Primary IT - What is IT being used for in your school?
I've just been approached by the staff in one of my schools where they're in the process of really shaking up IT provision and taking a proper look at what's provided, what they aren't doing, etc... and I've been asked to give some intel' on what's happening based on what's going on in my other schools too.
Net realisation is that I've somehow managed to reprise the role of IT coordinator without anyone (including myself) cottoning on and it's obvious that development in many respects has given way to pragmatics of just trying to keep things running.
So, with this in mind I'm opening up something of a blue skies thread in the hope that you can give me some ideas on what you're doing with your schools, what's new, old, established, wishful thinking, etc...
So far the things we've spotted that haven't happened are:
- Use of digital cameras or video equipment (seems to be staff only)
- Lack of interactive whiteboards
- Control applications beyond what you see on the screen (Mission control)
I'm pretty sure there's more that's just completely escaped me but it occured to me this would be a rather useful thread for other primary techs who may well have found themselves in the same position.
I work in a junior (3-6) and a middle school (5-8) and it is in the latter that the use of IT is far more wide-reaching, even for children of primary age, mainly because the children are taught IT by a dedicated IT teacher, whereas in primary it is often the class teacher who does it all.
So.. what is he using? He is using podcasts (Podium) - the children write and perform news bulletins and plays, in French and English. They use digital cameras and video to make films about the school as part of the curriculum - they have to do a leaflet for new pupils and he has taken this further.
We don't have interactive whiteboards in the IT suites, just a screen projecting the teacher's machine. Mainly because you couldn't reach it over the computers and we don't have the space.
Not sure what you mean by control applications other than the usual flowol
They learn spreadsheets/databases very cleverly: he has created a 'theft' scenario where something important has been stolen from the IT suite. He got some of the children to record 'witness statements' and the work incorporates a spreadsheet with all the clues entered in it. The children need to decide on what the witness statements tell them and enter the data, interrogate the results and match against possible suspects!
We use comic strip applications to create booklets as well.
Hope this helps!
Unfortunately, at the junior, because it is the class teachers - they tend to just give the children a program to work through (something about making sandwiches or RM maths springs to mind) or else they do a lot of research using IT.
We go up to age 11, but have a Pre-School so there is quite a lot more early years provision than in most schools.
We have IWBs in all classrooms up from Transition (pre-Reception) to Year 6 and also in the ICT Suite, Art and Science rooms.
In the science room we have Digital Blue miscroscopes and thinking of getting some sort of weather station. We have no visualisers, but again they're on the 'would like' list. Fingers crossed the PTA will have some money for these in the future!
We have Bee-bots for control technology with the younger children and use Textease Turtle as they get older. My last school used Lego Dacta (I think?) in KS2
Textease is the drawing/writing/etc tool of choice at Foundation stage and KS1 with M$ Office being used for Database, spreadsheet, Writing, publishing, presentations in KS2.
Cameras, sound recording and video are used all through the school and incorporated into Powerpoint presentations, etc. Tuff-cam is used in Early Years. We're not doing Pod-casting yet, but I like Podium and would like to get it in.
All pupils in KS2 have email addresses and these are used to introduce Internet-Safety topics. Pupils in Years 5 and 6 are encouraged to email some homeworks in to their teachers.
Having read my post, I've decided that I don't feel quite as depressed as I did about what we do... ICT is actually being used quite a lot and in virtually every subject, now I think about it!
Use of digital cameras or video equipment (seems to be staff only)
Skip spending stacks of money on "video" cameras, the video facility in your average stills camera is more than adequate. So are mobile phone cameras, but these can bemore trouble to deal with than they're worth.
Aim for the TTS ones, they're actually an affordable price.
Lack of interactive whiteboards
Don't worry about it, give the teachers wireless keyboards and mice instead.
Control applications beyond what you see on the screen (Mission control)
Scratch, with Scratch board ($50 from some company in America).
At this point I could care less about the money side of things.. it's more the ideas than anything but there's already some very useful info shared and I have to say I feel rather left behind but very glad that I'm catching up now
So many thanks for what you've shared so far... I'm hoping for a few more gems yet
But on other hand remember which I don't need to say for op but worth mentioning.
Not about what got it is how you use it? Maybe need thread on how to get staff to use the equipment...
The good news for the school in question at least is that there seems to be a drive by the teachers and the head to get this resolved and to impliment new ideas and practices which is usually the major part of the battle.
C'mon folks... I'm sure there's more nuggets out there
Get a group of year 5's (not year 6) do something with the reception children coming in September. Maybe video about the school introducing their teacher /LSA etc. Then either have video on dvd or a website and let parents (and local nursery groups) of the children coming into school about it.
I would combine this with getting the year 5s to introduce them themselves and help out when new ones comes in august etc
Reason say not year 6 as the year 5s they then become mentor almost when they move up to year 6 for new ones new to the school.
As for ICTAC, we have datalogging software and a couple of very nice digital microscopes in science. Resistant Materials use 2D design a great deal as well as Serif. All classrooms in both schools have interactive whiteboards but I am not sure quite how well they are used in terms of the interactivity. I'm sure there is a lot more that could be done!
Tuff-cams are used and digital cameras. Both schools use standard MS office apps (both use Excel as a database, which drives me up the wall - I really don't think Access or similar is that difficult).
It has to be said though, most of this is in the lower years of the middle school. The junior school isn't half as IT cognisant - in fact we have no ICT co-ordinator at all.
Oh, and the G&T groups are doing a business plan and creating a product to sell using whatever software apps they like!!
I work for a CLC so we have a wide range of kids that come in and use our facilities.
Datalogging seems to be popular with primary schools, we use data harvest easysense qadvanced boxes with various sensors but mainly temperature and light gates. They also tend to use powerpoint or smartnotebook for writing up the experiments etc...
We also do a lot of green screen work with primary schools to create all sorts such as the typical weather forecasts but also things like Tudor News broadcasts etc... We use either Premiere Elements or full Premiere Pro even with primary kids.
We recently purchased new desktops with touch screens which the kids really like to use and on the whole seem to use sensibly moving to the mouse when necessary. Touch screen works well with young kids (especially those so young they can't click a mouse button etc..) when using some of the 2Simple software.
Another really popular one is lego mindstorms robots, we take part in the first lego league with a selection of our primary and secondary schools. We get them started with some training for the staff and host our local heat. The kids really seem to enjoy it, they even give up break times and work after school and even during holidays !!! We have some primary schools buying more kits so more kids can get involved.
We also have HD sony vid cameras which cost a fortune but for most things something like the flip video or a still camera is all you need otherwise you end up with powerpoints with huge video clips in them making them way too large, especially if they are to be posted on your learning platform etc...
I was IT tech for 3 primaries, and this random selection of info is as of 6 months ago:
We had a lapsafe, or laptop trolley with 15 - 30 laptops that could be booked out every other lesson (to allow charging) by teachers. The school with stairs didn't have one. It plugged into a spare network point, had an wireless access point in the back, and allowed more time on computers in class. Great if there's no possibility of a suite, but a pain to administer as the wireless could be unreliable moving from room to room.
Schools had interactive white boards in every room - mixture of smart/promethean.
Digi blue video cameras were popular (but had to be installed for every USB port!).
Each school has an espresso box - to serve their resources.
They were just getting to grips with their new learning platforms too.
Open office was beginning to be used (especially on recycled machines with no office license).
Checking out BETT this year showed a bunch of cool looking touch screens, which would be great for children with poor mouse skills.
That's all for now,
Last edited by booggerboy; 12th May 2009 at 02:03 PM.
Reason: thought of something else!
We have an IWB for every class (a must)
Visualisers for all the Junior classes (Some are used daily, some arnt)
Espresso/Knowledgebox/Education City subscriptions (Great resources that are constantly updated)
Digi Blue Cameras/camcorders (used frequently, kid friendly)
A major issue for me was (and still is) replacing the old software that is perfect for primary but just wont run properly.
i.e - Tizzys First Tools cant handle printers with popups for pin numbers etc
- ICT suite 2000 has to run in 640 x 480!!
We also just won a set of MP3 equpped headphone things which are great.. will link later when I can find them lol
We've got a couple of interactive boards which teachers and pupils use, plus another projector/wireless keyboard&mouse in Y6 - reckon the interactivity is important for the Littlies though.
We have a digital microscope which gets some use in their Science lessons, and also for a "name the mystery magnified object" competition which the Science Coordinator runs each week. Microscopes would see much more use if it wasn't for the fact that, as we're an all-age school, the Primary kids can use the Secondary Science labs. Visualisers are on the "when we have some money" list.
Photography is common throughout the Primary, although mostly by the teacher at the younger end. Y6 did some video stuff for the first time earlier this year, and I can definitely see that getting repeated.
Each class from Y2 upwards has one dedicated ICT lesson each week, in which they have 1:1 use of a computer, following the LCP syllabus through Word, Excel and PowerPoint, also using BeeBot Roamer and BlackCat Logo for "control". BBC Dance Mat touch typing tutor, and Spelling City are commonly used sites too.