At the end of last term I was given the go ahead to spend some money improving our ICT provision in school. As a result we are currently having our network infrastructure improved and I am also looking at the range of technology we have available to staff and pupils.
Currently we have two sets of 20 laptops available in the prep school. One of these set of 20 are now set up on an almost permanent basis to create a second ICT suite. One of the big issues we were having with the laptops was the time it was taking them to log on to the network (hence our infrastructure improvements) and staff and pupils were getting frustrated with them and as a result they weren’t being used as much as they could have been. Staff wanted the children to be able to get a laptop and be up and running as soon as possible and because most of the things that staff wanted the children to do were web-based (the odd bit of word processing can be done in Google Docs etc) we have decided to provide a set of 20 Chromebooks simply because of the speed of their off-to-working time.
I do not see this as a final solution and I am extremely keen to provide the children with access to a wide range of technologies and so I see this as the beginning of the investment in our ICT provision (our bursar may disagree 🙂 ) – I am also currently waiting for delivery of a Raspberry Pi.
I have also been looking at the technology we provide teachers. Currently every member of staff has their own laptop and as many staff move around the school to teach in different rooms they rely on moving their laptops around. I have been looking at the possibility of providing tablet computers for staff – several already have iPads – but I have been wary of just going down the iPad route simply for the sake of it and the fact it would sound good when showing parents round the school. I have tried to concentrate on what I would expect the staff to use them for and i imagine them being used for tasks such as taking the register using our online portal, recording evidence of children’s work (photo, video, audio) for assessment purposes, blogging, browsing the Internet and using apps such as Evernote, Three Ring and tools like Class Dojo.
This decision has been the hardest because there are so many options but after quite a lot of consideration and taking into account views expressed from others via Twitter I went and had a quick play with a few in PC World yesterday and I think my plan is now as follows:
to purchase four Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7″ versions – these have two cameras and I actually think the smaller size is a positive.
One of these will be for me, one for the Y3/4 ICT leader and one for the Pre-Prep (EY & KS1) ICT leader. The fourth one will be available for any other member of staff to use with the intention that they will then want to have their own and then we can possibly come to arrangements about whose budgets pay for them.
Once again I do not see this as a final solution and if some people decide they would rather have a larger screen we could look at the 10″ version. There is also no reason why we couldn’t in the future have other devices such as the Google Nexus 7, Windows Surface or the iPad.
So this is the solution that I feel fits best with our school and what we want to achieve – some may disagree with me and may well find a better solution for their school. I will of course keep you posted on how we get on with the Chromebooks and Galaxy Tabs.