A.Staff Development B.O.M. to continue to promote this:

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Nov 24, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


Learning Plan

The Nuts and Bolts


Staff Development

B.O.M. to continue to promote this

The BOM, through th
e actions of the principal, has

a policy of supporting the professional
development of all staff in St. Joseph’s. This broad support is extended to cover support for
skilling in ICT also. Support may be financial, where the school will
help towards the

cost of a course, or it may be
in the form of hosting information/training days/evenings for
the benefit of the staf
f. The promotion and support of

professional development is regarded

by the BOM as an investment in the quality of teaching in this school.

Specific to IT, the school has
hosted a full West Cork Education Smart
Board summer
course for the last two years and intends to continue this partnership for the foreseeable
future. Any teacher thinking of engaging in a professional development course is
encouraged to make use of schoo
l supports.

Timeframe: Ongoing

Lynda.com or equivalent

St. Joseph’s NS recognises the potential for using the resources on the internet as a
professional development tool.
It is also desirable that there is a standardised approach to
this form of staff development to assure quality and compatibility of the skills learned. To
this end, the E
Learning co
ordinator will need time to research the different paths to
development available on the internet. This may include pay sites such as
Lynda.com or a handpicked selection of free tutorials from free sites such as YouTube. (S)he
will also need to conduct a cost benefit analysis of the different paths. Finally, a list

skills/lessons/courses must be formulated and ordered to meet the needs of the school. Once
completed, the teachers will be encouraged to use the list to up
skill on

Timeframe: complete research by June 2011


Sep 2011 onwards

How to search and evaluate results (browsing)

A new skill, particular to the phenomenon of the internet, is that of browsing.
There is an
incomprehensibly huge volume of information on the
World Wide Web
, accessible quite

with the touch of a button. Internet browsers are computer programs that allow
you to travel the information highway, like a taxi, with the means to take you to the
information you need (e.g. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox). Search
es are like the taxi driver, with

and a map of the internet, so you don’t
have to give the exact address of the website you want to visit. Instead, you tell the search
engine what you are looking for and it will give you a list of websites you ca
n visit that
might be of use.

It is a skill to give the right information to the search engine. The phrasing and words used
in your request have a significant bearing on the result.

It is also important to have the skills needed to assess the results of

your search. One of the
few drawbacks of having most of the world’s knowledge at your fingertips is th

knowledge can be imperfect.

Browsing skills can be developed through training and practice and it is the intention of this
school to provide both

to our school community. This tra
ining will be given

o the staff by
I.T. experts, and it will then be communicated

on to the students. The Parents’ Association
will be given the contact details of the tutor to arrange further training

(the school facilit
will be made available for such a purpose)

Timeframe: Academic Year 2010/11

Use of scanner function on photocopier

The E
Learning co
ordinator will make arrangements to demonstrate the scanner function
on the photocopier. This may be done by f
irst studying the user’s manual or by bringing in
an expert from Ronnie Moore’s.

One purpose of promoting this particular skill is to afford teachers the opportunity to scan
books/copies/pictures directly to a folder on their l
aptops for display on the cl


Timeframe: by Dec 2010

house ICT Courses

The afore mentioned summer Smartboard, scanning, browsing and online courses may be
included under this heading.

However, the West Cork Education
centre has

offered St. Joseph’s NS the possibility of
conducting a fully funded IT course at some stage during the academic year. It will be the
job of the E
Learning co
ordinator, in consultation with the staff,
to identify the needs of
the staff and construct a co
urse outline that addresses them. This could then be delivered
with or without the Education Centre’s support.

Timeframe: by June 2012


Mobile Computer Room

With ICT established as a pedagogical tool for the teachers, St. Joseph’s NS recognises
the need for the students
to also have

first hand access to technologies. A key method of
delivery, identified by the E
Learning Committee, is that of the provision of
a mobile
computer room system. Such a system

will a
llow the children regular use of

However, to be effective it must fulfil certain criteria:


Mobility: The school does not have the space for a dedicated computer room so the
computer room itself must be compact
nd mobile


Usefulness: There must be an adequate range of software avai
lable to the students to
develop a variety of skills


A student’s work must be easily transferable from one computer to
nother to avoid the necessity of

assigning particular computers to particular
children. Transferability also allows chi
ldren to take their work home with them.


Speed: The system must exceed the school’s minimum requirements for speed. This
refers to both the speed of the computer and the network/internet it accesses

Laptop trolley

The first pie
ce of infrastructure needed is
a 30+ bay laptop trolley. Such a device provides
appropriate storage space
, a safe and simple method of recharging, a secure locking system
and surge protection. The plugs and recharging units for all the laptops are accommod
in the trolley, so only the laptops themselves are removed when needed, having already
been charged.

Timeframe: Summer 2010

Entry Level Laptops

The school will purchase/procure 30+ laptops, using

donations and the ICT grant for

2010/11. The
laptops will be of an entry level standard and should have the following


3+ hrs battery life





15in+ screen size


2 GB Ram


3 year warranty

The purchase of the laptops will be followed by a program of uploading the following
programs onto each laptop:


All Sherston software


The Know Your ........ Series


English Type Senior


SpongeBob Typing


Literacy Activity Builder


AVG Free


Open Office







to the favourites of every browser (can be used to
download the final 4 programs on the above list and many more)

The laptops cannot come into operation until the above pro
grams have all been installed.
Failing to do so immediately after purchase will res
ult in non

equipping of the
laptops as it will be very difficult to re
trace steps to find the gaps in provision.

Timeframe: purchase by Jan 2011

Laptops operational by 3rd term 2011

USB Flash

After the students have

had some experience
using the laptops in

term of 2011, it is
the intention of St. Joseph’s NS to add USB 1 or 2GB flash
drives to the booklist

of children
from 3


The E
Learning Co
ordinator will find the best value available for su
ch devices and the
school may bulk


for re
sale to the parents (
not for profit).

The purpose of acquiring flash drives is so the children will have transferability of their
work between laptops and between work done at home and at school. It is ou
r hope that ,
with increased use, there would be less of a need for bringing as many books home and an
according decrease in school
bag weight. Children will be advised to back up the
documents from their flash drives onto their computers at home.

imeframe: In use from Sep 2011

Increase in Bandwidth

In the experience of this school, our current allocation of 7meg broadband will not be
sufficient to cope with 30 more laptops trying to access the internet at any stage. The
students will, for the time being, be restricted from using the mobile computer r
oom to
access the internet. Meanwhile, the e
learning co
ordinator will conduct a feasibility study
that will include the range of options available to the school for increasing its broadband
This may include canvassing the Department of Education,

going private for our
provision, getting local authority support and input into the matter, or doing nothing (the
effect of adding 30 laptops to the load in the school may not be as significant as feared). The
ordinator will make a report to the BOM wh
o will make a decision accordingly on the

Timeframe: Report by Nov 2011


I.T. as a Teaching Tool

believes that the key factor in

academic achievement is the quality of the
There is already a strong tradition of academic achievement and only the
teachers can deliver any further improvements.
This is why the school promotes
professional development so
ICT will not
improve academic
t in St. Josep
h’s NS

However, ICT does

provide an extra tool at the teachers’ disposal for such a purpose. ICT
also enriches the range of experiences available to the children attending St. Joseph’s
and helps
prepare them for a life
long association with technology

at home and at

Online Versions of Schoolbooks

An advantage of an IWB is its ability to display text that the whole class can read together.
Many of the book companies that we deal with have facilitated this further by providing
books online in a
.pdf format. With a username and a password, any teacher in the school
can download a page from the book they are currently using and display it on the screen
for demonstration purposes. This system is already in use by a number of the teachers and
the pri
ncipal will encourage and assist the other teachers to avail of the same.

Timeframe: from Sep 2010


Not every book in use in the school is available online. In the absence of such a facility, a

can be used in the classroo
m with similar effect. A visualiser is a high quality
camera attached to an adjustable arm with its own light source. This can be used
to view
books or other objects on the IWB screen. The school already has a scanning facility that
can achieve the same re
sult with books. The cost of a visualiser is excessive (generally
starting at
€400) for what it does.

However, there is merit in the instant access it provides to
a class and


allows a lesson to develop more organically. It is an item the school would li
to invest in later on during the delivery of this plan, assuming no cheaper better alternative
comes along in the interim. Also the funds for this will be drawn from the ICT grant of
2011 if there is one.

Timeframe: Jan 2012


St. Joseph’s NS has made use of the membership based website Mathletics since October
2008 with some success. We have found it to be particularly beneficial to
children in need
of Learning Support and Resource teaching. The school will continue to provide
such access
to LS/RT with an annual review each September. The review in September 2012 wil
l include
the motion to extend

the service to the rest of the school.



Potential roll out in Sep 2012

Project work

work has, in recent years, become a regular opportunity for making use of a school’s
limited ICT capability. With the increase in facilities and resources, it will be the job of the
Learning Co
ordinator to
develop and
ge new ways of engaging in

roject work.
(S)he will suggest/encourage/facilitate a range of deliveries reflective of the capabilities in
the school. Some examples may include:








Digital photography


Video Conferencing



Timeframe: ongoing

and evaluating results

Please refer to Section A

Staff Development

How to search and evaluate results

Incidental Skills Development

Although targeted ICT skills development forms a significant part of our E
Learning Plan, it
is our considered opinion

that the students are equally if not more likely to develop their
skills incidentally. Through regular use of ICT in the normal delivery of the curriculum, the
students will have ever increasing opportunity to develop their skills. This evolution of
ice should be monitored/identified/acknowledged/encouraged by the E
learning Co

Timeframe: ongoing


I.T. As a subject

The students attending this school are ‘E
Natives’. They were born into a world where
computers, laptops, mobile
, internet, b
roadband, Satellite TV, e

and social
networking sites are an everyday part of life. They are digital learners. Information is
immediately accessible to them. The amount of time spent in front of a screen of some
description is astronomical in comparison to those teaching them. Ins
ofar as ICT can make
teachers uncomfortable
, it is equally as comfortable a medium of learning for our
students. The point is that only teachers would benefit from IT being taught as a subject.

ICT, in many ways, should be viewed b
y teachers

s simil
ar to the development



language. The m
antra in relation to language i
s that ‘Every lesson is a language lesson’.
Similarly in today’s digital world, every lesson is potentially an I.T. lesson.

There are, however, several I.T. specific topics that co
uld be addressed under this heading.


The school has invested in typing skills programs. SpongeBob Typing can be used for the
junior end of the school and English
Type Senior may be used by senior classes. When the
Mobile Computer Room is in
operation, the teachers will be asked to ti
table a dedicated
slot each

week for


Timeframe: 3

term 2011

Project Work

Project work has already been mentioned as an incidental ICT skills developer. It can also be
a targeted skills deve
loper depending on the theme of the project. These types of projects
may include:


Students developing guidelines and instructions for software programs they use.


Developing best practice for internet browsing


Make your own website


How to podcast

The E
ning co
ordinator will identify/suggest/facilitate such project work. This kind of
work can be ongoing but should not be pushed/expanded by the co
ordinator until the
school has had several months of experience of the Mobile Computer Room.

Timeframe: ongoing

Expansion of practice from Jan 2012

Continue ICT Initiatives

St. Joseph’s NS has been engaged in several worthy ICT specific initiatives for quite some
time now, including:


Website Development




Library System


Green Sc
hools’ P.R. Team




The continued development of and support for these projects will be the responsibility of
the teachers in charg
e of them, the principal and the

Learning Co

Timeframe: ongoing

Parental involvement

The parents are recognised as the primary educators of the children by this school and their
involvement in the delivery of this plan is vital to its success.
The E
Learning Committee
identified a number of ways in which parental input and involvement sho
uld occur. In
order to inform the details of delivery (below), a school wide survey of the parents was

Computer Leasing System

Our survey identified that 95% of households have computers with 93% having internet
access. This figure rises to n
early 100% on both counts when you go down to the junior end
of the school, with most new enrolments being second generation ‘E

To bridge the gap, this school proposes to arrange for the leasing of a complete computer
system to any family who do
es not have one. Such a system would include a computer,
monitor, keyboard, mouse and all the associated cabling.
The leasing initiative will


shortly after the Mobile Computer Room is in operation. A contract will be drawn up by the
Learning Co
inator and (s)he will run the initiative in conjunction with the office. The
contract will require a small leasing fee from the family but will be quite heavy on penalties
for misuse or breakage through neglect. Leased computers will be returned at the end

each academic year, with no guarantee of receiving the exact same computer the following
September. The cost of rolling out the service
will be reduced due to

the fact that there are
several operational computers in the school which are currently not i
n use. The leasing fee
will alleviate the costs over time, and if any new computers must be purchased then they
will be put into classrooms and the machines they replace will be leased out.

Timeframe: Sep 2011

Classroom e
mail accounts

No notes

89% of St. Joseph’s NS parents have an e
mail account with 72% of parents surveyed having
an e
mail that they use regularly. Recognising this fact, i
t is the intention of this school to
create e
mail accounts specific to each classroom in the school.

will form an added
form of communication between the classroom teacher and
the parents. This development

dependant on the success of a similar, more widespread initiative being conducted from
the school office from Sep 2010, and will be facilitated by t
he office.

Timeframe: not before Sep 2012

Recorded Teaching exemplars

Over the years there have been occasions where the accepted pedagogy of a particular topic
has changed. This can result in confusion at home where a parent helping their child w
their homework was taught on

method and their child has been taught another way.
Confusion reigns and arguments with such sentences as “That’s not how teacher does it!” or
“Well it never did me any harm” are to be heard.

To settle the confusion, we in
d to record between

two and five
short lessons for parents
to access via the school website to clarify the teacher’s methodology.
The key topics of
contention will be identified by teachers in our staff meeting in Sep 2010 and then
addressed during the

same academic year.

When covering the particular topics, teachers will then let the children know about the
exemplars on the website, a message they can then pass on to their par
ents should a
disagreement occur

Timeframe: 2010/11 academic year

Teacher/Parent/Student training sessions

It may occur that a skill is identified in a classroom where students, teachers, and parents
would all benefit from a standardised knowledge of it. In such cases, the E
Learning Co
ordinator will be informed and wil
l make arrangements for the delivery of tuition
simultaneously to all three groups. A person with the particular skill in question will be
invited to deliver tuition to all three groups at once.
Everyone will benefit from this
standardised approach, partic
ularly the students.

Timeframe: from Jan 2012

Computer courses for parents

The P
arent’s Association will be facilitated by the school in the provision of computer
courses to parents. The PA

may wish to hire a tutor or

conduct the course in co
with an adult educational body. In either case, St. Joseph’s NS may provide a suitable venue
for such a course once a range of conditions are met and signed up to by contract. The
conditions should include:


Permission granted by the school’s patron


equate insurance which includes cover for damages


A modest venue fee


All participants in the course must be parents of children in the school

Timeframe: from June 2011

Browsing and evaluating

Please refer to Section A

Staff Development

How to search
and evaluate results

Lynda.com or equivalent

Please refer to Section A

Staff Development

Lynda.com or equivalent.

The Parents’ Association may wish to avail of the results of the E
Learning Co
research and act accordingly. The school wil
l make every effort to facilitate the PA in this

Timeframe: complete research by June 2011


Sep 2011 onwards

Security on the internet

St. Joseph’s NS recognises the importance of on
line security and the
need for children to be
able to access the internet in a safe environment. To that end, the school has a long
established Acceptable Use Policy for ICT and will conduct a review of this policy at the end
of the 2010/11 academic year

and annually thereafter

by the E
learning Co
. As
part of that process, parents and students will be asked to sign a permission slip which also
commits them to the terms of the AUP.

This exercise will also need to occur annually as the
AUP evolves to reflect the practic
es in the school.

Furthermore, this topic will be a high prior
ity theme in staff development

and parental

Timeframe: ongoing


I.T. For Administration/Communication

One of the

of a transfer to a more digital learning environment is the school
office. There are also some very significant changes in practice envisaged for the office in
this plan. The changes centre mostly

the media of communication to and from the office.

Electronic Duty Book

The E
Learning Co
ordinator wil
l conduct a feasibility study regarding the



Supervision Duty Book and the Children Collected During School Hours Book. (S)he may
also see potential for similar innovation in other areas
of school operations. Such a
digitisation may take the form of a device similar to those used by couriers or some other
signature recording device. This is not a high priority innovation, but a report and decision
would be expected before the end of this p
lan’s 3 years.

Timeframe: report by Dec 2012

Possible implementation by Easter 2013

Intercom System

A means of instant communication with all classrooms was seen
by the E
as a potentially useful innovation for school
operations. The E
learning Co
ordinator will assess the three options listed below and any other (s)he may uncover in the
course of his/her research

and make a recommendation accordingly for the BOM’s


A wired intercom system to be installed and o
perated from the office



audio or audio
visual program such as Skype to be operated between the
classrooms, allowing communications between teachers or from the office to all in a
conference call.


A Really Simple Syndication or RSS

feed operated

in the s
chool from the office

Two of the above systems would require that the teachers have their IWBs operating
throughout the day (or to have at least one computer/
laptop on with the screen visible)
, a
habit already developed in around half of the classrooms. It

is envisaged that this trend will
take some time to spread throughout the school

so a system won’t be put into operation
until then.

Timeframe: report ready for Easter 2011

Implementation date to be assessed thereafter

Use of E

The off
ice currently
makes regular use of e
mails in its day to day operations. It also makes
regular use of Text
Parent, an internet based texting service, for short communications
with parents. It would be a natural evolution to establish a database of e

addresses for
parents (73% of which regularly check theirs) and use this initially in parallel with our
regular printed communications. The long
term ambition would be to change over to a
mostly digital system of communication

with parents. Such a change
would result

lowering the schools printing costs, ensuring deli
very of
information directly to parents

reducing the school’s carbon footprint.

This cannot apply to notes that require a parent’s
signature, so a ‘Super
slip” of numerous permission slips will need to be developed for
distribution at the beginning of each year.

The process needs to be staged over time:


Stage one involves the creatio
n of a database of e
mail addresses, one that we refresh
on an annual basis to allow for changes of address and for parents joining the

Timeframe: Sep 2010


Stage two sees the simultaneous issuing of notes and e
mails to parents.

Sep 2010
Easter 2011


In stage 3, parents will be offered the opportunity to opt out of receiving written
notes from the school. Children whose parents opt out will refrain from taking

when they

are handed out.

Timeframe: 3

Term 2011

This will be run on a cyclical basis with a view to an eventual complete digitisation.


The office will endeavour to make use of the school website to provide ac
cess to school
policies and

some general low priority messages.

Timeframe: to be uploaded by Nov



Aladdin is an internet based administration system which eases the burden of work on the
office. It has a variety of useful, time saving applications, includ
ing filing the school’s NEWB
returns and an electronic roll book that the teachers fill in.

There is an annual cost, so
the school will use the system on a trial basis for one


followed by a review.

Timeframe: June 2010



Use of Multi

ICT is not limited to computers and their

ancillary devices. The committee identified the
development of multi
media as an area not completely reliant on computers, and one
worthy of input. Sound and vision are the media at the heart of the developments listed

Camera in every classroom


school currently has two digital cameras in operation, a situation which has often
resulted in strife as the borrowed cameras, not returned and
forgotten about, are
sought by someone else for some new purpose.
The provision of a dedicated camera for

each classroom transfers ownership and responsibility to the class teachers. Each class will
have immediate access

to a camera when they need it, allowing them to record work, create
art and even record short videos. To this end, the school commits to pur
chase a low end
model for each mainstream class. The two original cameras are of a higher spec and can
still be borrowed by classes as appropriate.

Timeframe: purchase summer 2010

Video editing studio

Following on from the recent success in the

European Day of Languages video
competition (where second class came second in the competition), the school will develop a
editing system. There has already been an expression of interest from the teacher
who spear
headed the earlier success

and it would be envisaged that

could also be entered into competitions and/or uploaded onto the school website.

The teacher in charge of the video production initiative will source a suitable video editing
software program, and may be called upon to help fulfil other areas of the E
Learning Plan
(e.g. recorded teacher exemplars). There is currently a camcorder avail
able to the video
editor to get started, but for ease of use and accessibility, it is the intention of the school to
purchase a FlipCam (a USB hand held

Timeframe: begin operations Oct 2010

Video conferencing/web

There are several opp
ortunities for the
exploration of video conferencing activities available
to the school. These include


n agreement with one of our teachers who is taking a
career break to travel
around the world


A cultural exchange with a school in Brussels

(there is al
ready a contact, friendly
to St. Joseph’s, working in the international school there) or some other school


Other p
ssible contacts with European Schools which have been developed
through the e
twinning programme


Potential contacts in schools in Bandon, B
oston and Clonakilty

It will be the job of the principal to explore and facilitate these in conjunction with the E
Learning Co
ordinator and

relevant class teacher. The attempts will be deemed
ccessful and worthy of continuation

if two or more such e
ndeavours come to fruition.

Timeframe: academic year 2010/11

The second half of the above
heading is an altogether more ambitious and technically
difficult proposition and it will take time to build the necessary expertise for success. It
the live transmission of an event in the school on the internet. The video editing
initiative would need to have achieved an appro
priate level of comfort with its


before branching into this area. The prospect however is very exciting with th
possibility, for example, of being able to broadcast the school’s Christmas Play over the
internet to elderly relatives or family abroad. It can be done!

Timeframe: First webcast 2012

Digital Library development

The school currently has a peer
to peer network which is appropriate for a school using up
to 20 or 25 computers. However, there are several drawbacks to this type of system and
these will be exacerbated with the impending increase in machine numbers. There is a
simple cost effective sol
ution to the problem, which involves the purchase of a Network
Attached Storage device. A NAS is a device, with one or more hard drives in it, which hooks
directly into the school’s Hub

(our Grand Central Station for communications between
computers on the

network). It provides an ‘always on’ place in the school’s network where
everyone can upload and download documents and files. It is faster, easy on energy costs,
easy to use, safe and secure. The school proposes to purchase one

long with two hard
s. W
e intend

these to mirror each other

(i.e. when someone saves something onto the
NAS, it gets recorded onto both hard
drives in case one should ever fail). With a capacity of
over 1000GB (1TB), the school is unlikely to ever run out of memory space and
the option
of storing movies and music on the school network becomes a reality. Once installed and
named on the network, teachers will be encouraged to make use of it by the E
Learning Co
ordinator in an ongoing fashion.

up and running by
Nov 2010

Calendar for the
Delivery of this

Learning Plan

Academic Year 2010/2011


Learning Coordinator

8 digi cams purchased

Aladdin in operation

Create parental e
mail database

Begin e
mailing parents

versions of Schoolbooks

Laptop Trolley Purchased



video conferencing

First Skype call from Teacher

Video Editing begins


Digital library development

First upload of policies to Web


Use of Scanner Function on


Purchase Laptops


3 Recorded Teaching Exemplars


Intercom report due

Browsing Course?


parents opt

out for paper

tabled Typing Classes

Mobile Computer Room


AUP Policy Review

Flash drives

on Booklist

Browsing Course?


Online video training report due

PA computer courses may begin


Bulk Buy USB
Flash drives



Academic Year 2011/2012


Online video training begins

Ready for classroom e

Computer Leasing begins



Report on Bandwidth Expansion



T/P/S training sessions may

Specific ICT Project Work







In House ICT Course Complete?



Academic Year 2012/2013


Mathletics review and rollout?


Plan for first webcast



First webcast

Christmas show

Electronic Duty Book






Electronic Duty Book


Learning Plan Review

Begin New E

Learning Plan