is equipped with a PC, colour printer/scanner.
Current Usage of Facilities
• iPads are used at all class levels through whole class instruction using Cocoon, during literacy and numeracy stations and in SEN settings
• Current usage includes early reading work and early number work; mathematical application; development of thinking and problem solving skills; word processing, desktop publishing; use of typing skills; internet work; presentation of project work; creating art work; spelling; development of fine motor skills and movie making.
The integration of ICT is possible at many different levels and in various areas in Springdale N.S. Interactive boards in classrooms allow teachers to use a fully integrated approach across all curricular areas.
Opportunities for children and teachers to engage with the curriculum are provided in the following ways:
• Using high-quality interactive activities enables deep learning in all areas of the curriculum.
• Word-processing packages encourage the Draft-Edit-Publish approach to both creative and functional writing. This keeps the child in control of his / her own creative effort throughout the process and enables him / her to maximise creative potential.
• Internet research enables child-centred learning in a wide variety of topics across the curriculum.
• Engagement with animation software (e.g. Stop Go Motion) supports much talk and discussion as children collaborate to produce artwork that integrates Literacy, Mathematics, Music, Visual Art, Drama and SESE.
• Engagement with problem-solving software, e.g., Baggin’ the Dragon, encourages the development of concepts in various curricular areas while also stimulating higher-order levels of talk and discussion.
• The interactive whiteboard allows the children to interact with onscreen resources in a child-friendly way.
• The school website provides an opportunity for teachers and students to publish and celebrate their work. The site is updated regularly and reflects the many activities and projects in which the school is involved.
Expected Skill and Learning Outcomes for ICT at each Class Level
Cocoon will be used to formulate our E-learning Plan across all levels.
• iPad Familiarity; Competency using keyboard; Airdrop; Write Stories; Competency using Drill Software
Navigating software by entering, exiting, closing, choosing options using touch screen and swiping
• Navigate the interactive whiteboard using the wand
• Learn about internet safety
1st & 2nd Class
As above for Infants and:
• Log on to educational websites such as BBC and Channel 4 to explore content, play interactive games and search for information at an age-appropriate level. Sites to be chosen by the teacher and placed on Favourites list.
• Continue to develop use of interactive whiteboard activities.
• Develop basic coding skills using programmes such as Daisy Dinosaur, Scratch
Middle Classes (3rd and 4th)
As for junior classes, plus:
• Develop further use of Microsoft Word tools such as WordArt, Copy and Paste, Spellcheck, Justify / Centre / Align Left, Print.
• Use of Microsoft Excel to manipulate data.
• Publish creative writing and project work on the school website.
• Learn to create folders, store and file work in different locations and retrieve it when necessary.
• Learn to use an Internet browser to search for information.
• Use Internet interactive learning sites, e.g. Brainpop, Mr Don, to deepen and enhance learning across the curriculum.
• Use Microsoft Paint to create artwork.
• Participate in at least one specific ICT project per year, e.g. Photostory, Clay Animation, Webcasting.
Senior Classes (5th and 6th)
As for middle classes, plus:
• Learn to exploit further features of Microsoft Word such as choosing different fonts, changing colours, using text-boxes, creating columns and simple tables, etc.
• Learn to copy and paste from one file to another.
• Contribute reports to the school website.
• Explore more advanced educational websites.
• Continue to learn about safety on the Internet, especially with regard to social networking sites.
The Internet as a Resource
The internet provides a wealth of educational resources that support the strands of the Irish Primary School Curriculum. Appendix 1 of this document contains a list of useful websites for this purpose. For a more comprehensive list of websites that support particular curriculum strands please refer to the relevant Springdale National School curriculum policy.
Every class, from Junior Infants to Sixth Class is timetabled to use the iPads weekly. The class teacher is responsible for ensuring that the iPads are replaced in the storage trolley safely after use. This enables the charging of devices thus facilitating maximum use of the equipment. Children may work individually or in pairs. The SEN team have been furnished with the timetable and have access to the iPads during any free slot.
Health and Safety
In all classrooms consideration is given to health and safety in the location and positioning of equipment.
The following issues are also addressed:
• Position and posture of the child.
• Children should be seated correctly at the iPad.
• When using the iPad the child should be able to sit upright on a chair which gives some back support, having their arms roughly horizontal when using a keyboard.
• The child’s body should face forwards, not twisted sideways.
Please refer to our ICT Acceptable Use Policy and our Health and Safety Statement for further information.
Provision for pupils with SEN in Mainstream
As a school we are deeply committed to providing the best possible learning experiences for children with special educational needs. ICT has an important role to play in this commitment, as it facilitates deep engagement with the curriculum and caters for a variety of learning styles.
PCs and iPads are available for use in the SEN settings and children are encouraged to use them extensively.
Teachers shall familiarise themselves with the variety of graded levels within suitable software in order to provide differentiation and cater for children with special educational needs within their classrooms.
The Board of Management is happy to fund the purchase of special software or other equipment as necessary.
There are a range of accessibility features the following is sample that can be used on iPad:
• Guided Access
Guided Access helps students with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay on task. A teacher or therapist can limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button, and even restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen. So wandering taps and gestures won’t distract from learning.
• Speak Selection
Hearing a word as it’s being read can help with comprehension for a wide range of learners. Speak Selection can read a student’s email, iMessages, web pages and ebooks out loud. Double-tap to highlight text in any application, tap Speak and the device reads the selected text. Students can have words highlighted as they’re being read so they can follow along. And the voice’s dialect and speaking rate can be adjusted to suit students’ needs.
iBooks Author gives teachers a way to create customised learning materials for iPad to support a wide range of learning needs. Features like multicolour highlighting, notes, search, study cards and the glossary help students be better organised and better prepared. Built-in review questions give students an immediate assessment of their knowledge so they understand where to focus more study time. iBooks supports VoiceOver, Speak Selection and closed-captioned videos to help all types of learners.
Equality of Access
All children will have equal access to the use of ICT across the curriculum Children of all ages, ability levels and backgrounds will have equal access to ICT resources.
Continued Professional Development
The current members of staff have received training on the use and educational application of ICT, through initial teacher training, summer courses, evening classes in the local Education centre and day-release seminars provided by the PDST. In addition, the staff members regularly contribute to each other’s professional development in ICT through advice, demonstration and informal discussion. 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.
Roles and Responsibilities in ICT
The ICT co-ordinator will:
• Provide leadership and direction.
• Play a key role in the drawing up of a whole school policy for ICT in collaboration with all staff.
• Support, guide and motivate colleagues in the use and development of ICT across the curriculum.
• Advise staff on ICT training and support which is available to them.
• Ensure that the use of ICT is managed and organised to meet school aims and objectives.
• Contribute to the monitoring and evaluation process.
• Keep up to date with recent developments in ICT and advise colleagues appropriately.
• Source and update ICT software/apps.
• Identify and assess new approaches to the use of e-learning
• Report technical problems to Principal.
• Monitor the work being carried out in ICT throughout the school to ensure progression.
• Complete action plan for dissolving boundaries project.
• Monitor and update the school website.
The class teacher will:
• Assess pupils’ skills.
• Share ideas, resources, skills and practices with fellow teachers on staff.
• Integrate ICT throughout curriculum.
• Have read the schools internet acceptable use policy.
• Inform the ICT post-holder of any technical problems and resources which need replacing.
• Ensure that all resources borrowed by them from the computer room are returned.
• Post updates on classwork to the school website.
Assessment, Recording and Reporting
Children’s use of ICT is assessed and recorded by the class teacher using:
• Formative assessment – observing and questioning during classroom activities
• Summative assessment methods – collecting samples of children’s ICT work
Teachers will report on a child’s progress to the next teacher
• by discussing progress
• by passing on samples of work
Teachers will report on a child’s progress to parents through discussion during formal parent teacher meetings.
Teacher Planning and Reporting
• Teachers will consult our e-learning plan and the curriculum documents when drawing up short and long term plans.
• Where it is meaningful and suitable, ICT will be integrated across all curricular areas.
• Cúntas míosúil will assist in recording work covered, in evaluating progress in ICT and informing future teaching. It is agreed to tick short term plans as a means of indicating work covered.
ICT in the Home and in the Community
An increasing number of children have access to computers in the home or through their out-of-school activities.
Where appropriate children will be given opportunities to make use of ICT resources to:
• Carry out research to support classroom work and projects
• Use suggested websites provided by teacher to support learning
• To complete work begun in school
Springdale National School’s website (www.springdale.ie) is updated regularly with current information regarding events and ongoing work by pupils in the school. It is also used as a tool for informing and involving parents in their child’s education.
It was set up in 2016/2017 with the help and guidance of Dave McMahon. A ‘Soft Launch’ of the site took place in April 2017. It is envisaged that our website will better aid the communication in the wider school community. Teachers will be encouraged to keep a blog from September 2018. Lesley Cahill will coordinate regularly with Dave McMahon to ensure that content is up to date and that changes are made accordingly.
Purchasing of new equipment will be undertaken by the BOM in consultation with the middle management team. This will be guided by the evaluation of the ICT plan, budget constraints 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 effectiveness of the I.C.T. policy will be assessed through:
• Continual observation
• Staff feedback
• End of year review and recommendations
As ICT is such a valuable tool for learning and curriculum implementation, its use is continuously under review by the teaching staff. Matters such as the website, new software, timetabling and difficulties with equipment are discussed regularly at staff meetings.
A formal review and updating of the policy will be undertaken every two years by the staff or sooner if necessary. The Board of Management will discuss the outcome of such reviews and ratify them as it sees fit.
Ratification and Communication
The Board of Management ratified this revised policy in June 2018. Copies of the policy will be circulated and communicated to all members of the staff and a copy will be available on the school website.
This plan was ratified by the Board of Management on_____________
Chairperson Board of Management