Does your school have a policy for the assessment of student performance in ICT capability across the school?
Today, the most important judgement about the educational value of your school will be the various changes it brings about in its students over time. In addition to the knowledge and learning students will have gained through being at your school, you need to be aware that the public will make perceptions about its worth in terms of attitudes, behaviour, and how the students respect staff and property. As the coordinator of ICT, technology, learning technologies or whatever title you may have, if you are effective in your role you have significant opportunity to improve children’s learning at your school. You are one of the most influential members of staff and you have the capacity to improve the quality of children’s work when using computers as a result of the skills you promote to staff.
As more and more schools like yours invest in ICT for teaching and learning your role as the coordinator of ICT becomes vital then if the school you work at is to be economically competitiveness. The imperatives for economic competitiveness include (Davis & Carlsen in van Weert, 2005):
- ICT as an imperative for economic competitiveness;
- ICT to increase educational attainment;
- ICT to increase access to education and;
- Educational renewal – ICT as a catalyst.
Improvement in student learning falls within the second of the above – educational attainment.
Why begin with Primary Education?
Primary schools are at the forefront of all changes in education as they are primarily responsible for getting our student’s imagination soaring the right direction towards STEM careers. The pillars of an effective primary school according to Mortimer et al., (1998) as cited in Wintle and Harrison (1999) are:
- Purposeful leadership by the head teacher;
- The involvement of the deputy head;
- The involvement of teachers;
- The consistency amongst teachers;
- Structured lessons;
- Intellectually challenging teaching;
- A work-centred environment;
- Limited focus within sessions;
- Maximum communication between teachers and students and;
- Record keeping.
The Role of the ICT Coordinator in Whole School Assessment
The role of the ICT coordinator has been earlier discussed in my work about ICT leadership in which you can either enrol in the online PD or purchase the eBook. In this session, I will discuss the particular role of the coordinator in terms of measuring the whole school performance in ICT capability.
When beginning your journey of school assessment, it is significant to keep in mind that this will need to be conducted in a team. A successful team will need to incorporate people with the skills, knowledge, aptitudes, interests and personalities which interlock to make an effective group. Of course, this is not new to many of us, however, they are also play a significant role throughout curriculum organisation. When coordinating the assessment of ICT capability, your effectiveness will depend on whether or not staff have a clear understanding about the role you play within a team of professional educators.
It is also important to remember that your ability in the classroom will reflect upon whether they are willing to accept your advice. A good ‘rule of thumb’ is to be unwilling to take risks when first expressing your opinions with the head teacher. Wintle and Harrison (1999) advises that “managerial responsibility and support for the coordination of the coordinators must be made explicit” (pp. 58). So there is a need for primary schools to take measures to overcome role ambivalence. Everyone needs to be clear about your role as the ICT coordinator in measuring school performance in ICT capability.
Other factors to consider include:
- The school making effective coordinator policies a priority;
- The time you have to do paperwork and how it will affect the degree of consultation possible and its quality;
- The time you have to work alongside teachers in the classroom in order to change practice and;
- The time you have to see teaching and learning in parts of the school with which you are unfamiliar for your own development.
(Wintle & Harrison, 1999, p.46)