As many of you would appreciate, ICT is a rather complex area that is constantly changing and evolving. You only have to look around you to see it is such a large part of your children’s life, from their ipods, video games, digital cameras, use of chat rooms and blogging etc…
As a result, our aim is to provide students with a variety of experiences in a flexible, innovative environment that reflects their experiences at home. As such, it is an ongoing challenge to address these needs and keep up with the latest technologies.
However, it is not enough to be aware of the latest and greatest in technology and adopt these blindly, but we also then have to filter through and take on those technologies that we believe will provide them with a truly enriching educational experience.
So what is it about technology and computers in particular that excites the students at this school? Sure they are fun and possibly therapeutic for some students, but I think there is more to it than that. Without the imagination of the user, the computer remains a machine made up of electronic components, but when little fingers of students from Prep to Yr 7 start tapping away, there is the potential for something quite magical to occur. You see, these computers temporarily become extensions of themselves. It allows the user to create, communicate, explore and connect with people sitting all around the world. It is the potential of what the computers can be used for that excites students at St Rita’s.
At St Rita's Catholic Primary School all teaching staff members are trained in the use of computers. Through regular staff audits each staff member has the opportunity to reflect on and state their professional development needs in this area. Staff members have been encouraged to continue to pursue their professional development in this area by attending ‘on-site' professional development opportunities in ICT.
By the time our students complete Year Seven, they will have had the opportunity to develop many skills in ICT. Through on-going professional communication with our local Catholic Secondary School, Carmel College, we ensure that our Primary program provides a basis for what is to follow in high school.
At St Rita's, students have regular opportunities to use the ICT Labs and are provided with a flexible program integrated with year level curriculum units. These classes are facilitated by qualified staff members.
All computers at St Rita's School have full internet access. A filtering program called Websense is used to monitor the content downloaded from the internet. While students don't have unsupervised access to computers, staff cannot physically watch every screen every minute of the day; as such a program such as Websense is necessary. Students are expected to sign an Acceptable Use Agreement before using ICT equipment and accessing the internet. Inappropriate use may result in the suspension and possible loss of access to ICT equipment. Staff members are also expected to sign an Appropriate Use Agreement.
At St Rita's School, the majority of intraschool correspondence is electronic and all staff are expected to access their email daily. Our staff members are competent in the use of ICT and use it in classroom activities and expect that students will also make use of their skills when presenting information for class activities.