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Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Policy

Rationale

In this era of continuing world technological advances, we at New Court School aim to give our students the skills to use ICT in their future lives.  ICT offers teachers and students educational tools and resources, which extend their learning environment.  ICT is a cross-curricular competence and can be used in all subjects.  It facilitates the differentiation of the curriculum to suit the range of learning needs and styles of individuals.

At New Court school we aim to give our pupils opportunities to develop and apply their ICT capabilities across the curriculum.

Specific Aims

We aim:

  • To enable children to develop and use ICT skills in the attainment of curriculum learning objectives
  • To enable children to use a range of ICT tools in a relevant curriculum context
  • To foster confidence in the use of ICT through enjoyable learning experiences
  • To develop understanding and practice of safe use of ICT
  • To support development of social skills through cooperative learning
  • To access curriculum content through ICT

Statement of Intent

The main emphasis on teaching ICT is on the use of computers as tools to support and enhance learning.  As pupils progress through the school they will use a greater variety of programmes. Older pupils will have supervised access to the Internet.  Pupils at all levels will have access to ICT in ways appropriate to their abilities.

Teaching and Learning

A range of teaching strategies are used including whole class, group teaching and individual tuition supported by the teacher and the special needs assistant.  Pupils’ progress is monitored and recorded in line with Department assessment guidelines.  ICT may be taught as an individual subject or be integrated into the curriculum.

Learning Resources

All classes are equipped with a range of hardware and software and are connected to the Internet. We will continue to expand our range of hardware and software with the aim of increasing individual access to laptops.  Specialist equipment, where appropriate, will be provided within budgetary constraints.  An inventory of software and hardware is kept and updated as new resources become available. This is the responsibility of the ICT coordinator.  Records are kept of all serial numbers and licences.

Additional Equipment Available in the School

Each classroom has a CD player.  A portable TV and DVD player is available in each area of the school. Digital cameras are available in each of the three areas along with video cameras/flip video.  There are two Interactive Whiteboards – one in the junior end and one in the senior end of the school.  We also have two projectors with laptops and screens, two digital projectors and two visualizers.  

Safe Practice

The school offers support for students in developing responsible and informed attitudes regarding the use of ICT in the classroom. This will include:

  • Health and Safety awareness in the use of ICT equipment
  • A policy for Acceptable Use of the Internet
  • Appropriate desks and chair heights for pupils
  • Care of all equipment is promoted.  Cleaning and care materials are available in each section of the school

Staff Training

Staff are encouraged to avail of training that meets their individual needs.

The ICT Coordinator/ICT Group

The ICT coordinator is responsible for monitoring and reviewing the ICT policy in consultation with staff and the Board of Management.  Responsibilities include keeping up to date with appropriate new technologies, coordinating the servicing of existing equipment and overseeing the purchase of new ICT software and hardware with due consideration within budgetary constraints.  These tasks are shared out between members of the ICT group.

ICT Storage/Maintenance

All small equipment is stored in locked filing cabinets or cupboards in the classrooms. Large equipment is protected from heat sources and software is kept in appropriate containers.  Maintenance of equipment overseen by the ICT coordinator and is carried out as the need arises and in accordance with manufactures recommendations.

Internet Access
The school aims to offer a supervised and protected web environment for students to access and retrieve information from the Internet and other sources.  Access to online resources will enable pupils to explore thousands of libraries, databases and bulletin boards throughout the world.  The school believes that the benefits to pupils from access to information resources and increased opportunities for collaboration exceed the disadvantages.  Pupils will not be given access to the Internet without teacher supervision.  The school uses filtering software which, while not entirely fool proof, will greatly reduce the risk of deliberate or inadvertent access to undesirable material i.e. expletive words, pictures or unsuitable content.  Teachers regularly check computer logs of all information accessed by pupils.  Students are always supervised when accessing the Internet.  Filtering software is in place to control access to Internet sites.  This is provided by NCTE and we access level three protection.  Also computers are monitored and anti-virus programmes such as Microsoft Security Essentials are run.

School Website
The school website is available at www.newcourt.ie.   Individual photos of pupils are not published on the website.  The focus is on group activities only. Under the Data Protection Act, personal information is omitted from web pages. Students have the opportunity to make contributions to the website.  The website is predominately used as a source of information regarding what is offered in New Court School for parents/guardians and professionals.

Parents/Guardians
Parents/guardians are informed of both the ICT Policy and the school’s Acceptable Use Policy and are available to parents on request. Copies are available on the school website or the school office
Email
Use of e-mail is not generally available to students but is accessible when appropriate in conjunction with specific learning tasks and educational research.

Rules for Using ICT Equipment
A list of rules for correct use of computer is clearly displayed beside each desktop/laptop.
See Appendix 1 update.

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