The management of networked
computer rooms has brought new challenges to Ennis schools.
They have taken different approaches to the management challenges and
are actively reviewing the success or otherwise of the various models
There are at present seven schools
with Networked rooms. One junior school has recently opted to install
a Network. (See Report)
Data for this summary of our local situation was derived through meetings
with coordinators, interviews with principals, e-mail communications and
reports from individual schools.
- Three schools have full
time resource teachers who are also I.T. co-ordinators. Part of their
duty is to manage the networks in their schools. They do not have responsibility
for teaching a class group.
These teachers are responsible for planning with class teachers their
integration of I.C.T's with classroom work. They load software on the
shared drives, source suitable sites and assist the class teacher with
- Two schools have full time
class teachers who are also I.T. co-ordinators. These teachers are responsible
for the management of the networked rooms. Classes are timetable in
the room throughout the day. The co-ordinator is stretched very severely
in this situation. The constant demands to resolve problems and load
software on the shared drive causes frustration and time loss. Where
teachers attempt these tasks themselves, owing to their limited training,
the result often causes serious disruption to the network.
The co-ordinators need to work after school and at the weekends to service
the needs of the network.
- One school shares the responsibility
of network management between two key members of staff. One is the I.T
co-ordinator and the other an assistant. Both teachers have done some
training in Network management. This approach reduces, but does not
eliminate, the amount of work involved.
- In one Special School a
high proportion of staff using the Networked room are very skilled in
the technological area. Each teacher has the skill to deal effectively
with their class use of the network and deal with any problems. (There
is support for any major difficulties.) This represents an unusual situation
for an Irish primary school. These teachers have extra experience and
qualifications pursued in their own time. However, even in this case,
the teachers spend a considerable amount of out of school hours time
working on network related problems.
In reviewing the success of the various models it is apparent that management
of the Networked rooms is bringing a huge burden of extra work to schools.
If the Ennis experience reflects what may be in store for other Irish
schools in the future the Ennis SIP project would suggest:
Information Age Town
- A resource teacher, released
from teaching a class / Trained in the technical issues of networked
- This position to include
duties as a facilitator - working closely with class teachers, guiding
them towards integration of their classroom work with that in the Networked