I have made several updates to our school website this week, it has been an interesting and self affirming experience, as I have been worried recently about how far we have actually moved against our ICT targets for this year. Ownership of the wider ICT curriculum has been my largest concern. But it has been interesting to reflect on the benefits and effect our school website has had on attitudes to ICT, and how increased skill development and breadth of exposure to the use of ICTs by students has potentially contributed to this.
In September we didn't have a website, but over the last term it has begun to take on a new lease of life, acting as a portal and support for our students and staff, as well as framing new directions for us as a school to move in. With the use of think.com and Blogs with students one or two staff are beginning to to tinker with and explore these technologies for themselves, even though I had hoped they might, I didn't think I would hear just yet anyway, suggestions that we might use these spaces linked from the website as a means of sharing professional learning or as a news source by coordinators. From the beginning I had decided to create a resource bank, and recently I was approached by a member of staff for the first time to ask how she could publish some of her self made resources to the site. She spent several weeks preparing and sorting files before bringing them to school proudly, on a flash drive, for me to install to the website.
Interviews with students reflect how they enjoy sharing new content on their community pages with parents and teachers, and it has been great to recieve positive comments not only in person but posted to class blogs, which have excited students and motivated them to write more. Our year sixes have a rota, and know when it is their turn to write up blog entries. They can't wait until it is their turn, as comments by one particular student shows. For our younger students, the websites and games linked from their community pages have been really popular, once their parents have them on the school website, they have enjoyed engaging with and sharing activities they have done in school at home. Perhaps the biggest success has been Think.com. I have popped in and out of the space all week, and have been amazed by the number of students who have been using the space over the holidays. The space as a resource has been recieved very well by parents too who have been surprised by what their children are able to do. This space as a discussion point has not been limited to the year groups who use it, a year 2 parent recently asked about when their child would have access, as she had heard the older students talking about it and was really excited about when it would be her turn. We are also seeing an increase in the number of students who have access to a computer and the internet out of school. Interestingly a number of students had PCs bought for christmas, though some are accessing the web by choice through family visits or through community access points. Maybe I shouldn't worry quite so much.