Encouraging Use of IT Across the Whole School
Our school is very lucky, in that it has been very well resourced throughout the last few years. We have Interactive Whiteboards in every classroom, visualisers, a set of laptops and pride of place, our shiny new set of 12 iPads. We have received whole school training through NCTE, as well as in-house training delivered by different staff members. However, it is hard to ensure that all of our skills and resources are being utilised efficiently. The IWBs are used by everyone daily, but some of the other resources are more difficult to encourage. I’m not too sure why, but maybe the obvious benefits of the IWB ensure that they are regularly used, in comparison to the other resources and technologies available.
At the moment, we are trying to come up with ideas to encourage more interaction on the school blog. Basically, we need people to post blog posts more often. Last year we tried a rota system, which had limited success. Classes didn’t always post when they should have. This seemed to be a for a number of reasons – lack of time being a major one. Although it often only takes a few minutes to write and publish a blog post, in reality, it can take longer. Uploading photos, especially on the school Internet connection, can be slow and in my experience – very frustrating! I prefer to write and post from home or if it is a post from the children, we often draft it in class and I upload it at home. I understand this isn’t ideal for everyone, but as an infant teacher, it’s hard to try and upload to the blog when I have the whole class vying for my attention.
A colleague of mine has recently suggested a “buddy” type system, where older children who are able to use the blog independently, buddy up with younger children to post to the blog and also to read it and comment on other children’s work. It will take some organisation, but will hopefully take off and reignite some of the buzz surrounding the school blog. It will also develop literacy skills and allow children to write for am audience. Once the children are enthusiastic, they will hopefully pass this enthusiasm to their parents who will also read and comment at home.
Another issue that I have discussed here before, is managing the use of the iPads. You might imagine that there is a waiting list to use them, but that is not always the case. Again, we have tried rotas and timetables but they don’t always work out. This results in the iPads not being utilised to their full potential. At the same time, it is important that they are used in a natural and organic way, so it is important not to be too rigid, or force their use. I would love to hear from other teachers and schools as to how they encourage use of ICT across the school and also throughout the curriculum. Should we make the effort of making rotas and timetables, for them to be abandoned, or is it worth continuing to encourage each new area of ICT as it comes out in the hope that somebody might spend a bit of time to try something new? I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and experiences.