Holy Family Primary School is situated on the Aileach Road in the Ballymagroarty area of Derry. The enrolment in the primary school has decreased slightly over the past five years. There is now approximately 450 children who attend Holy Family Primary and Nursery School. Almost all of the children who attend the school come from the local and surrounding area. Approximately 59% of the children are entitled to free school meals (FSM). The school has identified 33% of the children as requiring additional support with aspects of their learning. Holy Family is continually developing and improving to give children the best educational experience, providing them with appropiate and important skills and knowledge for the future. ICT at the schools plays an important role in supporting and enhancing teaching and learning.
The Award submission video
Notes about the video
Holy Family School offers pupils from Nursery to Year 6, across the range of abilities, access to an impressive and stimulating variety of technologies and teachers have not been afraid to include programming tasks. This is particularly impressive as more than half of pupils have FSM and a third need learning support.
The introduction to the video is very promising with the question “Are you ready for some 21st Century teaching and learning?” It then shows children using a wide range of technologies across a wide range of subject and learning activities. The children are very happy with their use of technology and show lots of energy and engagement, which must all be impacting positively on their teaching and learning.
The technologies shown include Bee-Bots, used to explore the angles of a hexagon.
Green screen video is captioned to be enhancing creativity. Three examples are shown and a pupil, the creator of one of them says “it really gives the movie up to life, so everyone can see it, and it was great making it.”
Sound cards, microphones and Garage Band are all about giving ideas a voice.
A group of pupils are shown working on animation of their ideas and are pleased with the results.
There are examples of programs and resources which are intended to accelerate learning including i-Pad quizzes, Mathletics, and regular tests on the computer. The children say they like online testing with multiple choice questions because they can be quick and give feedback. They also like to be able to earn points and motivation appears high. These are all good pointers to good learning. Some are using code to make a website, or Scratch to make their own computer game. Apple TV shows how it helps provide live video for feedback in the classroom but sadly no mention is made of how that is used by the pupils to impact their learning or develop aspects of pupil-led learning.
Teachers use SIMS to record pupil progress but make no mention of how such tracking can be used to help pupils reflect and become empowered to develop their own self driven learning.
Examples of pupils capturing moments with cameras are given, but with no mention of how these are used for reflection and learning development. Technology in the form of play on a Wii is also shown as an example of a reward.
Encouragingly, pupils are expected to maximise opportunity while teachers ‘open doors’. There are references to literacy and numeracy technologies that encourage pupils to become engaged and motivated, collaborating and displaying understanding. There are also potential opportunities afforded for pupils to become global citizens as well as relating to the school’s wider community and developing their own personal learning networks.
It was good to see such enthusiasm from the pupils in the parent video – they were very engaged and keen to speak in a mature way about their experiences. Pride and satisfaction were very evident in their comments and the Award has been granted because we believe the pupils are experiencing a reasonable level of 3rd millennium learning.
We feel however that the teachers now need to reflect deeply on WHY the approaches using ICT that they have adopted are producing better learning and HOW the much higher engagement of the pupils is stimulating them to engage in learning activities that surpass good traditional teaching and learning approaches.