Computer access:can we utilise students own ICT access?

Often on my twitter network and various blogs that I follow I quite often hear ideas about using technology in the classroom and about how people are using Wii consoles and DS’s and lots of web based software. I am often inspired by these ideas but also often feel left behind by them too. This is because we just don’t have the access to the equipment to be able to do them. Then I wondered if we really do have less access than the people doing these things so did a bit of a survey:
Number of children on roll: Number of computers: Number of laptops: Number of ICT suites: Percentage
350 30 in suite
UKS2 – 3PCs in each class
LKS2 – 2PCs in each class
KS1 – 1 PC in each class
14 (not all working) 1 19%
500 50 in suite 0 3 10%
600 153 in total
1 in every room
1 trolley 2 rooms
5banks

25% *
420 20 in suite
2 in each classroom
1 11% *
240 20 in suite 20 laptops (not all working) in infants
32 in juniors
1 30%
550 2 in each classroom 60 (3 trolleys) 0 18% *
420 + nursery 30 in suite
2 in every classroom
1 13% *
400 A few macs 64 (4 trolleys) 0 16%
320 KS2 – 3 PCs in each class
KS1 – 2PCs in each class
10 (stay in one room) 12% *
39 (4-7 chn per class) 10 is suite
1 in each class
10 in trolley
1 in each class
1 80% **
700+ 16 in EY
KS1 – 10 in suite
2 in each class
KS2 – 5/6 in each class
SEN – 25
44 staff PCs + 6 in PPA room
4 macs
60 for KS2
Large pupil laptop with intellikeys for SEN
5 floating laptops
1 main
1 mini
35% *
320 36 in suite
1 in each class

27 on trolley
SEN – 6
Library – 5
1 27% *
250 16 in suite
A few in the corridor
1 in each class
1 12% *
670 64 in 2 suites
15 in Library
8 in y5 area
8 in maths area
English, MFL and Geog – 4 in each classroom
1 in each room for IWB
15 in science 2 24% *
170 8 in suite 15 on trolley
4 in each junior class
2 in each infant class
1 24% *

* Where info about number of classes was not given I divided total number of children by 30 and used that as the number of classes. Where there are different numbers of computers in KS1 and 2 I have presumed there are equal numbers of each.

** Averaged at 6 classes. This is an EBD school

So, from the information I collected ICT access ranges from 10% – 35% (excluding the EBD school as this is quite clearly an exception) of the cohort. This, of course, doesn’t really say anything of the state of that computer access as I know that in my school the laptops are so old as to be almost useless, and there is no wireless connection in my room (as I’m out on a limb and it doesn’t reach that far) so we can’t use them for anything more than word processing if I could be bothered with the hassle of them in the first place. Also, we have such a poor internet connection that if I want my class to do something in the suite it takes hours for the web pages to load; no kidding when I tried to use Voki in Spanish the site was hanging for 10 minutes for most of them and you know what 10 year olds these days are like; impatient doesn’t even cover it!

This has got me thinking about posts I have read elsewhere recently (I apologise that I can’t remember where otherwise I would post the links, and if I find them I will). One that sticksin my mind raised the question ‘do schools have to buy all the ICT equipment they want to use?’ This led me on to thinking that perhaps instead of banning children from using their mobile phones (I currently have to collect them all in and keep them in the cupboard) what if we could let them access the school network on them and access the internet. What is the protocol? And then, could you go one step further and let them bring their own laptops and other devices in?
Now, I’m talking primary aged kids and I can see there being pros and cons to this argument. Obviously it would considerably help the access issues that so many schools have but on the negative side, what happens if something gets broken? Other children get jealous? Even asking children to carry a laptop to school? They’re not exactly the lightest of things. And how do you go about setting them all up on the school network?
We’ve got our G&T club bringing in their DS’s next week; perhaps this is the first step?

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2 Responses to Computer access:can we utilise students own ICT access?

  1. Teakay says:

    With reference to your comment about using Voki, there's also the situation to be considered in which the site or resource that you're using doesn't itself have sufficient bandwidth to be used by an entire class (or more) at once. This is an issue with technology in the classroom that goes beyond the confines and influence of any one educational establishment.And I agree fully with your idea of mobile phones being embraced as useful technology rather than being banned outright. Yes, there are issues, but when are there not? What kind of progress would we, as a species, have ever made if we just said "sorry, no can do: there are issues there," all the time.

  2. MissDY6 says:

    I do see your point and have experienced this with certain websites but this a general issue as I've had it happen with several different sites, and often when even as few as ten children try to access it at once. Our premises officer checked the speed for me at the time and it was down to 1MB but the LA grid won't accept that it is that low. It's getting to the stage where I just can't be bothered with it as it's so unreliable and I'm not adverse to using ICT so just think of the effect it has on those that hate ICT in the first place!

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