The Management of Networked Rooms

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 in operation.

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.

  1. 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 any problems.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:
  • A resource teacher, released from teaching a class / Trained in the technical issues of networked management
  • 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 room.
Ennis Information Age Town
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