Upon arriving at the school that would be my place of hiding for the next 20 days I noticed that ICT within the school was something of great importance. On my first day I was given an introductory tour of the school and noticed that each classroom had a ‘modern’ computer, and not one of the ‘retro’ RM computers I have seen in other schools. I also saw that every classroom had a Smartboard™ which made me very happy as I had, (as mentioned in previous blogs), just learnt how to use one. The final stop on my tour in regards to ICT was the ICT suite. This was a whole room dedicated to the education of ICT, there were 28 computers with broadband internet access and many different computer applications.
I was very impressed with the technology within the school, and after speaking with the head teacher, it was something they had built as a school and still striving to build upon. I also noticed that within the school, a lot of lessons used the support of ICT. Whether this was in the form of a powerpoint presentation, or as an interactive game as a lesson starter. The frequent use of ICT is something I classed as a positive; however something I do firmly believe in is the need to know the limits of ICT. As a teacher it can be very easy to fall into the simple powerpoint presentation trap, something which I think if used too often can see the software become ineffective as a teaching tool.
Another use of ICT which I found as an excellent way to engage learning was through the use of ‘mathletics’. This was used as a 45 minute starter at the beginning of every Thursday’s 2 hour slot. The website incorporates games into learning by allowing the children to play games if they answer questions correctly. The questions are set by the teacher so they are topical and cover the relevant information. Another school wide use of ICT was called ‘Zondle’, this was the online hub in which homework can be set and accessed at home. It was used throughout my placement and was effective at engaging the children in homework.