Report on the use of Networked Rooms
and Curriculum Integration

At the end of the school year 1999 to 2000 all teachers in the seven schools who had access to the Networked Rooms were surveyed. This survey addressed the following issues:

The following is the full text of our Survey Report

Report on the Impact of Using
Networked Computers
in Ennis Schools
June 2000

Introduction

This survey was carried out to ascertain the level at which teachers were using computer networks and how effective I.C.T's were as a learning tool in the laboratory environment. All these schools were participants in the Ennis Sip project.

Six schools with computer networks were issued with surveys in January 2000. The level of response to the survey was very high. Only teachers who used the computer laboratory (49) are included in this report.

Body of Report

The initial problem for schools was to get the teachers skilled in basic I.C.T's and familiar with lab. use. This has been achieved, facilitated in the larger schools by the resource teacher (with responsibility for I.C.T's).

Integration

Level of integration with class work was at 40% - 50%.

Benefits of Laboratory

Teachers are using the laboratory effectively and in a variety of innovative ways both with their classes and as a professional resource. What is apparent, however, 40% of teachers report that Internet use requires no extra preparation.

Use of Internet and Email More than half the teachers surveyed regularly use Email and WWW. Again, the vast majority of teachers felt that they would benefit from further training (89.9%). With regard to unsuitable material on the WWW the percentage who experienced it was low however, it is felt that as children become the authors of their own learning that percentage will rise considerably.

 

Report on Results

Pie Chart of Results

Fig. 1

How do you integrate ICT?

In schools with resource teachers: 40% - 50% integrate I.CT's with other subjects.
In schools without resource teachers: 75% - 80% integrate I.C.T's with other subjects.
It is noted that more frequent use of laboratory does not lead to an increased amount of classroom integration.

Benefits of Laboratories:

 

Pie Chart of benefits

Fig. 2

To this question some simply replied yes or no.
The "Other" replies listed as

  1. No suggestions;
  2. The Computer room allows the teacher to;

    Challenge more able;
    Work with less able;
    Present work well;
    Do group work;
    Do individual work;
    Access support teacher;
    Make informal assessment.

 

Use of Internet:

50% of teachers use Internet with their classes.
40% report that Internet use requires no extra preparation. Of the remaining teachers, the most common preparation required was the identification of suitable sites.

51% of teachers use Internet as a professional resource.

 

Teachers' usage of E-mail and Internet

Pie Chart useage of Email

Fig. 3

Internet and Unsavoury Material: 14.3% of teachers had experience of unsavoury material being accessed. While vigilance and advanced downloading of sites was recommended in some cases, most felt that access to unsavoury is an issue that needs to be addressed.

 

Training: All teachers felt that they gained from training and 89.8% would get involved in further training.

 

Difficulties in Using Lab

Difficulties Experienced in the Lab

Bar Chart showing difficulties

Fig 4

Where there was a resource teacher 60% of teachers reported no difficulties. A number of teachers who reported no difficulties did however indicate that any difficulties, which arose, were the responsibility of the resource teacher and of no concern to them. In schools without a resource teacher more than 70% of teachers reported difficulties experienced in the lab. Some of those who replied 'yes' to "difficulties", listed pupil teacher ratio, time and suitable software as their main difficulties. Some of the reported difficulties were inbuilt in the initial setup and were outside the schools' control. Most of these inbuilt difficulties have now been rectified.

Laboratory Use:

All report that students enjoy using the lab., which is time - tabled in all cases. 80% of teachers also enjoyed lab. use. 60% of teachers are aware of possibility of hardware sharing, while 70% are aware of possibility of work sharing in the lab.
70% of teachers reported that the lab helped them cater for individual needs of students.

Frequency of Class to the Lab

Table showing frequency to lab

Table 1


Use with class
:
All respondents use the laboratory. 69% use only time-tabled time for their class. The rest occasionally use non time-tabled time with their class.
Individual teacher use of Laboratory.

43% of teachers never use the laboratory for professional purposes. 39% occasionally use the laboratory. The rest vary between weekly or daily use.

Supports which would facilitate lab. use

Other

  • Class assistant with technical skills.
  • Sample lessons.
  • Training.
  • Software Library.
Pie chart showing supports

Fig. 5


Extra preparation required for lab. Use

Table showing supports required

Table 2


Teaching Strategies in lab.

Teachers employ a variety of strategies in the lab. ranging from whole class teaching, group work to individual tuition. Using the laboratory as a reward was also mentioned.

Strategies when Network is "Down".

51% don't use the lab when the network is down and 14% call on school IT teacher. Of the remainder, half resolve the problem while the remaining half use the machines as stand-alone.

Vision of Computers.

While all teachers view computers as an educational tool, 50% would consider that it also had entertainment value.

55.1% of teachers found a combination of lab and classroom computers most beneficial. Most of the remainder (34.7%) favoured a networked computer room with no classroom PC.

39% of teachers rated computers as a teaching aid as 'very useful'. 8.2% considered them 'not useful'.

 

Conclusion

Integrating I.C.T's with normal classroom work proved to be the biggest conceptual problem for teachers. Where schools had an I.C.T resource teacher individual teachers' attention to integration was less than in the schools where there was no resource teacher. It is envisaged that in phase two Lab. work will not be isolated from classroom work. In order that teachers will become successful advocates of integration their level of skill, and understanding of the value of technology must continue to be upgraded.
This need for ongoing professional development was echoed in all areas of this survey. Examples within the core competencies include Internet and Email, Lab. management and planning for I.C.T's. A major gap exists between

  1. teachers who understand the importance of technology as an effective learning tool and those who do not.
  2. Those who see that technology has makes a difference to curriculum and instruction and those who do not.
  3. Those who have been able to use technology in an innovative way in their classrooms and those who have not.

    The survey showed that where teachers were comfortable and confident with their level of skill they used the I.C.T's in a more effective and planned manner. It is crucial that teachers realise their own importance in what is felt by many to be a challenging new field.

    It is clear from the above that there is an urgent need for a person with technical knowledge to be made available to class teachers to maximise effective use of the Lab. One of the important messages that emerged from the survey was the urgent need for a policy document stating guidelines and best practice for Internet use.

    In this survey we have been endeavouring to look at technology but it must not be forgotten that technology is but one dynamic within a school environment where so many different interacting factors play their part.
Ennis Information Age Town
SIP058
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