The Use of ICT
In Teaching Modern Foreign Languages
Conents
Overview Curriculum Organisation
Background Context Equal Opportunities
Strategic Management Resource Management- Human and Physical
Curriculum Administration Evaluation

OVERVIEW

Using Information and Communication Technology in general

Mobile telephones, fax machines, worldwide communications networks, bar-codes in supermarkets, cash machines and encyclopaedias on CD-ROMs exemplify the level to which ICT has soared in the last decade! ICT is here to stay and forms an ever increasing part of our children’s life

Information and Communication Technology in the Curriculum

In this technological age, pupils surrounded by information technologies in everyday life, can reasonably expect them to play a significant part in their education. Pupils should be given opportunities to become familiar with a range of information technologies and to develop the skills to use them. They should also be given the advantage of the opportunities ICT provides to support learning in all areas of the curriculum including Modern Foreign Languages.

ICT or IT

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) or Information Technology (IT) – what is the difference? 2

  • Information and Communications Technology refers to the computing and communications that support teaching and learning, where the focus is on the curriculum subject being taught not on the technology skills. In other words, ICT is not just about computers, it is a tool to assist learning.
  • Information Technology refers to the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the technology and their ability to apply it. Here the focus is on technology skills. - back to Document Contents

BACKGROUND CONTEXT

Scotland (3)

In Scotland, pupils stay on at primary school for one year longer than they do elsewhere in the U.K. They go to primary school at age five, where they enter P1 (Primary School Year 1). They then progress through P2, P3, P4, P5 and P6 to P7. After P7, in most cases at the age of twelve, they go to secondary school, where they enter S1 (Secondary School, Year 1).

In 1993, the Scottish Education Office announced they were proposing that all Scottish Primary Schools should offer teaching in a modern European Language:either French, German, Italian or Spanish. The continuous implementation of this Policy through the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Programme (MLPS) aims to enable all schools in Scotland to offer modern language teaching in P6 and P7.

England and Wales

The National Curriculum in England is organised on the basis of four key stages, as amended by the Education Act 1993, namely:-

Stages

Pupils’ Ages

Year Groups

Key Stage 1

5 – 7

1 – 2

Key Stage 2

7 – 11

3 – 6

Key Stage 3

11 – 14

7 – 9

Key Stage 4

14 – 16

10 – 11

A modern Foreign Language is not introduced until children are at Key Stage 3, i.e. 11-14 years of age.4

Ireland

Under the NCTE’s successful initiatives,5 every primary school in Ireland is now in a position to ensure that pupils can now be taught a range of IT skills, knowledge and understanding.

Feedback from the Department of Education and Sciences Modern Foreign Languages Project has been very positive.

It is our understanding that Modern Foreign Languages will now be phased into the Irish Curriculum over the next 4 to 5 years, thus ensuring every pupil access to a foreign language speaker/teacher.

Taking the above two background contexts into consideration, we are confident and positive that our project can only but enhance and support more comprehensively the development of Modern Foreign Languages in Irish Primary Schools.

Our Project is catering for 2 age/class groups, namely:-

Group 1 = Ages 7 – 10 or Ranganna I – IV

Group II = Ages 11 – 13 or Ranganna V – VI

Sample lesson notes relevant to these two groupings are included in the various modules of our Project.

Using ICT to teach Languages

When pupils are learning languages, ICT can be used to6:

  1. develop further all four language skills in our pupils, i.e., listening, speaking, reading and writing;
  2. enable pupils to become more effective and confident learners;
  3. raise the standards of pupils’ achievements;
  4. assist pupils communicate in the target language;
  5. enable communication with people of the target languages and communities;
  6. enhance language learning skills and develop independent learning skills;
  7. access a range of resources in the target language and identify with the people of target language communities and countries;
  8. meet pupils’ special needs for access to language learning;
  9. make effective use of and extend existing IT skills and knowledge.

Acceptable Use Policy for the Internet in Irish Schools

In June 1999, an information copy of Internet Acceptable Use Guidelines/Policies and Procedure Documents were sent to all Irish Primary Schools by the NCTE. (7)

These guidelines are intended to assist each school in the development and implementation of a school Policy on the use of the internet.

It is recommended that each school forms a representable group including parents to formulate this policy.

These guidelines include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Sample School Policy
  3. Suggested School Procedures
  4. Sample Parent Permission Letter/Form
  5. Parent guide to the Internet
  6. NCTE Advice Sheet – Internet Safety.

For your convenience and ease, the above details are reproduced in Appendix A of our Project. It can also be downloaded from Scoilnet at: http://www.scoilnet.ie/safety

Other interesting guidelines on Internet Use (in UK schools) can be obtained from the National Association for Co-ordinators and Teachers of IT by accessing: http://www.acitt.org.uk

The above is reproduced in Appendix D for your attention and information.

We recommend that you read these guidelines carefully and use them as the basis, after modification, for your own school’s Internet Policy.

Planning Process

The planning process needed to integrate Modern Foreign Languages with ICT involves four stages, which can be outlined as follows. Either the school’s ICT Co-ordinator or Principal is responsible for initiating and continuing the process.

1. Evaluate

What opportunities does your school provide for teaching Modern Foreign Languages using ICT?

How is ICT enhancing your Modern Foreign Language teaching and pupils learning?

Is ICT included in your policy statement for Languages

Consider:

  • Current practice;
  • Staff confidence and expertise;
  • Access to hardware and software;
  • MFL, ICT and Assessment Policy
2. Plan

Establish a development plan for MFL which includes ICT.

Consider:

  • Professional development needs;
  • Resource implications;
  • Responsibilities ;
  • A realistic time span (1-2 years)

Develop a scheme of work for MFL to include ICT which:

  • Has clear objectives;
  • Has reference to the revised curriculum;
  • Gives reference to assessment and recording;
  • Is part of a whole school approach

This scheme should be developed during a process of consultation with teaching staff, parents and approved by the Board of Management.

  1. Action
  2. Carry out the development plan.

    Implement the scheme of work

  • Monitoring and Review
  • In terms of language development, what do pupils know and understand?

    Has I.C.T. contributed to this?

    How have they developed their IT skills?

    Complete a teacher’s record/checklist of the classgroup language knowledge and ICT skill


Time Tabling

It is recommended that teachers adapt their classroom timetable to suit the implementation of this Project by deleting a certain number of minutes from each individual curriculum subject. A maximum of 5 minutes per subject should suffice.

A cross-curricular approach is also integral to the success of including this Project in the classroom timetable.

Aims and Objectives of our Project

Our project "The Use of ICT in Teaching Languages" is a broad-based project that aims to raise the awareness among pupils of major European languages and cultures.

Our required objectives are detailed as follows:

  1. to use ICT to introduce foreign languages to pupils in primary schools;
  2. to establish links between the participating schools with a view to exchanging and formulating lesson plans, ideas for class activities, games, etc;
  3. to establish links with primary schools in other countries in order to broaden the language experience for the participating pupils.

Stated Outcomes/Targets8

The stated outcomes of our Project can be outlined as follows:

  1. participating pupils will gain an enhanced knowledge of ICT and in particular the use of e-mail and the internet;
  2. the pupils’ knowledge of foreign language and culture will be enhanced;
  3. resource materials and teaching strategies will be developed;
  4. the European dimension of the pupils’ education will be developed;
  5. twinning projects with foreign primary schools will be initiated and developed;
  6. suitable software for language teaching will be identified and evaluated.

Project Modules

To achieve these stated aims and to successfully realise the above outcomes and targets, various Modules have been compiled.

These Modules, outlined hereunder, should assist teachers identify ways in which European Languages can be taught using ICT in Irish Primary Schools.

They should provide guidance and supporting information to help teachers through the process as they evaluate their current practice and plan ways of developing and integrating ICT into Modern Languages focused teaching.

Module 1 Sample School Policy Statement/Framework

Module 2 Internet and E-mail

Module 3 Word Processing

Module 4 Databases

Module 5 Desktop Publishing

Module 6 Sample Euro Lessons

Module 7 Peripherals

Module 8 Software Evaluation

Module 9 Resources, useful URLs, etc

Module 10 European Exchange

Module 11 Issues, Observations, Conclusions and Recommendations

Module 12 Bibliography/Acknowledgements

 

MODULE 1

GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A SAMPLE FRAMEWORK POLICY DOCUMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL ON "THE USE OF ICT IN TEACHING LANGUAGES"

The following headings are outlined to assist you in Policy formation:

  • Strategic Management

Section 1: Introduction to the Policy

Section 2: Aims of Using ICT in teaching languages

Section 3: Roles and Responsibilities.

  • Mission Statement
  • Curriculum Administration – Teaching and Learning Strategies.
  • Curriculum Organisations – establishing the link between Language Curriculum/ Learning and ICT
  • Equal Opportunities

Section 1 Gender

Section 2 Multicultural Education

Section 3 Special Needs

Section 4 Gifted Children

  • Resource Management

Section 1 Professional Development

Section 2 Hardware Resources

Section 3 Software Resources

Section 4 Organisation – equal access to the computer

Section 5 Health and Safety.

  • Evaluation

Section 1 : Assessing, Recording, Reporting

Section 2 : Monitoring, Evaluation and Review

Section 3 : Excellence in Language Learning using ICT

Use the sections/suggestions outlined below to guide your policy writing: (9) - back to Document Contents

 

STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT

Section 1 Introduction to the Policy

  1. Details of your school/staff
  2. Who was involved in drawing up this Policy Statement?
  3. When, why and for whom the policy was developed

Section 2 Aims of Using ICT in teaching Languages

  1. Why is your school integrating the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages with ICT?
  2. The factors (internal or external) that affect these aims:

    e.g. Internal: Staff interest

    External: (a) Department of Education and Science Developments

                    (b) Visiting teacher etc.

c. The anticipated outcomes

Section 3 Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The key responsibilities of the Board of Management;
  2. The role and responsibilities of the staff’s European Language Teacher and/or ICT Co-ordinator;
  3. The roles and responsibilities of other staff;
  4. The role of other key people supporting ICT and European Languages, e.g. visiting teacher, Education Centre ICT Advisor, etc.

MISSION STATEMENT

All pupils will use ICT as a tool to enhance their learning of a Modern Foreign Language. Teachers will use ICT as a tool to enhance their teaching of the subject.

CURRICULUM ADMINISTRATION

Teaching and Learning Strategies.

  1. What makes for good quality teaching and learning?
    • Through planning with a logical sequence of activities.
    • Pupils being interested in their learning/learning activities.
    • Pupil motivation, a sense of purpose and direction.
    • Pupils are aware of the learning objectives.
    • The learning objectives are translated into clear targets.
    • Tasks are well matched to pupils’ abilities.
    • The tasks are challenging but achievable.
    • There is a real purpose to the lesson/activities.
    • Pupils are given responsibility for learning and there is an element of choice.
    • There is a clear understanding that learning is taking place, i.e. the teacher provides activities which lead to gains in knowledge, skills and understanding.
    • Assessment is used to inform future development and to monitor progress
    • Feedback is frequent and constructive and provides further learning targets.

(b) Becoming a "knowledge architect".10

 
 

There is a critical need for students to be able to access information, manipulate data, synthesise concepts and creatively express ideas to others. Technology can virtually bring the world to the child providing a depth and richness of instructional approaches to reach children of all learning modalities. The child becomes a "knowledge architect" using rich resources at his/her fingertips through technology to bring personal meaning and expression to knowledge.

Skilful use of technology supports the development of process skills such as flexibility, adaptability, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration which are essential to success in our rapidly changing information age. These skills are crucial in terms of pupils becoming life-long learners.

Technology allows us to better serve the diverse learning styles of our students and educate them for a wider range of intelligence (e.g. verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinaesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal).

(c) The value of ICT teaching and learning.1

 
 

ICT can have many positive effects on teaching and learning. For pupils there are frequently gains in:

  • motivation
  • presentation
  • questioning skills
  • problem solving
  • information handling
  • techniques of modelling
 
 

Teachers often find (among other gains) using ICT can lead to:

  • rethinking teaching and learning strategies
  • more opportunities for differentiation
  • greater expectations of their pupils
  • more opportunities for individual teaching and group work
  • better understanding of their pupils’ learning.- back to Document Contents
 

 

 
 

CURRICULUM ORGANISATION

Establishing the Link Between Language Curriculum/Learning and ICT

Word Processing, databases and desktop publishing packages are amongst the most commonly used forms of ICT that can be employed to assist in the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages.12 They allow pupils to structure and draft documents, combine graphics with text and edit their work. They can be used for individual projects or for displays and presentations.

Databases, the Internet and CD-ROMS can be used to learn about foreign cultures and as consolidation/revision aids for language learning.

Video conferencing, chat-rooms and electronic mail are used to communicate with pupils from other schools and in other countries.

When pupils learn a language, they can use ICT to:

  1. develop and improve all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In learning a language, pupils need to: 3

  1. listen attentively and listen for gist and detail;
  2. ask and answer questions;
  3. skin and scan tests;
  4. re-draft their writing to improve accuracy;
  5. vary language to suit context, audience and purpose;
  6. copy words, phrases and sentences.

ICT makes this possible through:

  1. activities using databases can require pupils to seek and give information orally, to listen carefully in order to respond accurately, and to practise scanning for specified information in the target language;
  2. the word processor which enables pupils to learn from an early stage, the skills of editing and re-drafting their work in the target language, and simplifies the task of re-writing to suit audience and purpose;
  3. desktop publishing packages and presentations;
  4. computer peripherals, e.g. digital cameras, scanners, etc. are most necessary accessories in completing such activities.
  1. Enhance language learning skills and to develop independent learning skills
 

In learning a language, pupils need to13

    1. develop their independence in language learning and use;
    2. use dictionaries and reference materials;
    3. use context and other clues to interpret meaning;
    4. understand and apply patterns, rules and exceptions;
    5. use their knowledge to experiment with language.

 

 
 

ICT facilitates this through:

    1. adding to the choice of resources, e.g. texts on CD-Rom software, spell

      checkers, electronic thesasures and enclopaedias.

    1. tutorial software that allows learners practise independently, according to need;
    2. text-manipulating software that supports learners in the use of context and clues as well as the understanding of structures, patterns and rules.
    3. Word-processing which enables pupils to experiment "safely" with known language in a different context.
  1. Communicate in the target language
 

In learning a language, pupils need to:13

    1. use language for real purposes;
    2. work through a range of language activities;
    3. produce a variety of types of writing;
    4. use a range of resources for communicating;
    5. come into contact with native speakers.
 
 

ICT makes the above possible through:

    1. e-mail, the internet, chat-rooms and video conferencing enabling learners to use langauges for real purposes and to come into contact with native speakers, both at home and abroad, in a variety of ways;
    2. database activities that provide a stimulus for role play or for presenting and analysing the results of surveys and other investigations in the target language, e.g. leisure activities in a link town;
    3. Word-processors and multi-media presentation software allowing pupils to present work attractively and in a way which is appropriate for the audience for which it is intended.
  1. Access a range of resources in the target language and identify with the people of target language communities and countries.

In learning a language, pupils need to13

    1. work with authentic materials;
    2. consider their own culture and compare it with the cultures of the countries and communities where the target language is spoken;
    3. Identify with the experiences and perspectives of people in these countries and communities.
 
 

ICT makes this possible through use of CD-Rom and harnessing the internet.

  1. Meet their special needs for access to language learning
 

In learning a language, pupils need to13

    1. have access to the curriculum in ways appropriate to their abilities;
    2. have appropriate provision for communication other than speech and be provided with technological aids in practical and written work.
 
 

ICT can assist by:

    1. supporting independent work and extending pupils’ learning in ways appropriate to them.
    2. Pointing and clicking with the mouse, using word banks, touch screens or overlay keyboards thus helping pupils to communicate in written;
    3. Offering learners and visual impairment support and personal control over their learning environment through choice of text size and colour on screen, etc.
    4. Multimedia technology means that a learner can, for example, click on a word or phrase to hear it spoken as often as possible.
 
 

To summarise, when pupils learn Modern Foreign Languages using ICT, they are provided with authentic opportunities to practise language in order to achieve greater accuracy. This process should also improve their existing IT capabilities and they should begin to understand how ICT is providing a positive contribution to supporting their language learning.- back to Document Contents

 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

Teaching methods and resources must be employed that allow all pupils irrespective of their gender, ethnic origin, academic ability, etc. equal access to the chosen Modern Foreign Language and IT equipment so as to experience success and enjoyment in their work.

Section 1 Gender

Recent research has shown that both genders experience increased levels of motivation and interest if Modern Languages is taught through ICT.14

Our Policy Statement aims to ensure that equal opportunities are provided for pupils within a broad, balanced Modern Languages/ICT. Curriculum, which does not discriminate against them because of gender.

It is our intention that the implementation of our Modern Languages/ICT Policy should:-

    1. reflect the interests of both boys and girls;
    2. value equally the experiences of both boys and girls;
    3. use of resources that are factually accurate with up-to-date text, illustrations and maps that do not stereotype individuals or groups.
 
 

Teachers should, by careful use of language, avoid reinforcing stereotypical views of society.

Section 2 Multicultural Education15

Our teaching of a Modern Foreign Language using ICT aims to encourage positive attitudes in pupils towards:

    1. learning a foreign language
    2. speakers of that language
    3. other cultures and civilisation.
 
 

Every opportunity is used to challenge prejudice as it arises and a consistent approach to dealing with any racist comments or incidents that may occur.

Resources are chosen which portrays a world view as seen from different cultural perspectives and thereby communicate how it feels to be of another ethnic or cultural group.

 

Section 3 Special Needs

There are three types of role that ICT can play in assisting access to learning for pupils with special educational needs, in addition to the pupils’ own personal development of ICT capability.16 Access technology can provide

  • physical access – for example, pupils who have sensory or motor impairments may find IT necessary to produce quality written material cognitive access, for example, pupils with learning difficulties maybe able to access information  more easily through having text read out with a text-to-speech synthesiser.
  • Supportive access – for example, pupils with specific learning difficulties may be supported in their writing by having access to a word processor.
 
 

In order to explore the possible, Learning Support Teachers, may need to make arrangements for an individual pupil to use the classroom computer or equipment in a library or resources centre for a particular modern language curriculum task. Discussion with the classroom teacher and IT co-ordinator over appropriate tasks and software will ensure that the chosen activity is worth while. By taking note of the way learners approach the task, their attitudes towards using the equipment how it influences the way they work and the quality of the completed work, the Learning Support Teacher can access whether access to IT is providing additional benefit in Language Learning.

Section 4 Gifted Children

Pupils of high ability may be extended through the use of programmes, internet and CD-Roms, which offer challenge and opportunities for development.- back to Document Contents

 

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT – HUMAN AND PHYSICAL

Section 1 Professional Development

All classroom teachers, in the absence of the visiting language teacher/colleague, will need to manage computer equipment so as to assist their pupils undertake their language ICT activities. Consequently, schools will need to make an audit of staff IT knowledge and skills so as to evaluate staff confidence and competency in using computers.

The following evaluation chart is a good place to start for assessing staff IT competence and expertise.17

Key

    1. Not tried yet
    2. Limited use of common features/tools
    3. Regular user of common features/tools
    4. Getting to know some advanced features
    5. Expert user
    • Plugging in, connecting up and starting your computer.
    • Managing disks and files
    • Using a database
    • Installing software, e.g. from a CD-Rom
    • Using a spreadsheet
    • Connecting and setting up printers, cameras and other peripherals
    • Using e-mail
    • Basic maintenance, e.g. printer paper, ink/toner
    • Desk-top publishing (DTP)
    • Using a word processor
    • Using a fax machine or facility
    • Using mapping software
    • Using and searching a CD-ROM
    • Using multimedia authoring software
    • Using a drawing and/or painting package
    • Gaining access to and searching the internet

Having evaluated the expertise of the staff, a school can then plan the next step, seeking, if necessary, the guidance and assistance of Education Centres for staff training and ongoing support. The training should be focused on how ICT can enhance the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages rather than on IT training skills with clear objectives and a realistic time scale.

One effective suggestion for developing a teacher’s understanding of how ICT can be integrated with his/her teaching of a European Language is to read against each other the school’s Policy Statement on teaching Modern Foreign Languages and on Information and Communications Technology.18

Section 2 Hardware Resources

Most school teachers will know exactly the equipment they have in their own classroom, but it is worth knowing what other hardware resources can be borrowed or are available. Indeed, a school’s ICT equipment audit should be completed by a school’s ICT Co-ordinator/Principal for the knowledge and benefit of all staff. The following are details of the type of ICT equipment required for Language Development in any school:

 

Hardware and Peripherals

Access to computer(s) with CD-ROM drive, in accordance with NCTE specifications

Printer

Fax Machine

Digital camera

Scanner

Access to the Internet and e-mail

Needless to say, such equipment requires security and insurance cover.

 

Hardware Management

In order to preserve the security of the hardware the following precautions are taken:

  • the computer room/entire school is protected by an alarm system
  • serial numbers of all hardware items are recorded
  • hardware is marked with a proprietary making system.

In so far as possible hardware is protected from damage.

  • machines are protected by dust covers during holidays
  • machines are placed away from direct sunlight
  • hardware is moved from room to room as little as possible
  • surge protectors are added to each outlet
  • care is taken not to overload power sockets
  • power is switched off at night
  • computers with modems are unplugged during holidays and at times when lightning threatens
  • food and drinks are not allowed near hardware
  • cables are kept tidy.

 

Hardware Record

Make/Model

Serial No.

Location

Purchased

       
       
       
       
       
       
       

 

Section 3 Software Resources

General Software

Word processor

Drawing or paint package

Database and spreadsheet

Desk-top publishing (DTP)

Multimedia authoring software

Suitable reference CD-ROMs (including an encyclopaedia)

 

Modern Foreign Language-Focused Software

Suitable CE-ROM atlas

CD-ROMs or other software providing opportunities for children to take part in activities using the target language, and where appropriate combining two or more of the four language skills, i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing.

CD-ROMs relevant to European Language Learning are evaluated in Module 8.

Other CD-Rom titles are detailed in Module 9.

 

Software Management

Software is catalogued (see below)

Software is properly handled

  • CD Roms are returned to jewel cases, envelopes, etc.
  • CD Roms are cleaned when necessary
  • Children are taught to handle CD’s properly

 

Software Record

Package

Supplier

Location

Licence

Purchased

         
         
         
         
         

 

Copyright

The management of software must raise the issue of copyright. Ensure that you have original software. You may need to purchase site licences or network agreement for the school

Section 4 Organisation – equal access to the computers

It is expected that as Modern Foreign Languages are taught, teachers will give pupils equal opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of these languages through the medium of ICT. Some of the activities outlined in the following modules can be completed by pupils working on their own, but the majority will benefit pupils, who work with a partner or in a small group. By working in collaboration with others, pupils can discuss and refine their ideas further. Additionally, by approaching the activities in a shared way, pupils learn to co-operate with each other.

When language knowledge is being reinforced by ICT, care should be taken to ensure that one pupil doesn’t dominate the activity to the detriment of the other. The importance of the role of the helper should b e emphasised to pupils, in addition to the importance of hands-on work, when introducing activities.

Each language computer activity will need to be explained as it is introduced so that pupils are clear about what is expected of them. It is often advantageous to allow pupils who are more confident with the computer to attempt an activity first. These pupils (monitors) can then help the subsequent pupils, who can then in turn, help other pupils. This chain effect of pupils helping each other with the ICT exercise is often very beneficial, as it helps to reinforce learning and frees the teacher to concentrate on language development with the rest of the class, if so required.

In the situation of a school having only "stand-alone" computers, a rota system will need to be devised to control access. A clock is placed near the computer(s) to facilitate this.

Ideas which schools should consider when arranging groups using Ict equipment for reinforcing language learning are:19

  • Groups vary in size from pairs (most common) to groups of 6/8 (for programs where discussion is paramount.
  • Groups are usually of matched ability as this makes for more equal interaction.
  • Groups may occasionally be of mixed ability to enable more competent children to help those less able (for example in word processing activities in the early years.)
  • Groups are usually of matched gender in order to avoid the commonly experienced marginalisation of girls as boys monopolise the equipment
  • Groups may be involved in teaching one another through a rolling program (for example when introducing a new piece of software.)

Class lessons are given to initiate the use of various language software packages.

 

Section 5 Health and Safety(20)

Using the Computer

When using the computer, the following safety guidelines should be followed:

Power

  • To help avoid damaging your computer, be sure the voltage selection switch on the power supply is set to match the alternating current (AC) power available at your location: - 230V/50Hz is the setting for Ireland.
  • Make sure the monitor and attached peripherals are electrically rated to operate with the AC power available in your location
  • To help prevent electric shock, plug the computer and peripheral power cables into properly grounded power sources. These cables are equipped with 3-prong plugs to ensure proper grounding. Do not use adapter plugs or remove the grounding prong from a cable. If you must use an extension cable, use a 3-wire cable with properly grounded plugs. Be careful not to overload circuits by connecting multiple devices to the one socket or extension cable.
  • To help protect your computer system from sudden, transient increases and decreases in electrical power, use a surge protector, line conditioner, or un-interruptible power supply.

Cables and Connections

  • Be sure nothing rests on your computer system’s cables and that the cables are not located where they can be stepped on or tripped over. If possible enclose cable in ducting. If cable must be run across a floor, it can be routed through special covered channels made of rubber or plastic. These are non-slip, sit on top of the floor covering and the cable is passed through them. The channel is shaped with an arched top so that it may be walked over, or objects wheeled across it, without any danger.
  • Frequent connection and disconnection of devices should be avoided to prevent damage to connections. Movement of the computer and monitor should be minimised to prevent problems and strained connections. The keyboard and mouse should never be stretched to the cable limit.

 

Moving Computers

  • Computers can be heavy – particularly monitors – and care should be taken when moving them. If possible, a trolley should be used.
  • If a computer on a trolley is to be moved, check first that it is disconnected from power sockets and network connections.

Food, Drink and Foreign Objects

  • It is a good idea to introduce a no food or drink rule for the computer room. This prevents the possibility of damage to hardware due to crumbs dropping between the keys of the keyboard or liquid being spilt over the computer. Liquid, in particular, can be quite dangerous with the potential to short out electrical components. If the computer gets wet, stop use immediately, switch off the computer and all attached devices and report it to the ICT co-ordinator.
  • Do not push any objects into the openings of your computer. Doing so can cause fire or electric shock by shorting out interior components.

 

Prevention of Fire and Overheating

  • Keep your computer away from radiators and heat sources. Also, do not block cooling vents. Avoid placing loose papers underneath your computer in a closed-in wall unit or on a bed, sofa, or rug.
  • A fire extinguisher for electrical fires should be located in a readily accessible position in the same room as the computer. Extinguishers should be serviced at the recommended intervals.

 

Ergonomics

Note: Improper or prolonged keyboard and mouse use may result in injury.

Ergonomics is the design of an environment to minimise fatigue and discomfort. The following ergonomic guidelines should be used when setting up and using the computer:

Position of Hardware

  • Position your system so that the monitor and keyboard are directly in front of you as you work. Special shelves are available to help you correctly position your keyboard.
  • Set the monitor at a comfortable viewing distance (usually 510 to 610 millimetres [20 to 24 inches] from your eyes).
  • Make sure the monitor screen is at eye level or slightly lower when you are sitting in front of the monitor.
  • Adjust the tilt of the monitor, its contrast and brightness settings, and the lighting around you (such as overhead lights, desk lamps, and the curtains or blinds on nearby windows) to minimise reflections and glare on the monitor screen.
  • Anti-glare screens can be fitted to the front of the computer screen to minimise glare and resulting eyestrain. There are two types available – cheap mesh screens and more expensive glass Polaroid screens. The Polaroid screens are much more effective.

 

Seating Position

  • Use a chair that provides good lower back support.
  • Keep your forearms horizontal with your wrists in a neutral, comfortable position while using the keyboard or mouse.
  • Purchase wrist-rests to sit in front of the keyboard. These minimise the possibility of wrist-strain injuries from keyboard use.
  • Always leave space to rest your hands while using the keyboard or mouse.
  • Let your upper arms hang naturally at your sides.
  • Sit erect, with your feet resting on the floor and your thighs level.
  • When sitting, make sure the weight of your legs is on your feet and not on the front of your chair seat.
  • Adjust your chair’s height or use a footrest, if necessary, to maintain proper posture.

Varying Activities

Vary your computer activities. Try to organise yourself so that you do not have to type for than a minute or so at a time without stopping. When you stop typing, try to do things that use both hands.- back to Document Contents

 

EVALUATION

Section 1 Assessing, Recording and Reporting

Assessment Policy

Principles21

  1. Careful thought is given to the purpose of assessment, adopting a wide range of the methods to reflect the Curriculum and learning opportunities.
  2. Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process, a valuable formative and summative tool.
  3. The outcomes of assessment modify our teaching methods, provide feedback on our scheme of work as well as indicate pupil progress.
  4. We recognise the potential for assessment in developing a positive self image in the pupil from positive and constructive feedback and the feeling of success which encourages further study.
  5. Teachers in the school use a common framework for marking work which is fully understood by all.
  6. Results of assessment are reported in a way useful for pupil, teacher, parents and other interested parties.
  7. Assessment gradually builds up into a profile for each pupil over their school career.
  8. Pupils are encouraged to be aware of the evidence and assessment techniques being used and review their own progress by a procedure containing an element of self-assessment.
  9. Any summative tests must have an ongoing policy in their construction, marking and usage. These tests show what a pupil can do, i.e. are criterion referenced.
  10. Assessment has a common procedure and:
    1. gives teacher judgements which are as valid and reliable as possible
    2. gives teachers confidence in their professional judgement and skill
    3. is seen to be fair to pupils.
  1. Assessment records are not administratively burdensome.
  2. Assessment records should provide mutual confidence in teachers between phases and enhance progression for pupils.

 

FORMAL RECORDING – GROUP

During the course of the academic year, an End of Module Report assessing the class progress in relation to Language learning and Computer Application Skills will be coupled by the respective teacher and held on file. This is a Table consisting of ICT skills on a vertical axis and language knowledge and skills across a horizontal axis at the top of the Table. Areas where ICT and language overlap and complement each other are shaded.

This professional recording and assessment of the class group progress recognises excellence and also indicates areas of language and IT competency that need improvement.

Informal Recording/Assessment

Obviously "informal" assessment is ongoing during all lessons in response to oral work, team/group work, skill development project work, etc.

Reporting

Reporting to parents is undertaken through Dissemination Nights, Parent-Teacher Meetings and "informal chats." Reporting will focus on each child’s knowledge and progress in learning a European Language with the assistance of ICT.

Feedback to Pupils

Children’s work, per Module, is organised in class folders.

Feedback to pupils about his/her own progress of European Language Learning, aided by Information and Communications Technology is rarely formalised and is usually done while a task is being carried out through discussion between child and teacher.

Section 2 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review

Monitoring

Monitoring can take several forms but two effective strategies are:

  • to provide classroom support time for ICT and/or language teachers to work alongside colleagues in their classrooms;
  • to set clearly structured tasks, in weekly time-scales, for colleagues to carry out with pupils and then to report back to the ICT/or language teachers.

Evaluation

Ongoing and regular evaluation is necessary to ensure that:

  • the Scheme of Work is realistic in terms of the demands it makes;
  • resources are being used effectively;
  • any problems are addressed as they arise.

A useful approach is to have brief staff meetings where:

  • pupils’ work can be shared, reviewed and moderated;
  • the quality of the pupils’ learning can be reviewed;
  • teachers’ progress (taking into account their different starting-points) can be recognised and affirmed;
  • good practice and solutions to problems shared.

Review

This Policy Document will be reviewed after 2 years in consultation with staff, parents and Board of Management. A good place to start is to ask whether your teaching provides the opportunities described in the "curriculum Organisation" section of this Module and outlined in greater detail in the following Modules. The main questions will always be:

  • How has ICT contributed to and supported the learning of a Modern Foreign Language?
  • Has ICT assisted pupils communicate in the target language?
  • Does ICT enhance the accuracy, creativity and presentation of the pupils’ work?
  • Are pupils enabled to experiment with language, thus increasing their knowledge of form and structure.
  • Can pupils extend their cultural knowledge through access to authentic materials.
  • Is it possible for pupils to identify, collect and classify relevant information.

Section 3 Excellence in Language Learning using ICT

Excellence in Language Learning using ICT can be celebrated in exhibitions, demonstrations or displays including:

  • Display around the school of text, pictures, graphs and charts that have been produced by pupils using computers.
  • The production of a school newsletter by senior pupils. The newsletter is distributed to all families and contains important information for parents.- back to Document Contents

REFERENCES

  1. "Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stages 1 & 2"; Coventry; National Council for Educational Technology; 1995; Page 2.
  2. Pickford T. & Hassell D.; "Planning for ICT and Geography at KSI and 2"; Sheffield; The Geographical Association and British Educational and Technology Agency; 1999; Page 3.
  3. Hurrell A. & Satchwell P.; "Reflections on Modern Languages in Primary Education, Six U.K. Case Studies"; London; Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research; 1996; Page 3.
  4. http://www.dfee.gov.uk/nc/index.html, see Appendix A.
  5. http://www.ncte.ie/overview.htm, see appendix B.
  6. "Modern Foreign Languages, an entitlement to IT" Coventry; British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTa).
  7. "NCTE internet acceptable use policy guidelines for primary schoolsw Dublin; NCTE; 1999. See Appendix C.
  8. "Innovative ICT Projects in Schools, A Directory of Projects supported by the Schools Integration Project under Schools IT2000"; Dublin; NCTE; 1999; Page 20.
  9. http://vtc.ngfl.gov.uk/cgi-bin/itpolicy.cgi
  10. "Our School I.C.T. Policy"; Clare Education Centre; December 1998.
  11. "Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stage 3"; Coventry; NCET; 1995; Page 3.
  12. http://www.becta.org.uk/info-sheets/ml.html
  13. "Modern Foreign languages, an entitlement to IT"; Coventry; BECTa.
  14. "Languages Policies PC Disk HD"; Loughborough; S.S.E.R. Ltd.
  15. Ibid.
  16. "Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stage 3"; Coventry; NCET; 1995; Page 13.
  17. Pickford T. & Hassell D.; "Planning for ICT and Geography at KSI and 2"; op. cit.; Page 6.
  18. "Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stage 3"; op.cit.; Page 17.
  19. "Our School I.C.T. Policy"; Clare Education Centre; December 1998.
  20. "Schools IT 2000 Teaching Skills Initiative-ICT Primary, Introductory

    Course, Phase 2, Participant Materials"; National Centre for Technology

    In Education; Dublin; 1998; Pages M-12 to M-14.

  1. "Languages Policies P.C. Disk HD"; Loughborough; S.S.E.R. Ltd.

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