Report on Kilcolman Parish Website Project
Part of SIP 19.(Schools Integration Project …IT2000)
As part of its IT2000 initiative to infuse schools in Ireland with good ICT practices the National Centre for Technology in Education has launched SIP…a programme in which some schools have been chosen to produce exemplars in good ICT practice . This is one of the projects being undertaken in the following school.
School: Coolderry Central School , Birr,Co.Offaly.
School type: Small, rural,mixed.
Class: 6th Class pupils ,age 11/12.
1. Aim of Project
· To make children appreciate their own culture.
· To show how ICT may be used for the humanities.
· To train pupils how to draft, redraft and research.
· To integrate work off and on the computer.
· To show how legends are universal.
· To appreciate other cultures.
· Incidentally to infuse the children with computer skills.
Prepare worksheets and a plan of action.(Worksheets included in Appendix).
Make sure that sufficient sources are available for children to work from, books,comics , reference CDs,past projects and Internet sites.
Talk to pupils about project and help motivation.
3. Steps undertaken
Reading from past projects including History of the Parish of Kilcolman (Mr.Lupton’s History project 1997).
Reading extracts from History of the Diocese of Killaloe.
Information from local priests and parish records and old roll books.
b. First Draft
This was generally done in pupils’ copies or workbooks and in longhand. The idea of neat handwriting and pride in one’s own penmanship was emphasized and children warned of the myth that “ children’s handwriting becomes sloppy as a result of using computers.” Children were encouraged to use their own words rather that transcribe what they found in books .(.Difficult). A rule I made was that if a pupil couldn’t explain a word he or she used , then he or she had to rewrite.
Microsoft word was used as a word processor, reluctantly because it is not a child friendly word processor but it would be easier later to insert into webpages or copy and paste text. I would have preferred to use Creative Writer2 but its file format is unusual. A practical point here is filenames . I told each pupil to call the file L(name) so that the files could be easily accessed from the network. E.g If your name was Mark then the filename you used for your story was LMARK.
The articles were typed into the computer . they were corrected, spell checked etc. A difficulty with the spell checker was its ignorance of Irish names and placenames and its bias towards American spelling.
Pupils were told that only their own artwork would appear on the webpages. They all made their own artwork which consisted of the following :
Local places of historical interest etc.
Pupils were shown how to use scanning software . One pupil was taught how to scan and he/she passed on the skill. Note: They were shown how to make sure that the graphic was saved as a JPEG. (This is important for teachers as BMPs take up too much memory and because JPEGs are acceptable on the WWW.)
Children took their own pictures and were shown how to transfer these to the computer. They then used Paintshop Pro to prepare pictures for the Internet. Pupils should be allowed take their own pictures.
f. Building Website
The software chosen for making the website was Netscape Composer for the following reasons:
1. Netscape Composer is a WYSIWYG web editor and is free .
2. It comes with many magazines.
3. It doesn’t change filenames
4. Pupils don’t need HTML.
5. It has a very easy way of creating tables.
6. It will convert BMPs to JPEGs.
7. It is similar to word processing for text entry/changing fonts/colour etc.
Pupils were shown how to make simple webpages. They learned how to :
2.Copy and paste text files from Microsoft Word into Composer.
3.Put graphic images onto page.
4.Create tables for text and pictures(see appendix).
6. Make an Index page and put links on it.
g. Printing booklet
The webpages were printed out , photocopied and collated . We used a binding machine to bind the booklet and every pupil had a booklet to bring home.
h. Hyperstudio Stack
Pupils were familiar with Hyperstudio and input the text and graphics into a stack format. They were shown how to make links with buttons and how to put sound with buttons. They were also shown how to have transitions when moving from one card to another.
4. Results and Educational benefits
· Pupils learned to draft and redraft, spellcheck , change fonts, cut and paste text and the skills of word processing.
· Pupils learned the basics of producing a mini website.
· Pupils learned how to create a table in Netscape Composer.
· Pupils experienced some collaborative learning.
· Pupils enhanced their self esteem by publishing on the WWW. Emails arrived commenting on the work they had done.
· At the end of the project we had an open day and parents were invited along with others to see the work.The broad knowledge acquired as a result of an integrated ICT project was amazing particularly when discussing the website with strangers
· Every family attending the school was given a CD with all of the SIP projects. Some of the children who hadn’t a PC at home would bring the CD to a friend’s house or relative’s house where there was a PC and show it off there.
Netscape Communicator(Includes Composer and Netscape)