From Stand Alone to Network
An Ennis School's Experience
Holy Family Junior School Description
Our school is a junior school, which caters for children from the ages of 4-7 years. We also have a special unit for deaf children aged from 4-13 years and a special unit for Traveller Children aged from 4-13 years. In total there are approx. 250 children on roll. There is a staff of sixteen teachers.
School ICT setup before the onset of Ennis Information Age Town
Before Ennis was awarded Information Age Town Status our school had one computer which was used by the school secretary for administration purposes and two computers in the Remedial Room. Most teachers in the school had absolutely no computer experience.
Initial School Plan for ICT in Holy Family Junior School
Thanks to the Generosity of
Ennis Information Age Town our school received 40 PCs (5 of which were
networked for Internet and e-mail usage), 15 printers and 1 multimedia
projector in 1998. We opted to distribute 35 computers throughout the
classrooms of the school and to install the 5 networked PCs in the Resource
Room. We believed that this setup would be most advantageous to the needs
of the children in our school. We didn't foresee the need for a networked
Computer Room and our reasons for this decision were as follows:
1. We viewed computers
as tools used to improve computing skills. We could not have imagined
how powerful they would be as pedagogical tools of learning and teaching.
Experiences of using a stand-alone computer setup in our school
For the first year of the project teachers experimented and became accustomed to using PCs in the classroom. Suitable software was purchased and great efforts were made to understand how best to use the newly acquired technology. This was a difficult year for all concerned as teaching staff had been "thrown in at the deep end". There was technology in every classroom but there was little guidance on effective usage.
In September 1999 one teacher was released from classroom duties to act as Resource Teacher for Information and Communication Technology in the school. From September until Christmas she tried to work with children and teachers in their classrooms, exploring the possibilities of using ICT as an Integral part of learning. This model had many successes:
1. The ICT Resource
Teacher could spend time examining software and learning how to use it.
She then endeavoured to pass this knowledge on to class teachers. Integration
of ICT with curriculum had begun.
Problems with a stand-alone computer setup
1. With only 2/3 computers
in each classroom, a lot of time had to be spent showing children how
to use software.
Interim Stage - Working towards a solution
In January 2000 it was proposed
that one PC would be withdrawn from each classroom and placed in the Resource
Room. This would mean that each classroom had 1 or 2 computers and that
the Resource Room now had 16 PCs. This experiment was to be reviewed in
May 2000 at a staff meeting. This new arrangement of PCs within the school
had a positive impact.
Next step on the learning curve…June 2000
Since this new layout of hardware was strongly endorsed by teaching staff, we decided to network the Computer Resource Room and all classrooms in the school. This work is being completed thanks to the support of Ennis Information Age Town. We hope that our school network will be up and running by November 2000.
Reasons for Networking
1. Every computer in the school will have Internet and e-mail access.
Holy Family Junior School