Our school has just received the Digital Schools of Distinction Award. This is a wonderful achievement and great credit must go to everyone involved. A copy of the evaluation report may be read below.
Digital Schools Award Evaluation Report
School: Milford Grange National School
Roll No: 19800N
Date of validation: 1 March 2016
Leadership & Vision
Milford Grange National School had developed very appropriate policies to encourage ICT usage throughout the school and this had resulted in ICT being an integral part of the life of the school. This development was ably promoted by the ICT Coordinator with the support and advice of the principal and the cooperation of all of the staff. The policy set out a very clear road map for development with suitable milestones detailed. Many of these milestones had been achieved and the school was now preparing to develop even further the integration and promotion of ICT across all school phases. There was a suitable progression of skill development from Infant classes upwards as well as appropriate development of usage to promote independent learning. A clear rational for the use of ICT was in place particularly in the area of special educational needs. The Acceptable Use Policy set out suitable parameters for usage, presented in a child friendly manner. The school should consider further developing its AUP to include adults who may be employed in the school and who may have access to ICT there.
ICT in the Curriculum
All areas of the curriculum were suitably promoted using ICT. Baineadh dea-úsáíd as raon an leathan cláracha Gaeilge tríd na scoile ar fad. The school often piloted these programs in Irish and the benefit of this was evident across all school sectors. The use of ICT as a tool for integration was very evident throughout school in the range of projects undertaken such as those on the 1916 rising and in the development of presentations for class subjects and for the junior entrepreneur project. Assistive technologies were applied where necessary and the students involved were adept in its usage and appreciated the advantages that ICT provided. ICT and mind mapping was used expertly by a number of students to promote their individual learning. A range of appropriate programs was used to further enhance lessons and to consolidate learning in all classes.
School ICT Culture
The school had published a very interesting and student friendly website. The range of projects published was impressive. In particular the newsletters published on a very regular basis were of a very high standard. The web site was informative, up to date and recorded very many of the activities of the school. The list of awards presented to the school, such as for Active School, Limerick Lifelong Learning and Fís, was impressive and demonstrated clearly that the school had made ICT a very active part of the life of the school. The school was involved with a school in New Jersey USA in forming friendships and in international linking. The school used ICT across all aspects of administration and across all aspects of teacher planning. Communication with parents was mostly through text a parent and through Twitter.
When starting their ICT development the school provided two summer courses to up-skill their teachers in line with their whole school policy and e-learning plan. These proved very successful. The school had continued this process through in–service in school during additional hours and through personal assistance when required. Teachers were kept informed of upcoming in service and there was a good collaborative atmosphere across the school with ideas and knowledge shared among the professionals involved. Surveys were carried out and questionnaires presented to assist the school in gauging the requirements of the teachers in this regard. In all classrooms teachers were very au fait with the use of ICT and cognisant of its effectiveness in promoting individual and group learning.
Resources & Infrastructure
The school had provided a wide range of suitable resources across the whole school. It had ensured that that all classrooms were equipped with interactive white boards and it was expanding its range of i-pads for use throughout the school. The school had provided well for students attending special classes and had made available a number of computers in its computer room for personal learning and for language promotion. The school had established a number of networks to ensure that the limited broadband available at this time would be used effectively and to its capacity. The school was situated in an area that should have much better connectivity but this area is not a priority for the providers. The school makes excellent use of Google Apps throughout the school as well as Bua na Cainte, Khan Academy, Noredink and to a lesser extent Edmodo and Scratch. The school was constantly upgrading and researching the best hardware suitable to their needs.
General comments and recommendations
Milford Grange National School had made trojan efforts to promote ICT throughout all aspects of school life with much success. It was an integral part of teaching and learning and it had succeeded in engaging the students in developing their personal learning to a very good degree. The school had promoted ICT and all aspects of ICT through its very active web site and the blogs prepared by the teachers and the students. ICT was an integral part of this school.
The visit validated the school’s statements on their Self Evaluation Review.