©2019 by St Columba's School, Iona Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland

ICT Policy

Last Updated: September 2018

 

 

Introduction

This document is a statement of the aims and objectives, principles and strategies for ICT in St. Columba’s N.S. Iona Road. The policy was first developed in 2004 and has been reviewed on several occasions to reflect the constant change in ICT.  It was revised and reviewed again during the academic year 2018/19 through a process of consultation with the teaching staff and parents. The Board of Management approved the policy. This policy is fully implemented as of November 2018.

 

St. Columba’s Mission Statement

Saint Columba’s National School is a Catholic primary school which strives to provide a caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are addressed. Parents and teachers are partners in the children’s education. We recognise that co-operation and communication between home and school and the wider school community are vital ingredients in the educational process. We all share the same aim – the well-being of the children in our care

 

Brief description of our school

St. Columba's Girls' School opened its doors in October 1925. Currently we have 400 pupils on roll. The classes are vertical from Junior Infants to Sixth class. We have a Principal teacher, fifteen mainstream classroom teachers, three Learning Support teachers and six Special Needs Assistants.

 

Rationale (for this policy)

The purpose of this policy is to provide an overview of ICT in our school and to set out our general aims and goals in delivering ICT to the pupils.  Our policy provides us with a framework for long and short term planning which will be of benefit to the teaching and learning of ICT in St. Columba’s N.S. Our policy provides information for all teachers, the Board of Management and parents, of the approaches and methodologies being used in the teaching of ICT, emphasising the key messages of ICT as outlined in ‘ICT in Schools Document’.

History of ICT in the school

Our school’s introduction to ICT began with the use of Acorn computers in the 1980’s.Our first desktop was bought for the Learning Support Room. From there we moved to every classroom having a PC of its own. Suitable software was purchased in all the curricular areas for all the various class levels and children usually worked at the PC’s, on the software in pairs. The PCs were on a cabled network with a central server and both teachers’ and pupils’ work was saved to the server.

Our first two Promethean Interactive White Boards were introduced in 2008. IWB’s were then introduced to the whole school over time and we switched over gradually, at this stage from PCs to the use of laptops in the classrooms. Our original PCs had Windows XP as their operating system. As PCs became dated or stopped working they were replaced by Window 7 laptops. At the moment these laptops are being replaced by Window 10 Laptops as needs arise. All work is saved to the server which has three sections - an individual section for each teacher, a teacher shared area and a pupil shared area. Our photocopiers are also networked and teachers can print from their laptops. Since 2015 all class teachers are using Aladdin to call the roll and store standardised test results.

It became apparent around 2013, that due to the need for the teacher to have constant use of the laptop for professional use or for use with the IWB that pupils were in fact having less access to ICT in the classroom than before. We met this challenge by deciding to invest in a bank of iPads. We started with 16 iPads and a charging trolley. We also invested in Griffin Survivor cases for each iPad. We also invested in an apple TV and Apple Airport Express for use with the IWB. We have since invested in a second Apple Airport Express and some cables that link the iPad to the VGA and the newer boards with HDMI cables for the whiteboard. The IPads are stored and charged in an iPad trolley and are timetabled for use in the classroom. Recently our Parents’ Association bought us six new iPads for use in the school. These can still be charged alongside the original iPads in the original trolley. We now have a total of 26 iPads. These are numbered so that the children can easily find their saved projects on the iPad. Our broadband provider is through NCSE and is provided by Virgin Media. Our access is filtered through NCSE. Currently we are engaging with our ICT technician to source hardware that would allow for Wi-Fi in each room.

We are providing a process of continuous professional support to ensure teachers and pupils get the most from our Apple investments. The school arranged for an Apple Professional Development tutor from Compu B to come to the school and upskill the staff during Croke Park hours when we first invested in iPads and more recently we have worked with Cocoon who are providing the ICT leadership team with support. The team are then liaising with, and upskilling staff as necessary. Emphasis currently is in the areas of digital literacy, computer science, and I.T. and internet safety.

 

Vision for ICT

ICT is now a powerful tool which is central to the educational process. The Staff at St. Columba’s Primary School recognise the potential of ICT at the heart of the curriculum in terms of learning and teaching and as a core competence for the pupils. We recognise the success of ICT training in raising the profile of ICT within our school and in enthusing teachers. We aim to develop and strengthen the use of ICT to support learning and teaching. We want our pupils to become independent, autonomous learners who are confident and competent using technology. We are aware of the rapid development and the increasing complexity and range of uses of ICT, the increase of interactive technologies in schools and the development of communication through broadband. We recognise the need for structured CPD to reflect development goals over the short, medium and long term and to reflect the speed at which ICT is moving in our world. We recognise the importance of safe internet use for our pupils and this is a key part of our teaching. Responsible ICT usage and online safety is at the heart of our vision.

 

Rationale (for ICT - Why our pupils should use ICT)

ICT can 

  • Help pupils to develop thinking skills and problem solving strategies.

  • Help pupils to locate, gather, synthesis, analyse, reconstruct, communicate and present information.

  • provide opportunities for deeper analysis of concepts and processes

  • help pupils to  gain more control over the direction of their learning and promote independent learning

  • present social opportunities for collaboration on joint tasks both face to face in the classroom and online.

  • develop creativity.

  • encourage learning out of school in other settings.

  • allow pupils to gain knowledge, understanding and skills beyond that of the teacher.

  • Special Educational Needs –provide a variety of teaching and learning methods,

  • Allow for differentiated learning

 

Aims

Our aims in using ICT are to:

  • Raise levels of pupil competence and confidence in using ICT – by developing children’s knowledge, understanding and skills in using a range of ICT tools to enhance learning experiences across the curriculum.

  • Raise levels of teacher competence and confidence in integrating and using a range of different technologies into their planning, teaching and assessment of children’s work.

  • To enhance and enrich children’s learning and add to its enjoyment.

  • Provide access to internet, interactive learning resources and whiteboards.

  • Develop children’s independent learning skills using ICT across the curriculum.

  • Develop information handling and research skills.

  • Embed ICT in the yearly and fortnightly plans.

  • To give our children the knowledge and skills to use the internet as safely as possible

 

Provision for pupils with SEN in Mainstream

  • It is important to recognise the potential of ICT to help address children’s individual learning needs. ICT is used to enhance the learning experiences of children with special educational needs within the school.

  • Where appropriate specialist hardware equipment can be used to meet children’s individual needs. Children with special needs can also use I.C.T, to present their work.

  • Teachers shall familiarise themselves with the variety of suitable apps in order to provide differentiation and cater for children with special educational needs within their classrooms.

 

Steering Committee

 The following are the key contributors to a positive, effective school environment

  • Management –

    • to provide leadership and direction

    • Reviewing infrastructure and managing budget

  • ICT Co- ordinator and ICT Team

    • Play a key role and liaise with Principal and staff in the drawing up of a whole school policy for ICT.

    • Support, guide and motivate colleagues in the use and development of ICT across the curriculum.

    • Advise staff on ICT training and support which is available to them.

    • Buddy system with teachers where more expertise is needed

    • Ensure that the use of ICT is managed and organised to meet school aims and objectives.

    • Contribute to the monitoring and evaluation process.

    • Keep up to date with recent developments in ICT and advise colleagues appropriately.

    • Source and update ICT software.

    • Liase with outside technician as needed.

    • Identify and assess new approaches to the use of e-learning

    • Monitor the work being carried out in ICT throughout the school to ensure progression.

    • Monitor and update the school website

    • Provide opportunities for staff peer learning

    • Keep informed on current trends and advise management

    • Organise shared resources

    • Organise maintenance and servicing

    • Induction of new staff  to the school’s ICT systems

    • Updating software and licences, antivirus

    • Organise AUP, cyberbullying, online safety lessons

    • Organising CPD

    • Ensuring ICT is regularly on staff and BOM agenda

  • Teachers

    • Assess pupils’ skills.

    • Share ideas, resources, skills and practices with fellow teachers on staff.

    • Integrate ICT throughout curriculum.

    • Have read the schools internet acceptable use policy.

    • Inform the ICT post-holder of any technical problems and resources which need replacing.

    • Post updates on classwork to the school website

    • Ensure that all resources are returned.

  • Pupils

  • A team of 'pupil superheroes’ will be trained in IT problem solving /It Mop Up jobs e.g. deleting photos from the iPads/ in class support for staff who would like extra help e.g. younger classes. This group is comprised of children from 4th to 6th classes (12 in total) and will meet regularly.

 

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)

Aladdin is being used successfully by all teachers in the school. At the moment G Suite (free) is being set up in the school for both teachers and children to use and to store work on. iBooks and iMovies will be stored here.

We see the input of the digital company Cocoon (paid for) as integral to our whole school development of ICT. Cocoon is passionate about making teaching with technology easy for all teachers. The personalised plans are based on the best apps and programs available on our devices. According as we become more confident in the area of ICT, Cocoon’s input will be lessened and eventually withdrawn.

 

Staff Professional Development Staff development in ICT is ongoing within the school.  It is our aim to raise the level of teacher competence and confidence in ICT by:

  • Training in technology – provision is made to upskill teachers in the rapidly changing area of ICT – Initial training was given by Compu B, currently we are receiving training from ‘Cocoon’ and staff are also involved in peer to peer staff training.

  • Time is dedicated to ICT on agenda of each staff

  • Displaying information on the staff notice board for ICT courses.

  • Staff is proficient at using their laptops for planning and preparing work. All staff are familiar with the use of saving to the server and the use of Aladdin. All standardised test results are also saved to Aladdin and teachers are proficient in retrieving the information. The text a parent facility is also in use in the school.

  • Staff will give CPD to peers using the CPD certified training presentations on the Cocoon website.


ICT on the timetable

  • All classes are timetabled for ICT –use of iPads

  • Classes also ‘buddy up’ for ICT at times for peer tutoring and for staff peer tutoring.

 

Organisation of Resources

  • There is one laptop/PC in all classrooms which provide connection to the internet, software and shared printing facilities via the cabled network.

  • All classrooms have interactive whiteboards.

  • There are two networked printers/ photocopiers located on upstairs and downstairs corridors.

  • Digital, Video and web cameras are stored in the I.C.T. co-ordinator’s filing cabinet.

  • The iPad trolley is stored in the Principal’s office at night and in the I.C.T. co-ordinator’s room by day.

  • The trolley contains 26 iPads and charging leads, 1 apple TV, 2 airport expresses, 2 iPad 2 connectors to VGA leads and 1 iPad 4 to HDMI connectors.

  • 20 IPad are iPad 2’s and 6 iPads are iPad 4’s.

  • There are 2 visualizers in the infant section of the school.

  • A projector for use in the school hall is stored in the principal’s office.

  • A scanner and a photocopier are located in the secretary’s office.

  • ICT resources are timetabled for use in classrooms but must be returned after use.

  • The iPad trolley is plugged in and is charging every day.

 

 

Classroom Management of ICT Resources

Children will have planned opportunities to use ICT resources to carry out:

  • Individual work, project work, research etc.

  • Group activities – children will generally work in pairs or small groups on the iPads. Each iPad is numbered to ensure the children can find and continue with their work easily.

  • Whole class activities – interactive whiteboard. The children use the IWB interactively with software for Literacy, Gaeilge and Maths.

 

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

  • The Principal and ICT co-ordinator discuss how ICT is incorporated into the school development plan.

  • The school development plan for ICT is in place and it ensures progression and continuity for children from junior infants to sixth class has been drawn up and agreed by all staff.

  • ICT is embedded into the schemes of work of each teacher.

  • Additionally, the school has access to a number of educational companies’ online resources for planning including cjfallon.ie and folensonline.ie.

Our ICT policy has links to the following policies

  • Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

  • ICT Development Plan

  • ICT integration in whole-school plan and  subject plans / ICT Integration

  • School Self-Evaluation and School Improvement Plan

  • Special Educational Needs

  • Data Protection Policy (GDPR)

  • Anti-Bullying Policy (Cyberbullying)

  • Stay Safe Programme

  • SPHE programme

  • Mobile phone policy

  • Cyber safety

 

Teacher Planning and Reporting

St. Columba’s Primary School recognises that advantages to using ICT as a tool for teacher planning, preparation, record keeping and reporting. All teachers use ICT to prepare yearly and fortnightly plans. End of Year Reports are also completed using ICT (Aladdin). Standardised test scores are stored digitally and teachers are familiar with this system and can retrieve results as needed. Additionally, the school has access to a number of educational companies’ online resources for planning including cjfallon, edco and folensonline.

 

St. Columba’s Website

St. Columba’s website will be kept updated regularly with current information regarding events and ongoing work by pupils in the school. It will also be used as a tool for informing and involving parents in their child’s education. A number of educational and informational links have been placed on the site under the parents section with this aim in mind.  Policy Review

ICT is a rapidly changing area. As ICT resources increase and change, and as pupil and teacher ICT competence develop the ICT Policy will be reviewed to evaluate its continued effectiveness. This policy will be updated when further information becomes available.