Information and Communication Technology Policy
‘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
Scoil Naomh Áine has been a part of ICT development since the 1990’s. Initially each classroom had been equipped with a PC and appropriate software in line with the NCTE’s teaching skills initiative. As a staff, we later decided that we would endeavour to equip each classroom with a minimum of three computers. This vision became a reality and within a number of years the school has become a centre for development in educational technology and we are endeavouring to keep knowledgeable in the world of ICT. The school is now a leading advocate of using computers and interactive boards as new and exciting classroom tools which are available to all teachers and to pupils from the earliest age possible. In recognition of our commitment to ICT the BOM and the Parents Association have made some extra funding available for the installation of interactive boards into our 8 classrooms.
Integrated technology in teaching and learning across the curriculum is a new challenge which we feel must be met in Primary Education. We aim to develop skills in our pupils to enable them to live and work in an ever-changing world. We, as teachers, recognise the potential of ICT as a cross-curricular resource at primary level. In line with the general educational philosophies of the school, we will attempt to generate in the children, a sense of fulfilment, while experiencing the benefits of ICT to facilitate creative expression and academic achievement.
Scoil Naomh Áine’s philosophy is that each person, through positive learning experiences will be stimulated to achieve to his/her potential, face life confidently, find fulfilment and be respectful in an ever-changing world. The introduction of interactive boards in our school has been an important development in the learning and interactive education process. We are confident that this new pedagogic tool, along with the existing ICT infrastructure, will equally enhance the learning opportunities of all the children in an atmosphere of self worth, self belief and self motivation. This should indicate our positive endorsement of the benefits of multimedia educational strategies.
Computers play a major role in today’s society. Therefore, it is essential that pupils are provided with the opportunity to use a computer. They also have opportunities to use iPods and digital cameras. Computers provide easy access to, and retrieval of useful information. Computers provide a broader network of communication. All children from Junior Infants to Sixth Class have access to computers and interactive whiteboards. All staff members, evaluate curricular-appropriate online resources for their classes.
- To promote a positive attitude to technology
- To use computers and interactive boards as tools to enhance further learning
- To facilitate cross-curricular learning
- To develop basic keyboard skills
- To promote imagination and creativity
- To develop problem solving skills
- 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 certain online games that are directly relevant to their areas of education, from Junior Infants to Sixth Class
- To enthuse pupils so that computer skills are seen as relevant, coherent and a basic part of education in the future
The role of ICT co-ordinator in Scoil Naomh Áine is held by a post holder, Ms. Colette Cleary. She updates the website using work which has been carried out in each class. Teachers communicate with each other in relation to online resources they have found to be most useful for their class.
Colette provides leadership in ICT throughout the school and liaises, in consultation with the Principal, and other professionals with regard to maintenance and care of computers in the school.
School ICT Audit
- We have recently compiled an inventory of all hardware being used in the school.
- We have recorded all serial numbers of the new PC’s , iPods, iPads and laptops
- Each classroom has at least three PC’s.
- We currently have 32 iPods shared between classes.
- Every teacher has a laptop for school use and for home preparation.
- A record of equipment is kept in the Learning Support room and the equipment audit is being updated on an ongoing basis.
- Broadband is available in each classroom and Learning Support room. We are fully networked.
- Our Internet User Policy for students has been reviewed outlining information about internet connectivity in the school and the level of access. Parents have been informed of its availability.
- The NCTE is providing content filtering with their broadband programme School Broadband Network and we will continue to use ESET and up to date anti-virus software to ensure that our network and systems remain clean.
- Maintenance and technical support is provided as the need arises.
Policy for use of iPods
iPods are an important teaching and learning tool used in Scoil Naomh Áine.
All classes from Junior Infants to 6 class use iPods to re-enforce learning which has taken place in the class.
Students are assigned a numbered iPod at the beginning of the year and will use this particular iPod for the remainder of the year.
Prior approval from principal will be sought for the purchasing of apps.
Teachers and SNAs will maintain iPods as and when it is necessary – remove unused apps, free up memory etc.
Scoil Naomh Áine is connected to the internet using the Schools Broadband Network. This network provides a filtering system to prevent the display of inappropriate material.
No filtering system is guaranteed to be 100% secure and so the following procedures are in place to protect pupils and encourage responsible behaviour when connected to the internet.
- Pupils use only the numbered iPod which is assigned to them unless the battery in theirs is exhausted and a spare iPod is available.
- Pupils will treat iPods with respect.
- Use of the iPods is always supervised by an adult.
- Each class will be taught about responsible use of the internet and how to avoid any dangers which may arise.
- Should an item/page appear on the iPod which is unsuitable, the pupil will inform the teacher.
- The history on the iPods will be checked regularly to ensure pupils are using them responsibly.
- Parents/Guardians will be informed if any unacceptable use is discovered.
- The school respects the software licensing laws and encourages the children to do the same.
Staff Professional Development
All staff members are very familiar with online resources appropriate to their own class level. Staff members also have access to all old software which is stored in the Halla Mór.
All of the staff members are familiar with computers at varying degrees of proficiency.
A number of teachers have attended courses in different aspects of ICT usage.
Some teachers attended evening courses in the use of PowerPoint and Interactive Whiteboards, and have also attended Summer Courses on ICT. Teachers have also attended courses on the use of digital cameras and digital video cameras.
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 are encouraged to use a range of technologies and all teachers are open to staff training and development in this area. Teachers support each other and SNA’s employed in the school are provided with support also.
ICT Management and Planning
The integration of ICT is possible at many different levels and in various areas in Scoil Naomh Áine. Interactive boards in classrooms are at the cutting edge of ICT in primary schools and allow teachers to use a fully integrated approach across all curricular areas. We have invested in content rich software that consolidates the areas of Maths, English and S.E.S.E. Time is spent in using software to reinforce what is taught in the classroom. This is seen by the NCTE and NCCA as more important at primary level than developing word processing skills.
We are very happy with the content rich software that we are using in the school at the moment. Any new or relevant software which comes into the school is given by the Principal to the teacher of the appropriate classes to assess.
Our systems run on Windows 7 / 8. We also have Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 running on our machines. As Operating systems are upgraded frequently this is subject to change / modification over time.
Teachers bring the laptop home to view software and are fully conversant with any software package that they introduce to their classes. They also view any websites which they may wish to use with their classes. From time to time we receive sample discs from educational companies and members of the staff examine these for use, before using them with the children in class.
Children work individually or in pairs. Some computers in the Junior Classes are equipped with excellent headphones and splitters to facilitate two children working together. We will invest in more headphones and splitters as finance permits. As a general rule the pairings or groups of children working together are of mixed ability.
Health and Safety
- Children are only allowed access to the internet in supervised situations. The NCTE Broadband installation program is providing external centralised firewall.
- Children are not allowed to have their own e-mail accounts in the school and are not allowed to access their existing ones.
- Children are taught from an early age that they do not give out any personal details like surnames, addresses, phone numbers etc.
- The Internet Acceptable Usage Policy is explained to children and circulated to their parents. We request that the parents also explain this to their children before it is signed and returned to the school
- 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.
- As the need arises courses will be organised in the school for anyone that wants to up-skill in the area of technology.
Timeframe for Implementation
As with current practice, the area of ICT is reviewed at regular intervals by the Principal and the ICT co-ordinator. Issues which arise are brought to the staff for further discussion and decision making. Budgetary constraints mean that the final decisions for implementation of some of the objectives are dependant on prioritization of funds at any given time. Grants furnished from the Department of Education are used fortuitously.
Purchasing of new equipment will be done by the Principal and the ICT co-ordinator in consultation with the Board of Management. This will be guided by the evaluation of the ICT plan, budget constraints and Department of Education and NCTE guidelines. Advice on purchasing will be sought from various areas. Cost comparisons between different agencies will be viewed with special relevance to backup service.
Policy ratified by the Board of Management: