Volume 1 Issue 1 - Summer 2001
Arrive at school early and full of good intentions. The birds are singing and since we had the two-metre security fence erected around school there is little chance of any of my computer network going missing. I had thought about leaving some of the ageing machines by the front gate and telling the insurance company it was part of a project on control but decide that I wouldnít want to watch my baby daughter grow up whilst a guest of her majestyís prison service.
I greet the server with the reverence such a piece of equipment merits. It takes up more room in our tiny office, (or should that be cupboard) than me. The back-up has worked, although to be honest I wouldnít have a clue if it hadnít Ė I simply stick the tapes in just as the nice man from DAN showed me. I grab a quick coffee and wander around school turning on the twenty or so machines that constitutes our networked vision of the future. The print server in the year three area is still refusing to print and I contemplate putting one of my newly designed, out of order, signs on it. Decide against it as it could point to incompetence on my part Ė will put it on my mental novel of jobs to be done. What else are playtimes and lunchtimes for?
Spend half an hour after school trying to get my head around the NOF school organiser pack but as the sun is shining decide to go home and cut the lawn instead. Promise myself that Iíll visit the LSP website this evening, if I get chance.
To hell with good intentions, roll in the door with ten minutes to spare and utilise those minutes in the pursuit of caffeine. Nobody has noticed that the machines are not on and as I am first in the suite today I decide that I will make the switch on an integral part of my lesson plan. Make a rapid mental note to swap the back up tape before I go home and a slower reminder to adopt policy of storing back up tapes off site (most likely in the boot of my car, which knowing my luck would be stolen and burnt out on the same day that we had a system crash).
Spend the morning teaching year five data handling as part of their technology days. Try not to get cross at the children who are unable to remember the digits that make up their password and mentally remind myself of the numerous advantages of the networked school. Am however, amazed at the number of children who are able to grasp and utilise the concepts of using a database. Fear that the printers will not like the large amount of inadvertent graph printing going on and worry that I have not ordered enough ink cartridges.
Am collared by a group of year six children at playtime asking if they can use the computers at lunchtime to type up their netball match report. Reluctantly agree but know who will be doing the typing. Will try to remember to bring up the issue of keyboard skills at the next staff meeting!
Spend an hour in the evening trying to track down a clipart image of a child playing netball for the school website. Fruitless search but gives me the opportunity to tidy up the site and get rid of some of the clutter. Abuse my powers as Webmaster and bump the hit counter up by a couple of hundred Ė sure to impress the governors.
Arrive at school early with the intention of spending a quiet half hour on this yearís ICT development plan. This is has taken on more urgency since I read the small print from the LEA saying that NGFL funds wonít be released until they receive our development plan. Pity Iíve already bought two new computers!
Switch on all the machines, wondering where in my job description it says I have to do that task, and retire to my cupboard (sorry room) for a coffee. Spend ten minutes looking at the authority proforma and asking myself what cloud cuckoo land the person who wrote it is living in. Decide to put the development plan on the to do pile (mountain) and concentrate instead on preparing a database on dinosaurs for my class. (I am a teacher after all).
Spend the morning with year five. Todayís group is more able than the one yesterday and are soon making up their own search questions for the dinosaur database. We are in full flow when the fire alarm goes off. This is an unusual situation having never had to evacuate the computer suite before. I momentarily consider which to evacuate first, the computers or the kids. I bank on a false alarm so the kids win, this time!
Spend the evening watching the NOF training videos. After only twenty minutes end up feeling totally incompetent when compared to the teachers in the video. Guess I wonít be invited by RM to star in their next video. Make a mental note to try harder in school and reach for the ironing board and another bottle of beer.
Arrive early again and go straight into hiding. Report season is looming and everyone will be doing theirs on the computer. Suddenly everyone wants to know how to use tables and change the size of margins. Iíd like to suggest that it might be faster to use a pen but donít want to be responsible for denting this new found enthusiasm for all things ICT; besides which, it wouldnít look good if it got out, ICT co-ordinator tells colleagues to use a pen.
Spend two hours at the end of the day with the school contact officer. I show her around the computer suite and the computers in the year three base. She even gets a glimpse of my cupboard but claims to have seen this before (news to me). We work our way through a very long form about our future ICT development and I watch the clock tick by knowing that Iíd promised to be home early tonight. We discuss the idea of down loading free software from the Internet to save on software costs and I hope that the total lack of disbelief on my face will suffice as a reply. I am then encouraged to let the staff have more of an active role in choosing the software we use in school; itís been a long day so I nod in the right places.
Arrive early today as am spending the morning with an ICT advisor from the LEA who is coming to interview me about good practice. Wonder if she knows sheís got the wrong school? Check the post to see if the mouse mats I begged from our computer supplier have arrived, they havenít, so spend the next half hour cunningly arranging the mice to cover the curled up edges of the mats and vow to cut the fingers of the culprits. Prepare coffee for my two, year five colleagues who have reluctantly agreed to have half of my class each whilst I meet with the advisor.
Quickly register and split my class when the bell goes promising them undivided attention and an afternoon in the suite in return for their co-operation. Spend the rest of the morning with the advisor who turns out to have been only recently seconded to the advisory service and is refreshingly still in touch with life at the sharp end.
Meet with the head over lunch to discuss the ICT budget for next year. Due to our recent successful OFSTED and overcoming special measures we will be losing much of the extra funding. Although ICT will be a priority there wonít be the money I had been expecting. Reflect that it was probably a good job that I didnít write the development plan after all and contemplate whether the authority will accept a development plan sponsored by Walt Disney as what Iím going to produce is going to be total fiction anyway. Walk out the door at half past four carrying boxes and files of work to complete over the summer. Know that theyíll all stay in the boot unless I go to B&Q or get bored Ė little chance of either after a term like the one Iíve just had. Thank God itís the hols...
|By BILLY SNEERSLUG
Year 5 teacher and ICT co-ordinator.
Volume 1 Issue 1 - Summer 2001