As part of the ICT planning process the school considered an integrated, structured approach to the future development of ICT. The decision was taken to install a range of interactive digital technologies in each classroom. The installation of interactive whiteboards was considered but rejected on the basis that a more effective and influential system could be developed in the medium to long term.
Each classroom in St. Joseph’s has been equipped with a data projector, visualiser, wireless keyboard and mouse. Each teacher has been supplied with a laptop. Many classrooms also use graphic tablets. Through the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle) pupils have access to courses in all curricular areas. There is a computer suite and a mobile laptop trolley with wireless connectivity. Each classroom has four terminals for pupil use.
Digital Tools and Resources
In 2006 our school had a wired network with broadband access throughout the school. We also had a well equipped computer suite and computers in all classrooms, resource rooms and administration areas. To maximise the use of the improved internet access and wealth of digital content available and to fully integrate ICT into teaching and learning in the classrooms we decided to install a range of Digital Multimedia Technologies (DMT’s) in each classroom. This decision was based on the belief that this system would be of greater benefit to staff and pupils in the school.
A laptop, data projector, wireless keyboard and mouse were initially purchased for each classroom and form an essential part of the ‘in-school’ system. With financial assistance from the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) and the Department of Education and Science (DES) wireless networking was installed to facilitate greater mobility in the use of laptops and other DMT’s This was followed by providing a visualiser for each classroom and a selection of graphic tablets.
The ‘in-school’ system offers:
- a wide range of opportunities for teachers and pupils to develop their digital multimedia technological skills.
- effectiveness in the use of those technologies
- embedding of ICT in the curriculum and assessment
- the capacity to enhance the delivery of the curriculum in the classroom
- value for money
- interactivity between pupil, teacher and digital content
- teachers and pupils a multiplicity of technologies rather than being restrained by the limitations of one
- a multi modal portal which facilitates the use of video, interactive teaching programs, video conferencing, internet and interactive exercises
The provision of laptops for all teachers has been very influential in motivating teachers to adopt and integrate ICT in their teaching. The availability of a laptop within school and out of school hours helps teachers to develop confidence and competence in ICT. This was particularly beneficial to members of staff who were less familiar with the technology. The portability of the laptops enables teachers to bring them to the staffroom, staff meetings and take them home. All teachers are equipped with up to date technology and share a common platform. The robust configuration of each laptop also ensures that the need for technical support is minimised.