Getting the most out of ICT resources for schools:
Though back in those days there may be computers in office building or school laboratories, yet we use to prefer doing things as though we were in the Stone Age. It still happens today in some parts of the world. This means we need to know how to get the most out of our ICT resources and only then will we appreciate the importance of ICT resources. Below are some well researched tips to help us get the most out of ICT resources.
A vision can go a long way
The use of ICT can have a limited impact on teaching and learning when your staff fail to appreciate that innovation. Interaction and collaboration requires a new approach to pedagogy, lesson planning, the curriculum and the use of the latest technology. ICT is impacting education in a way we would have never imagined 10-15 years ago. Having a clear cut vision and IT strategy is vital to ensuring that these resources aren’t just used to add to or enhance existing teaching practices.
But, you don’t have to go it alone. There are educational specialists out there who can provide expert advice and guidance on strategies for integrating technology effectively into teaching and learning. They’re here to help you be an innovator, be a game changer and be that school who uses ICT to deliver an educational experience worthy of our 21st century learners.
Practice makes perfect and permanent
ICT isn’t just a tool to help students develop and learn. It’s equally as important for teachers too – not only for continued professional development but also as a means to integrating it into their teaching processes. The problem is that teachers often struggle to do this because they’re unsure of how to use it effectively enough to make a difference.
Training in this instance is key. It not only ensures that your vision is being carried out exactly as you’d imagined it, but that you’re getting the most out of your ICT resources and your teachers have the confidence to actually use the technology effectively in the classroom.
Be it device-focused training, pedagogical training, training on how to use the latest interactive touchscreens or ideas on device-driven lesson content – there are so many training options out there that can help your staff achieve more than they thought is possible.
Be safe, not sorry
ICT and the internet are powerful resources and play a key role within education. But sometimes they can be powerful for the wrong reasons. As such, creating a safe and secure ICT environment is key to ensuring your school’s network, sensitive data and staff and students are always protected from malicious attacks via the internet.
Safeguarding, data protection, disaster recovery and e-safety policies are just a few areas increasingly under constant evaluation. From secure back-up to anti-virus software management, you need to ensure that your school has a clear IT policy and solutions in place that not only ensures data is backed up securely but also protects it (and your students) from the outside world.
Prevention is better than cure
Even with the most efficient remote or on-site support, it’s always good to try and identify a problem before it arises and work to resolve it before it becomes an issue. But in a world where your IT Manager is also most probably your Year 4 English teacher too, for example, having someone to continually monitor your IT resources isn’t always practical or possible. At the end of the day do you disrupt the class to fix the problem or continue with the lesson but can’t deliver it as you wanted because of an issue with resources? Not an ideal situation at all.
But it’s not all bad news. There are solutions out there that can help take care of all that for you. Be it remote monitoring of your systems, identifying areas of improvement or having your very own dedicated on-site engineer – these solutions can help reduce the risk of downtime and disruption to lessons whilst ensuring your network is performing to its full capability to deliver real value to both staff and students.
Communication is key
Keeping your teachers and staff up to speed with all things school related has never been more important than now. With ICT resources for primary schools playing such an important role in education, it’s essential that you have an efficient method of internal communication. You can’t rely anymore on people checking notice boards for updates, but one thing you can pretty much guarantee is that they’ll check their emails.
You need a communication platform that takes the headache away from you, stores it all in the cloud and best serves the needs of your school. But in order to do all that you need to have the right provision in place. Having teachers and staff using their Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail accounts just won’t do. And why? Safeguarding, breaking the law, malicious attacks – everything I mentioned earlier and more.
It’s pretty clear that ICT should be firmly embedded into our schools and into teaching practices to provide an enriching learning experience that equips students for life far beyond school.
Author: Peter Van Kazin Ayittah
Membership Administrator, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana
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