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Investigation of the usefulness of OILS with
special needs students.

Mother of Fair Love School

Michael Brennan the project leader along with Peter Donohoe, the Principal originally submitted a SIP proposal to investigate the usefulness of a citrix metaframe network running OILS software across the school. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the implementation of the project was severely delayed. In that time, Michael and the school were beginning to doubt the validity of installing the citrix metaframe across the school as the technical backup was not available locally and not all teachers were interested in ICTs.

It was decided to install a 10 PC NT network across two classrooms instead. The students using the software are between 13 and 16 years of age. They all have a mild general learning disability.

Students at PCs
Students at PCs

The OILS software program allows students to learn numeracy and literacy skills at their own pace. It is a software programme that is content rich. The programme monitors the progress of individual students. It can then determine what level of exercise to present the student with next. There is also a management facility that the teacher can use to monitor students progress and or direct them to alternative exercises.

As part of the project, the class teachers Michael Brennan and Shelia Herlihy are endeavouring to develop pedagogical strategies for using this software with special needs pupils. Both teachers have been given customised training from SiR, the providers of the Global Mathematics and Global English integrated software. Michael has received personalised training on the use of NT 4 in his school. Each student in both classrooms uses the software for approximately 20 minutes a day. There have been technical problems with the PCs, the network and the SiR software. Michael finds that some days he will spend more time sorting out IT problems in both his and Shelia's room rather that focusing on the learning experiences of the students. Understandably this has frustrated him greatly. Shelia, Michael and the students are on the beginning of a steep learning curve. Click here to see their website.


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