Project Objectives

The project goals set out to:

1. introduce pupils in our primary school to science using ICT as an integral part of the teaching and learning process

2. train teachers in the appropriate use of ICT in the science class at primary level

3. develop a set of curriculum resources and pedagogic strategies for science teaching in primary schools

4. use the expertise of local post-primary schools to support the development of the project

 

1. The first objective, introducing primary science using ICTs was achieved as can be seen from the wide range of lesson plans and images of class work submitted by teachers from Junior Infants to Sixth Class. Lessons were taught from each of the four curricular strand areas: Living Things, Energy and Forces, Materials, Environmental Awareness and Care. The most used ICT tools were the mobile unit consisting of the laptop and data projector along with the digital cameras. A number of science specific software packages were used which are outlined in the Software section of this project. The digital pictures taken proved to be very popular with pupils and teachers, aiding revision and review of lessons taught as well as a visual stimulus to future classroom work.

The specific equipment purchased and its uses are outlined in this table below.

Equipment Bought

How it Was Used

A mobile unit consisting of a Laptop and Data Projector

The equipment was set up on a trolley and used in classrooms as needed

Two Digital Cameras
Olympus and Fugifilm

The Olympus Camera was used by teachers and pupils from 3rd - 6th classes, while the Fugifilm was used from Infants to Second Class


A second Laptop

 

This laptop was used: to download and store digital pictures: to preview and evaluate software by teachers at home: to word process tasks (lesson plans, pupils' work)

Scanner

Used to scan pictures and samples of childrens' work


Software

 

A range of CD Roms based on Science topics


2. The second objective namely, the training of teachers in using ICTs was considered central to the success of the project. This was achieved to a great extent. A number of training initiatives were run during the life cycle of the project. Initially an NCTE Phase One course was run which all staff availed of, followed by two NCTE Phase Two courses. Small group workshops and demonstrations were given in setting up the mobile unit and using the cameras.

Further peer coaching was organised in the second year of the project to increase staff confidence in using the equipment. A SIP team member from each year group was also trained in downloading and printing digital pictures. The IT co-ordinator and one other member of staff availed of website training.

The scanner was the least used of the ICT tools as lack of time for training proved an obstacle. The IT co-ordinator scanned material as needed. Since the IT co-ordinator is a full time class teacher, further training for all staff members in general file management, image handling and scanning would prove very worthwhile in our school.

 

3. The third objective, the development of curricular resources and pedagogic strategies has been met with good success. The bulk of the curricular resources developed consist of lesson plans. These have been developed for all class levels encompassing a range of scientific topics. In addition to the lesson plans, some software packages have been reviewed and the contents matched to textbook topics as an aid to lesson preparation. A range of pedagogic strategies for integrating ICTs into the teaching of science have also been gleaned from teachers' continual feedback throughout the project. These have been synthesised in the section entitled Classroom Use.

4. The final objective set, using the expertise of local post-primary schools in supporting the project was not feasible due to lack of time. In the first year of the project our IT co-ordinator not only initiated and steered the project, but also set up our school computer network system. Losing this full time IT position at the end of the first year of the project further reduced the time available for project management.

In summary, lack of time proved the greatest single factor impacting on the workings of the project overall. Although we have encountered many challenges during the project, it has been a remarkable if at times 'daunting' journey exposing teachers and pupils to a wealth of learning opportunities. We feel that we have achieved considerable success in meeting our objectives as identified at the outset of the project.

Classroom Use Pupils' Comments