I have recently heard that I will be the ICT Co-ordinator in school next year which I am very pleased about. The school has not necessarily had someone who is focussed on the ICT and is eager to move it forward in recent years and this has meant, in my opinion, that it could be greatly improved. Now I am greeted with the prospect it begs the question of where to begin? I have my own ideas and opinions of the current place of ICT in my school based on my own experiences and things that I’ve heard from others; however, I am also aware that this may not be an accurate picture of ICT across the whole school. To get a clearer picture I decided to ask children from across the school what they thought. Next I needed to know what I wanted to know – this was trickier than you might expect! I wanted to find out what the children thought about ICT but where to begin? What could I ask that would elicit them to think about it rather than just saying what they thought I wanted to hear as well as finding out about what was going on in other parts of the school. I asked around on Twitter and this helped me organise my thoughts.
Keely Griffiths (@keelygriffiths) suggested:
@SwayGrantham The key question I think should be about their enjoyment. What ICT do they enjoy, want to see more of?
Emma Dawson (@squiggle7) made some interesting suggestions:
@SwayGrantham ask the chn to tell you about a good lesson and what they learnt
@SwayGrantham ask them what they do using ict outside of school
Lisa Warner (@tishylishy) sent me a questionnaire which she used in interviews with children at her school which also proved very useful. After these suggestions had started the proverbial ball rolling in my head I began to generate the questions I wanted to ask. Here is the final list:
- What is ICT?
- How do you feel about ICT?
Hate 1 – 5 love
- What new ICT vocabulary (words) have you learnt this year?
- What new programs or ICT equipment have used this year?
- Are you more confident in ICT now than you were at the beginning of the year?
Yes same no
- Do you use ICT to help you in other subjects? Which ones?
- Tell me what you did in your favourite ICT lesson you for this year? What did you learn?
- How have you used the internet to help you learn (at home or school)?
- What do you use ICT for at home?
- Do you think that using ICT helps you to learn? How?
- How can you improve your work using ICT?
- Do you think that you use the ICT equipment carefully?
- Who do you get help from if you can’t do something in ICT?
- The best thing about ICT is:
- What would you change about how we use ICT in our school?
- How do you make sure you are safe when using the internet?
I asked each class to send me two children who they could spare and due to our differing numbers from year to year we ended up with 5 year 3s (B3:G2), 6 year 4s (B3:G3), 4 year 5s (B2:G2) and 4 year 6s (B2:G2). What I found…well…there were some interesting quotes, from a year 6 boy:
‘ICT is a lessson where we all learn about comperters and laptops and how the internet and micrasoft works.’
There was only one child who spoke about anything other than ICT being learning about ‘computers’ and he mentioned ‘technology’. Only 2 children were able to identify new vocabulary they had learnt this year to do with ICT. Suggested changes for ICT all involved being allowed more time to play games on computers and 3 out of 19 pupils said they did not use computers at home. Now that I have this information I need to start putting it to good use; I suspected that we needed a greater focus on using digital technologies outside of the ‘computer’ so that children can see the broader uses of ICT in the world. I would also like to offer the children a wider range of experiences with computers, potentially through afterschool clubs such as animation and digital photography. Finally, there is also a very strong Microsoft focus in the children’s understanding, throughout their answers they refer to Office products or learning to use Powerpoint with no mention of actual presentation skills which should be a part of what they’re doing. I am hoping that Digital Leaders will be able to support staff in breaking away from the current trend of just using Microsoft technologies.