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IT Assistant Report (WRITE)

Summary of work carried out by

Rita Lennon
In
Kilkenny City Vocational School 2000/2001

Classes
My classes included First Years and Second Years, which were split into groups of four in the case of first years and the second years a group of six. Each group were withdrawn from classes two or three times a week. These classes worked well as each student worked at his/her pace and had individual attention. Many of the students have reading ages of 7/8 years of age.

Course Work
We started off the year showing the students how to turn on their computer open a programme and turning off the computer correctly. A little theory was also introduced e.g. name the parts of the computer. The students then accessed Starspell 2001 and worked on the months of the year, days of the week, colours and numbers 1-10 and 10-20. Clicker 4 was then introduced which included accessing a programme, typing in text, enhancing text, using keyboard skills, saving to their own folder, then later opening up their folders finding the text they had typed, adding text, saving and closing out of the programme and closing down their computers.

For Christmas the students created invitations to invite their parents to a Christmas Display. The display included art work, woodwork, maths skills, computer skills etc. The computer skills included typing out Christmas poems, enhancing text, using wordart, inserting clipart, saving on to floppy disks and printing. Some of their work was typed in Irish and Italian. Their work was then laminated and put up on the walls in their classrooms for parents to see. After the Christmas holidays we worked on Wordshark and Numbershark using basic words and tables + - X /. We also worked on a reading programme called 'Alcatraz 'and' The Graverobber' which is Don Johnston software, we incorporated this with Starspell using words from each book which I added to the word list of Starspell depending on which book each student was reading. This I think worked very well and the students wrote the story out in their own words for English class. At the beginning of February I introduced Maths Blaster 6-8, which the students really enjoyed here students used computer skills, maths skills and it was learned through games. These five programmes were used at different times until March when a new package was introduced called Wellington Square 5. In Wellington Square 5 each student picked a book to read from six. Students read through the book and did some tests at the end, which included crosswords, alphabetical order, sentences in order etc.

For Easter which brings us to April we typed in some text on Easter, which the students had prepared in their English class, enhanced, did a spell check, proof read, inserted clipart, saved to floppy and printed. After Easter we continued with Wellington Square 5 and did a bit of Wordshark again. Throughout this time also and up to the end of the school year we reintroduced Maths Blaster 6-8 and introduced Maths Blaster 9-12. At the beginning of May, we installed the scanner and I used this with some of the first years. I also used the internet with some students using a package called www.eircomlearning.net. With this package we went into a quiz called Kilmainham. This introduced the students to a little history about Kilmainham Jail, which they read and then finished of with a quiz. The last few lessons we went into Powerpoint and Publisher with some students making cards and doing a little animation. This finished off our school year, which I feel the students benefited from.

Teacher Training
On the 1st September 2000 a training day was set up for teachers involved in the SIP project. Fiona Phelan and myself went through various packages to show teachers what kind of programme we would be working on with the students. Seamus Knox, National SIP Co-ordinator from NCTE came down on the day and introduced the project and explained what my role would entailed. The teachers got a brief introduction of Clicker, Wordshark, Numbershark and Wellington Square 5 to name but a few. Unfortunately no other training day came about but for the first three weeks in May 2001 I have been training Mary T. Dalton the SIP co-ordinator and the first year form teacher on how to use the packages so that it can be kept in place for September 2001.

Technical Issues
At the beginning of the year we encountered some technical problems.Two computers were restricting us to load software as winlock was installed on both of them. Our main technical issue arose when we installed Starspell 2001. To add a new word list and record words you need a sound card on your server but unfortunately the NT4 server had not got a sound card. This then became very time consuming to add words. We had problems installing Wordshark and Numbershark on the network so we had to use these packages as standalone. The laser printer did not work at the beginning of the year but this was rectified later on and then worked very well. Throughout the year we encountered various technical problems some of them rectified and others still pending. At the end of the school year the internet was not working properly. We cannot log on as it gives us a message that the event log file is full.

Project Website
During the Spring term I developed a website for the project. This site contains details about the project including: students comments on their use of computers, details of software used by the students, examples of work completed by students, software evaluations and technical tips on how to install the various software titles on the NT network.

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