Our school has recently divided itself up into curriculum areas for ICT, maths, literacy and RE (we are a Catholic school). This is designed to alleviate pressures usually felt by the sole subject leader. There are three of us in the ICT team, and planning for the staff meeting proved to be a bit of an eye-opener.
Our School Improvement Plan (SIP) for ICT was broad in the extreme – to look at where we need to improve, to establish an agreed way of saving children’s work and ensuring everyone was actually covering the areas of ICT that they should be.
We had known as a school for a while that our ICT coverage was not up to scratch – we currently have a suite of 16 computers which are prone to crashing, a trolley which houses very old laptops and a set of digital cameras that are shared around school. There are other bits and bobs as well, but for the extent they are used they’re not worth mentioning. However, none of us realised quite how far behind the times we actually are.
We started by looking at a review by the Education and Training Inspectorate. We only looked at p.5 of the report, which was a list of statements that our staff said we were more or less in line with. It was only when we told them that the report was 7 years old that the realisation of where we are began to sink in.
I was quite aware that the staff meeting could have come across a bit preachy, or negative. Maybe it did, I’m not sure. But a number of staff spoke to me after the event to express their surprise about the state of our ICT provision. We spent time looking at what other schools were doing. Maes Yr Haul Primary and Alwoodley Primary School gave examples of what other schools are doing (and even these are probably outdated by now).
Next, we showed the staff a website which highlighted what other schools plan for, as well as the kinds of software, programmes and apps that are in use in schools. (Thanks to @ianaddison for this). Again, an intake of breath as staff realised what kinds of things other schools are doing – not just Word, Powerpoint and Moviemaker!
Finally, we shared the Heathfield Primary blog. Follow @DavidMitchell if you are on Twitter. This school is now a leading school in its ICT provision and Mr Mitchell has won numerous awards himself for his innovations with ICT in school, not to mention the forward-thinking Quadblogging movement, which now has thousands of children blogging to audiences around the world. Immediately this caught the attention of our colleagues, so much so that our headteacher has promised that we will be blogging by Easter.
So one step forward, but it will hopefully be the first of many. We cannot afford to throw money at the problem, though there are one or two irons in the fire. We ended our staff meeting by giving planning teams time to decide how they can encourage the use of ICT in the classroom, not just during ICT lessons. It’s a small start, but hopefully our children will now be able to use digital cameras freely in class, choose how they want to present work, and use video-recordings and sound clips to rehearse and improve stories.
Next stop, blogging!