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Changing our school culture

Background and Context

Final year of Three Rivers ICT contract, Netherton School, full primary.

Aims and Purpose – National Goals 2 and 3

  • To change the school culture from a teacher directed approach to a student driven approach to learning. 
  • The school needs to make a shift in the school culture around e-learning to ensure ICT is an expected tool for learning. 
  • To ensure engagement of all teachers and teaching staff in the change process.
  • Provide specific indicators, expectations and timelines (where necessary) to ensure accountability and ‘buy in’ from all members of staff. 
  • Teachers needing to see the importance of e-learning as the present and future, not a ‘flash in the pan’.
  • To weave e-learning through the school structures through explicit planning at Board of Trustees, management and staff level. 

Method, interventions and actions

  • Review of the school charter in relation to the ICT contract goals.
  • Identify areas of teacher professional learning that could be more specific and purposeful and linked more specifically to goals of the ICT contract. 
  • Charter goals were written to specifically include ICTs, e-learning, and teacher action inquiry. 
  • Leadership needed to make an assumption that all expectations were being met, and then expect that these indicators were present in classrooms. 
  • Timetabling in regular reviews of progress during staff meetings, and ensuring support was readily available for teachers. 
  • Skilled teacher aides support teachers during class time. 
  • Management ensure, through regular review and targeted budgeting, that hardware is maintained, upgraded and available.

Summary of key results

A ‘change of gears’ or a sense of traction are evident in 2012.  Teachers are deliberately planning the use of ICTs as tools in their classrooms on a daily basis.  Technology that was in classrooms, but not utilised, is now switched on and actively incorporated into classroom programmes.  All teachers are asking the ICT lead teacher for help and advice and the ICT facilitator in-school contact days are booked out quickly for specific learning needs identified by teachers.  Our most resistant teacher (to the use of ICTs) is now engaging, with support, and making gains in her learning around the use of computer systems and hardware available to her within the school, her laptop is in use daily and her confidence is growing substantially.  http://nethertonmilestones.wikispaces.com

Conclusions

Expectations are key, specific indicators and timelines are necessary, effective management, support personnel, expertise and modelling (sometimes by osmosis) and resourcing are essential to ensuring a school-wide shift in attitude. 

Recommendations or next steps

Strong systems and self-review procedures need to be in place for future sustainability of practices.  Regular review, maintenance and/or replacement of hardware and ensuring ICTs are essential.  Communication of expectation from the BOT, management and staff level are essential.  Ensuring a collaborative, co-operative environment of trust within the teaching team is essential for successful change.