Administration, Teaching and Learning - #1 - Administration
It is not the intention of these pages to try and tell people how to teach but rather to discuss some aspects of the impact ICT may have on T&L - and for that matter both personal and school administration.
Way back in 1980 I began my adventure with ICT quite selfishly! As a young, keen and energetic HoD, I enjoyed producing examination results and other similar statistics for departmental use. Perhaps somewhat ostentatiously I also tried to get my results on the Head's desk before other departments. I discovered, on a Commodore PET, that I could not only rank order but sort by forms or teaching groups, calculate performance by gender or produce stats on inter-quartile ranges - in those days it was almost mind-blowing! And all that without ever having to write a child's name again!
It seems strange, therefore, that after so long, Marks Books are still being commercially produced whereby teachers are expected to laboriously hand-write children's names and enter various statistics like attendance, marks, notes on SEN/G&T etc. The Management of Information Systems in a school (MIS) is a significant part of making a teacher's job easier. As with Timetabling, I soon learnt how important it is to get to know those responsible for the MIS system. Once you have them on your side it becomes an easy matter for them to export all your class lists and SEN documents to a common staff file where lists can be copied straight to your own electronic registers.
The beauty of having all data stored on my spreadsheets is quite simply that I can then manipulate the data as I wish and produce reports and graphical displays at the touch of a button. Yes, it does take a bit of setting up, but once done the template can be used for every class, year after year. Over the last 10 years in particular I have found that the graphical presentation of individual students' performance at Parents Evenings to be extremely helpful.
One more example must suffice: how often do we find ourselves re-writing the same thing over and over again? A set of Safety Rules might be included in our Department's Policy Document - it is then repeated in our Scheme of Work - it is then repeated in a specific Lesson Plan - it is then displayed as a page in our PowerPoint lesson outline - it is then produced as a hard-copy to go in exercise books - it is then printed large as a Safety Notice in the classroom - it is used in a phrase-matching quiz - it is also printed in a large format for our Partially Sighted students - with some slight modifications it is formatted and edited for our SEN students - as it also finds its way onto the Intranet etc etc. --- and never written twice --- just copied and reformatted.