Chapter 2

GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A SAMPLE FRAMEWORK POLICY DOCUMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL ON

"THE USE OF ICT IN TEACHING LANGUAGES"

The following headings are outlined to assist you in Policy formation:

        Strategic Management

Section 1:      Introduction to the Policy

Section 2:      Aims of Using ICT in teaching languages

Section 3:      Roles and Responsibilities.

        Mission Statement

        Curriculum Administration – Teaching and Learning Strategies.

        Curriculum Organisations – establishing the link between Language Curriculum/ Learning and ICT

        Equal Opportunities

Section 1      Gender

Section 2      Multicultural Education

Section 3      Special Needs

Section 4      Gifted Children

        Resource Management

Section 1      Professional Development

Section 2      Hardware Resources

Section 3      Software Resources

Section 4      Organisation – equal access to the computer

Section 5      Health and Safety.

        Evaluation

Section 1      Assessing, Recording, Reporting

Section 2      Monitoring, Evaluation and Review

Section 3      Excellence in Language Learning using I

Use the sections/suggestions outlined below to guide your policy writing: 9

 

STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT

Section 1                                               Introduction to the Policy

(a)    Details of your school/staff

(b)   Who was involved in drawing up this Policy Statement?

(c)    When, why and for whom the policy was developed

 

Section 2                                              Aims of Using ICT in teaching Languages

  1. Why is your school integrating the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages with ICT?

  2. The factors (internal or external) that affect these aims:
    Internal: Staff interest
    External:
    Department of Education and Science Developments
    Visiting teacher, etc.

  3. The anticipated outcomes

 

Section 3                                              Roles and Responsibilities

  • The key responsibilities of the Board of Management;

  • The role and responsibilities of the staff’s European Language Teacher and/or ICT Co-ordinator;

  • The roles and responsibilities of other staff;

  • The role of other key people supporting ICT and European Languages, e.g. visiting teacher, Education Centre ICT Advisor, etc.

MISSION  STATEMENT

All pupils will use ICT as a tool to enhance their learning of a Modern Foreign Language.  Teachers will use ICT as a tool to enhance their teaching of the subject.

CURRICULUM  ADMINISTRATION

Teaching and Learning Strategies.

What makes for good quality teaching and learning?

        Thorough planning with a logical sequence of activities.

        Pupils being interested in their learning activities.

        Pupil motivation, a sense of purpose and direction.

        Pupils are aware of the learning objectives.

        The learning objectives are translated into clear targets.

        Tasks are well matched to pupils’ abilities.

        The tasks are challenging but achievable.

        There is a real purpose to the lesson/activities.

        Pupils are given responsibility for learning and there is an element of choice.

        There is a clear understanding that learning is taking place, i.e. the teacher provides activities which lead to gains in knowledge, skills and understanding.

        Assessment is used to inform future development and to monitor progress

        Feedback is frequent and constructive and provides further learning targets.

Becoming a “knowledge architect”.10

There is a critical need for students to be able to access information, manipulate data, synthesise concepts and creatively express ideas to others.  Technology can virtually bring the world to the child providing a depth and richness of instructional approaches to reach children of all learning modalities.   The child becomes a “knowledge architect” using rich resources at his/her fingertips through technology to bring personal meaning and expression to knowledge.

Skilful use of technology supports the development of process skills such as flexibility, adaptability, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration which are essential to success in our rapidly changing information age.  These skills are crucial in terms of pupils becoming life-long learners.

Technology allows us to better serve the diverse learning styles of our students and educate them for a wider range of intelligence (e.g. verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinaesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal).

 The value of ICT teaching and learning.11

ICT can have many positive effects on teaching and learning. For pupils there are frequently gains in:

        motivation

        presentation

        questioning skills

        problem solving

        information handling

        techniques of modelling

Teachers often find (among other gains) using ICT can lead to:

        rethinking teaching and learning strategies

        more opportunities for differentiation

        greater expectations of their pupils

        more opportunities for individual teaching and group work

        better understanding of their pupils’ learning.

 

CURRICULUM ORGANISATION

Establishing the Link between Language Curriculum/Learning and ICT

Word Processing, databases and desktop publishing packages are amongst the most commonly used forms of ICT that can be employed to assist in the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages.12 They allow pupils to structure and draft documents, combine graphics with text and edit their work.  They can be used for individual projects or for displays and presentations.

Databases, the Internet and CD-ROMS can be used to learn about foreign cultures and as consolidation/revision aids for language learning.

Video conferencing, chat-rooms and electronic mail are used to communicate with pupils from other schools and in other countries.

When pupils learn a language, they can use ICT to:

(i)    develop and improve all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In learning a language, pupils need to13

  1. listen attentively;

  2. ask and answer questions;

  3. re-draft their writing to improve accuracy;

  4. vary language to suit context, audience and purpose;

  5. copy words, phrases and sentences

ICT makes this possible through:

  1. activities using databases can require pupils to seek and give information orally, to listen carefully in order to respond accurately, and to practise scanning for specified information in the target language;

  2. he word processor which enables pupils to learn from an early stage, the skills of editing and re-drafting their work in the target language, and simplifies the task of re-writing to suit audience and purpose;

  3. desktop publishing packages and presentations;

  4.   computer peripherals, e.g. digital cameras, scanners, etc. are most necessary accessories in completing such activities.

(ii) Enhance language learning skills and to develop independent learning skills

In language acquisition, pupils need to13

  1. develop their independence in language learning and use;

  2. use dictionaries and reference materials;

  3. use context and other clues to interpret meaning;

  4. understand and apply patterns, rules and exceptions;

  5. use their knowledge to experiment with language.

ICT facilitates this through:

  1. adding to the choice of resources, e.g. texts on CD-ROM software, spell checkers, electronic thesauruses and encyclopaedias.

  2. tutorial software that allows learners practise independently, according to need;

  3. text-manipulating software that supports learners in the use of context and clues as well as the understanding of structures, patterns and rules.

  4. Word-processing which enables pupils to experiment “safely” with known language in a different context.

(iii)             Communicate in the target language

In learning a language, pupils need to:13

  1. use language for real purposes;

  2. work through a range of language activities;

  3. produce a variety of types of writing;

  4. use a range of resources for communicating;

  5. come into contact with native speakers.

 ICT makes the above possible through:

  1. e-mail, the internet, chat-rooms and video conferencing enabling learners to use languages for real purposes and to come into contact with native speakers, both at home and abroad, in a variety of ways;

  2. database activities that provide a stimulus for role play or for presenting and analysing the results of surveys and other investigations in the target language, e.g. leisure activities in a link town;

  3. Word-processors and multi-media presentation software allowing pupils to present work attractively and in a way, which is appropriate for the audience for which it is intended.

(iv)        Access a range of resources in the target language and identify with the
people of target language communities and countries.

  1. In learning a language, pupils need to13

  2. work with authentic materials;

  3. consider their own culture and compare it with the cultures of the countries and communities where the target language is spoken;

  4. Identify with the experiences and perspectives of people in these countries and communities.

ICT makes this possible through use of CD-ROM and harnessing the Internet.

(v)              Meet their special needs for access to language learning

In learning a language, pupils need to13

  1. have access to the curriculum in ways appropriate to their abilities;

  2. have appropriate provision for communication other than speech and be provided with technological aids in practical and written work.

ICT can assist by:

  1. supporting independent work and extending pupils’ learning in ways appropriate to them.

  2. Pointing and clicking with the mouse, using word banks, touch screens or overlay keyboards thus helping pupils to communicate in written form;

  3. Offering learners with visual impairment support and personal control over their learning environment through choice of text size and colour on screen, etc.

  4. Multimedia technology means that a learner can, for example, click on a word or phrase to hear it spoken as often as required.

To summarise, when pupils learn Modern Foreign Languages using ICT, they are provided with authentic opportunities to practise language in order to achieve greater accuracy.  This process should also improve their existing IT capabilities and they should begin to understand how ICT is providing a positive contribution to supporting their language learning.

 

EQUAL  OPPORTUNITIES

Teaching methods and resources must be employed that allow all pupils irrespective of their gender, ethnic origin, academic ability, etc. equal access to the chosen Modern Foreign Language and IT equipment so as to experience success and enjoyment in their work

Section 1                                                           Gender

Recent research has shown that both genders experience increased levels of motivation and interest if Modern Languages is taught through ICT.14

Our Policy Statement aims to ensure that equal opportunities are provided for pupils within a broad, balanced Modern Languages/ICT Curriculum, which does not discriminate against them because of gender.

It is our intention that the implementation of our Modern Languages/ICT Policy should:-

  1. reflect the interests of both boys and girls;

  2. value equally the experiences of both boys and girls;

  3. use of resources that are factually accurate with up-to-date text, illustrations and maps that do not stereotype individuals or groups.

Teachers should, by careful use of language, avoid reinforcing stereotypical views of society.

 

Section 2                                                           Multicultural Education15

Our teaching of a Modern Foreign Language using ICT aims to encourage positive attitudes in pupils towards:

  1. learning a foreign language

  2. speakers of that language

  3. other cultures and civilisation.

Every opportunity is used to challenge prejudice as it arises and a consistent approach to dealing with any racist comments or incidents that may occur.

Resources are chosen which portrays a world view as seen from different cultural perspectives and thereby communicate how it feels to be a member of another ethnic or cultural group.

 

Section 3                                                                       Special Needs

There are three types of role that ICT can play in assisting access to learning for pupils with special educational needs, in addition to the pupils’ own personal development of ICT capability.16 Access technology can provide

  1. Physical access – for example, pupils who have sensory or motor impairments may find IT necessary to produce quality written material;   

  2. Cognitive access, for example, pupils with learning difficulties may be able to access information more easily through having text read out with a text-to-speech synthesiser.

  3. Supportive access – for example, pupils with specific learning difficulties may be supported in their writing by having access to a word processor.

In order to explore the possible benefits, Learning Support Teachers may need to make arrangements for an individual pupil to use the classroom computer or equipment in a library or resources centre for a particular modern language curriculum task.   Discussion with the classroom teacher and IT co-ordinator over appropriate tasks and software will ensure that the chosen activity is worthwhile.  By taking note of the way learners approach the task, their attitudes towards using the equipment, how it influences the way they work and the quality of the completed work, the Learning Support Teacher can assess whether access to IT is providing additional benefit in Language Learning.

The following is our recommended  "Statement of Inclusion" concerning Special Needs Pupils in the teaching of modern foreign languages and the use of ICT:

ICTs and Special Needs.
"ICTs are powerful educational tools in the way they offer support or scaffolding to the learning process.  The support they offer allows the child to move on to a higher level of learning.  This is no less true of the area of Special Educational Needs. Appropriate provision of suitable hardware and software for both teachers and learners can be a significant factor in meeting the needs of children with special educational needs. -European-Commission 1996" - IT2000

In many instances ICTs free the child from the constraints of their particular special need.  This enhancement of the learning situation motivates the learner and increases time spent on task.   This in turn increases the chances of success and releases the child from a cycle of failure.  The computer is non-threatening, non-judgemental and has infinite patience. It offers a supportive environment for learning.

Principle of Inclusion
Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services) and requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students).  Proponents of inclusion generally favour newer forms of education service delivery.

Areas of Special Need within our SIP 21 Project.
Fourteen children included in the mainstream classes were identified as having special needs and these fell into three categories.

Physical Disabilities  1
Learning Disabilities 9
Socio / Emotional Difficulties 4

Children with Physical/Motor Disabilities
Children with physical disabilities can be included in MFLs when the required and appropriate enabling peripherals are included; Concept Keyboard, Switches, Adapted Keyboards, Trackerballs, Touchscreens, Voice Recognition software.  For activities on ICTs, apart from what is available from suppliers, appropriate peripherals can be constructed in the technology support departments in the main educational centres for children with special physical needs.

Children with Social/Emotional and Behavioural Disabilities
"Children with an inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors and have an inability to maintain social relationships with peers and teachers.  They may display inappropriate types of behaviour under normal circumstances, have a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression and a tendency to develop physical symptoms associated with personal or school problems." (Exceptional Children - Taylor, Steinberg & Richards)

These children can be described as having one or more of the following behaviours:

Disruptive, Compulsive, Destroys own and others property, Work not completed, Commands not followed, Undependable.

Strategies of Inclusion

  • IT can be effective in resolving emotional conflict in a safe environment.

  • Group activity around a non-threatening focus presents opportunities for development in co-operative skills, mutual sharing, listening, being listened to and feeling good as part of a team.

  • IT provides an immediate, attractive and reinforcing response very suitable for children with a low tolerance for frustration.

  • Involvement in MFL could enable the pupil to be included in a way, which would enhance his social learning.  Adopting roles such as Postman, Printer, Noticeboard Organiser, Illustrator could be very effective and self esteem enhancing.

  • Each pupil in this category would need individual assessment to measure the degree of involvement.

  • There is the danger of being over challenged with tasks with which they cannot cope due to low tolerance and frustration thresholds with consequent negative results.

Children with Learning Disabilities|
"Children with specific learning difficulties are those children who have a disorder in one or more of the psychological processes involved in understanding or using language; spoken or written which many manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell or do maths calculations". - Taylor, Steinberg, Richards.

The teaching of MFL is not considered appropriate in the syllabus, as currently provided by special schools.

The application of a second language further challenges a pupil with weak abilities. Second language acquisition may be inappropriate for a special needs pupil, who is already taxed or limited in symbol recognition, aural and visual comprehension.

Samples of Inclusion

  • Communication using the ALDICT Programmes.  This is a symbol based programme using internationally recognised symbols.

  • Where it is a group activity, the social and emotional benefits of inclusion can be achieved by involvement in graphic presentations, recording, cultural presentation.

  • A definite cultural benefit could be gained by involvement in the presentation of music, eating habits, sport, etc. of the country being targeted.

  •  The learning of simple greetings and colloquialisms.

Conclusion
The involvement of children with special needs in the teaching of MFL should be based on the individual assessment of each pupil and the professional judgement as to whether that particular activity will enhance his/her development.

Resources

http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/inclusive-education

http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/inclusive-education/files/inclusive_schools-1

http://www.ilsmh-ea.be/aldict/aldict.htm

The ALDICT project will develop a computer programme, which will facilitate  communication with persons who have difficulties using normal spoken or written language. The programme itself is based on a symbol system and works in English, French, German and Portuguese. It will be easy to install more languages in the future. It is an interesting approach for children with learning difficulties to communicate with other similar children.   However this is not a language learning programme but rather a communication technique.

For the small number of pupils who may need the provision, material may be selected from earlier or later key stages where this is necessary to enable individual pupils to progress and demonstrate achievement.  Such material should be presented in a context suitable to the pupil's age.

Appropriate provision should be made for pupils who need to use:

  • means of communication other than speech, including computers     technological aids, signing, symbols or lip-reading,

  • non-sighted methods of reading, such as Braille, or non-visual or non-aural ways of acquiring information

  • technological aids in practical and written work,

  •  aids or adapted equipment to allow access to practical activities within and beyond school.

  • judgements made in relation to the level descriptions should allow for the provision above, where appropriate.http://www.nichcy.org/research.htm

The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities...a wide-ranging site with case studies and strategies of intervention in the area of special needs. http://www.weac.org/resource/june96/speced.htm : Educational Issues Series

Section 4                                                                       Gifted Children

Pupils of high ability may be extended through the use of programmes, Internet and CD-ROMs, which offer challenge and opportunities for development.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT – HUMAN AND PHYSICAL

Section 1                                                                                 Professional Development

All classroom teachers, in the absence of the visiting language teacher/colleague, will need to manage computer equipment so as to assist their pupils undertake their language ICT activities.  Consequently, schools will need to make an audit of staff IT knowledge and skills so as to evaluate staff confidence and competency in using computers.

The following evaluation chart is a good place to start for assessing staff IT competence and expertise.17

Key
0  Not tried yet
1 Limited use of common features/tools
2 Regular user of common features/tools
3 Getting to know some advanced features
4 Expert user
5 Plugging in, connecting up and starting your computer
6 Managing disks and files
7 Using a database
8 Installing software, e.g. from a CD-ROM
9 Using and searching a CD-ROM
10 Using a spreadsheet
11 Connecting and setting up printers, cameras and other peripherals
12 Using e-mail
13 Basic maintenance, e.g. printer paper, ink/toner
14 Using a word processor
15 Desk-top publishing (DTP)
16 Using a fax machine or facility
17 Using mapping software
18 Using multimedia authoring software
19 Using a drawing and/or painting package
20 Gaining access to and searching the internet

Having evaluated the expertise of the staff, a school can then plan the next step, seeking, if necessary, the guidance and assistance of Education Centres for staff training and ongoing support.  The training should be focused on how ICT can enhance the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages rather than on IT training skills with clear objectives and a realistic time scale.

One effective suggestion for developing a teacher’s understanding of how ICT can be integrated with his/her teaching of a European Language is to read against each other the school’s Policy Statement on teaching Modern Foreign Languages and on Information and Communications Technology.18

Section 2                                                                     Hardware Resources

Most school teachers will know exactly the equipment they have in their own classroom, but it is worth knowing what other hardware resources can be borrowed or are available.  Indeed, a school’s ICT equipment audit should be completed by a school’s ICT Co-ordinator/Principal for the knowledge and benefit of all staff.  The following are details of the type of ICT equipment required for Language Development in any school:

Hardware and Peripherals
Computer(s) with CD-ROM drive, in accordance with NCTE specifications
Printer
Fax Machine
Digital camera
Scanner
Access to the Internet and e-mail
Needless to say, such equipment requires security and insurance cover.

Hardware Management
In order to preserve the security of the hardware the following precautions are taken:

        the computer room/entire school is protected by an alarm system

        serial numbers of all hardware items are recorded

        hardware is marked with a proprietary marking system

In so far as possible hardware is protected from damage.

        machines are protected by dust covers during holidays

        machines are placed away from direct sunlight

        hardware is moved from room to room as little as possible

        surge protectors are added to each outlet

        care is taken not to overload power sockets

        power is switched off at night

        computers with modems are unplugged during holidays and at times when lightning threatens

        food and drinks are not allowed near hardware

        cables are kept tidy.

 

Hardware Record
Make/Model Serial No. Location Purchased
       
       
       
       

Section 3                                                                                 Software Resources

General Software
Word processor
Drawing or paint package
Database and spreadsheet
Desktop publishing (DTP)
Multimedia authoring software
Suitable reference CD-ROMs (including an encyclopaedia)

Modern Foreign Language-Focused Software
CD-ROMs or other software providing opportunities for children to take part in activities using the target language, and where appropriate combining two or more of the four language skills, i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing.
CD-ROMs relevant to European Language Learning are evaluated in Module 8.
Other CD-ROM titles are detailed in Module 6.

Software Management
Software is catalogued (as  below)
Software is properly handled

        CD ROMS are returned to jewel cases, envelopes, etc.

        CD ROMS are cleaned when necessary

        Children are taught to handle CD’s properly

Software Record

Package Supplier Location Licence Purchased
         

 Copyright
The management of software must raise the issue of copyright. Ensure that you have original software.  You may need to purchase site licences or network agreement for the school.

Section 4                                             Organisation – equal access to the computers

It is expected that as Modern Foreign Languages are taught, teachers will give pupils equal opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of these languages through the medium of ICT.  Some of the activities outlined in the following modules can be completed by pupils working on their own,  but the majority will benefit pupils who work with a partner or in a small group.  By working in collaboration with others, pupils can discuss and refine their ideas further.  Additionally, by approaching the activities in a shared way, pupils learn to co-operate with each other.

When language knowledge is being reinforced by ICT, care should be taken to ensure that one pupil doesn’t dominate the activity to the detriment of the other.  The importance of the role of the helper should be emphasised to pupils, in addition to the importance of hands-on work, when introducing activities.

Each language computer activity will need to be explained as it is introduced so that pupils are clear about what is expected of them.   It is often advantageous to allow pupils who are more confident with the computer to attempt an activity first.  These pupils (monitors) can then help the subsequent pupils, who can then in turn, help other pupils.  This chain effect of pupils helping each other with the ICT exercise is often very beneficial, as it helps to reinforce learning and frees the teacher to concentrate on language development with the rest of the class, if so required.

In the situation of a school having only “stand-alone” computers, a rota system will need to be devised to control access.   A clock is placed near the computer(s) to facilitate this.

Ideas which schools should consider when arranging groups using ICT equipment for reinforcing language learning are:19

  • Groups vary in size from pairs (most common) to groups of 6/8 (for programs where discussion is paramount.

  • Groups are usually of matched ability as this makes for more equal interaction.

  • Groups may occasionally be of mixed ability to enable more competent children to help those less able (for example in word processing activities in the early years.)

  • Groups are usually of matched/mixed gender in order to avoid the commonly experienced marginalisation of girls, as boys may  tend to monopolise the equipment

  • Groups may be involved in teaching one another through a rolling program (for example when introducing a new piece of software.)

Class lessons are given to initiate the use of various language software packages.

Section 5                       Health and Safety(20)

Using the Computer
When using the computer, the following safety guidelines should be followed:

Power

  • To help avoid damaging your computer, be sure that the voltage selection switch on the power supply is set to match the alternating current (AC) power available at your location: - 230V/50Hz is the setting for Ireland.

  • Make sure the monitor and attached peripherals are electrically rated to operate with the AC power available in your location

  • To help prevent electric shock, plug the computer and peripheral power cables into properly grounded power sources.  These cables are equipped with 3-prong plugs to ensure proper grounding.  Do not use adapter plugs or remove the grounding prong from a cable.  If you must use an extension cable, use a 3-wire cable with properly grounded plugs.  Be careful not to overload circuits by connecting multiple devices to the one socket or extension cable.

  • To help protect your computer system from sudden, transient increases and decreases in electrical power, use a surge protector, line conditioner, or un-interruptible power supply.

Cables and Connections

  • Be sure nothing rests on your computer system’s cables and that the cables are not located where they can be stepped on or tripped over.  If possible enclose cable in ducting.  If cable must be run across a floor, it can be routed through special covered channels made of rubber or plastic.  These are non-slip, sit on top of the floor covering and the cable is passed through them.  The channel is shaped with an arched top so that it may be walked over, or objects wheeled across it, without any danger.

  • Frequent connection and disconnection of devices should be avoided to prevent damage to connections.  Movement of the computer and monitor should be minimised to prevent problems and strained connections.  The keyboard and mouse should never be stretched to the cable limit.

Moving Computers

  • Computers can be heavy – particularly monitors – and care should be taken when moving them.  If possible, a trolley should be used.

  • If a computer on a trolley is to be moved, check first that it is disconnected from power sockets and network connections.

 

Food, Drink and Foreign Objects

  • It is a good idea to introduce a no food or drink rule for the computer room.  This prevents the possibility of damage to hardware due to crumbs dropping between the keys of the keyboard or liquid being spilt over the computer.  Liquid, in particular, can be quite dangerous with the potential to short out electrical components.  If the computer gets wet, stop use immediately, switch off the computer and all attached devices and report it to the ICT co-ordinator.

  • Do not push any objects into the openings of your computer.  Doing so can cause fire or electric shock by shorting out interior components.

Prevention of Fire and Overheating

  • Keep your computer away from radiators and heat sources.  Also, do not block cooling vents.  Avoid placing loose papers underneath your computer in a closed-in wall unit.

  • A fire extinguisher for electrical fires should be located in a readily accessible position in the same room as the computer.   Extinguishers should be serviced at the recommended intervals.

Ergonomics

Note:  Improper or prolonged keyboard and mouse use may result in injury.

Ergonomics is the design of an environment to minimise fatigue and discomfort.  The following ergonomic guidelines should be used when setting up and using the computer:

Position of Hardware

Position your system so that the monitor and keyboard are directly in front of you as you work.  Special shelves are available to help you correctly position your keyboard.

Set the monitor at a comfortable viewing distance (usually 510 to 610 millimetres [20 to 24 inches] from your eyes).

        Make sure the monitor screen is at eye level or slightly lower when you are sitting in front of the monitor.

        Adjust the tilt of the monitor, its contrast and brightness settings, and the lighting around you (such as overhead lights, desk lamps, and the curtains or blinds on nearby windows) to minimise reflections and glare on the monitor screen.

        Anti-glare screens can be fitted to the front of the computer screen to minimise glare and resulting eyestrain.  There are two types available – cheap mesh screens and more expensive glass Polaroid screens.  The Polaroid screens are much more effective.

Seating Position

  • Use a chair that provides good lower back support.

  • Keep your forearms horizontal with your wrists in a neutral, comfortable position while using the keyboard or mouse.

  • Purchase wrist-rests to sit in front of the keyboard.  These minimise the possibility of wrist-strain injuries from keyboard use.

  • Always leave space to rest your hands while using the keyboard or mouse.

  • Let your upper arms hang naturally at your sides.

  • Sit erect, with your feet resting on the floor and your thighs level.

  • When sitting, make sure the weight of your legs is on your feet and not on the front of your chair seat.

  • Adjust your chair’s height or use a footrest, if necessary, to maintain proper posture.

Varying Activities

Vary your computer activities.  Try to organise yourself so that you do not have to type for more than a minute or so at a time without stopping.  When you stop typing, try to do things that use both hands.

EVALUATION

Section 1 : Assessing, Recording and Reporting

Assessment Policy.............Principles21

  • Careful thought is given to the purpose of assessment, adopting a wide range of the methods to reflect the Curriculum and learning opportunities.
  • Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process, a valuable formative and summative tool.
  • The outcomes of assessment modify our teaching methods, provide feedback on our scheme of work as well as indicate pupil progress.
  • We recognise the potential for assessment in developing a positive self-image in the pupil from positive and constructive feedback and the feeling of success, which encourages further study.
  • Teachers in the school use a common framework for marking work, which is fully understood by all.
  • Results of assessment are reported in a way useful for pupil, teacher, parents and other interested parties.
  • Assessment gradually builds up into a profile for each pupil over his or her school career.
  • Pupils are encouraged to be aware of the evidence and assessment techniques being used and review their own progress by a procedure containing an element of self-assessment.
  • Any summative tests must have an ongoing policy in their construction, marking and usage. These tests show what a pupil can do, i.e. are criterion referenced.
  • Assessment has a common procedure and:
a)  gives teacher judgements which are as valid and reliable as possible
b) gives teachers confidence in their professional judgement and skill
c) is seen to be fair to pupils.
  • Assessment records are not administratively burdensome.
  • Assessment records should provide mutual confidence in teachers between phases and enhance progression for pupils.

FORMAL RECORDING – GROUP

During the course of the academic year, our End of Module Report Evaluation included:

  1. List of ICT skills covered in the respective Module;

  2. Maintaining an Action  Research Diary based on the teacher's reflective observations, under three headings, namely:

  • Which activities work and why?

  • Which are not helping and why?

  • Other Observations, unexpected benefits, outcomes, motivation, integration, etc.

 

Informal Recording/Assessment
Obviously “informal” assessment is ongoing during all lessons in response to oral work, team/group work, skill development project work, etc.

Reporting
Reporting to parents is undertaken through Dissemination Nights, Parent-Teacher Meetings and “informal chats.”  Reporting will focus on the pupils' knowledge and progress in learning a European Language with the assistance of ICT.

 

Feedback to Pupils

Pupils' work, per Module, is organised in class folders.

Feedback to pupils about his/her own progress of European Language Learning, aided by Information and Communications Technology is rarely formalised and is usually done while a task is being carried out through discussion between pupil and teacher.

Section 2                                                         Monitoring, Evaluation and Review

 Monitoring

Monitoring can take several forms but two effective strategies are:

  • to provide classroom support time for ICT and/or language teachers to work alongside colleagues in their classrooms;

  • to set clearly structured tasks, in weekly time-scales, for colleagues to carry out with pupils and then to report back to the ICT/or language teachers.

Evaluation

Ongoing and regular evaluation is necessary to ensure that:

        the Scheme of Work is realistic in terms of the demands it makes;

        resources are being used effectively;

        any problems are addressed as they arise.

 

A useful approach is to have brief staff meetings where:

  • pupils’ work can be shared, reviewed and moderated;

  • the quality of the pupils’ learning can be reviewed;

  • teachers’ progress (taking into account their different starting-points) can be recognised and affirmed;

  • good practice and solutions to problems shared.

Review

This Policy Document will be reviewed after 2 years in consultation with staff, parents and Board of Management.  A good place to start is to ask whether your teaching provides the opportunities described in the “Curriculum Organisation” section of this Module and outlined in greater detail in the following Modules.  The main questions will always be:

  • How has ICT contributed to and supported the learning of a Modern Foreign Language?

  • Has ICT assisted pupils communicate in the target language?

  • Does ICT enhance the accuracy, creativity and presentation of the pupils’ work?

  • Are pupils enabled to experiment with language, thus increasing their knowledge of form and structure?

  • Can pupils extend their cultural knowledge through access to authentic materials?

  • Is it possible for pupils to identify, collect and classify relevant information?

 

Section 3                                             Excellence in Language Learning using ICT

Excellence in Language Learning using ICT can be celebrated in exhibitions, demonstrations or displays including:

  • Display around the school of text, pictures, graphs and charts that have been produced by pupils using computers.

  • The production of a school newsletter by senior pupils.  The newsletter is distributed to all families and contains important information for parents.

REFERENCES

1.                   “Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stages 1 & 2”; Coventry; National Council for Educational Technology; 1995; Page 2.

2.                   Pickford T. & D. Hassell; “Planning for ICT and Geography at KSI and 2”; Sheffield; The Geographical Association and British Educational and Technology Agency; 1999; Page 3.

3.                   Hurrell A. & P.Satchwell; “Reflections on Modern Languages in Primary Education, Six U.K. Case Studies”; London; Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research; 1996; Page 3.

4.                   http://www.dfee.gov.uk/nc/index.html, see Appendix A.

5.                   http://www.ncte.ie/overview.htm, see appendix B.

6.                   “Modern Foreign Languages, an entitlement to IT” Coventry; British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTa); Page 1.

7.                   “National Centre for Technology in Education; Internet acceptable use policy guidelines for primary schools Dublin; National Centre for Technology in Education; 1999.  See Appendix C.

8.                   “Innovative ICT Projects in Schools, A Directory of Projects supported by the Schools Integration Project under Schools IT2000”; Dublin; National Centre for Technology in Education; 1999; Page 20.

9.                   http://vtc.ngfl.gov.uk/cgi-bin/itpolicy.cgi

10.               “Our School I.C.T. Policy”; Clare Education Centre; December 1998.

11.               “Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stage 3”; Coventry; National Council for Educational Technology; 1995; Page 3.

12.               http://www.becta.org.uk/info-sheets/ml.html

13.               “Modern Foreign languages, an entitlement to IT”; Coventry; BECTa.

14.               “Languages Policies PC Disk HD”; Loughborough; S.S.E.R. Ltd.

15.               Ibid.

16.               “Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stage 3”; Coventry; NCET; 1995; Page 13.

17.               Pickford T. & D. Hassell; “Planning for ICT and Geography at KSI and 2”; op. cit.; Page 6.

18.               “Approaches to IT Capability, Key Stage 3”; op.cit.; Page 17.

19.               “Our School I.C.T. Policy”; Clare Education Centre; December 1998.

20.               "Schools IT  2000 Teaching Skills Initiative-ICT Primary, Introductory

Course, Phase 2, Participant Materials"; National Centre for Technology

In Education;  Dublin; 1998; Pages M-12 to M-14.

“Languages Policies P.C. Disk HD”; Loughborough; S.S.E.R. Ltd.

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