SWOT Analysis of Somewhere Primary School By Suzie Ashton
Demographics • We are a decile 9 school with 380 pupils and 17 staff close to Wellington city. • There are 30 Mac computers in the school in classes, admin and a small number in a computer suite • All the computers have recently been updated to run OS 10.3 and run the latest versions of both Apple Works and Microsoft Office • One of the school’s focuses this year is to develop ICT as a learning tool across the school.
Strengths • The office administration manager is extremely capable and can troubleshoot most technical problems. • All classrooms have functioning computers that run the latest operating systems and programs and are networked to a central server. The internet connection is broadband so is fast and reliable. • The majority of staff and personally quite computer literate and can use computers for searching for resources and emailing. Some are extremely capable and are running innovative programs with children. • Printing is networked to two central printers saving on consumables and maintenance costs. Colour printing is available to staff from the staffroom computer • A digital still camera, a digital video camera, a scanner and a fax are available. • There is a hard working ICT team with representatives from all syndicates. • There is a functioning school intranet that provides children with safe portals to the internet (filtered by WatchDog) and an area for posting class webpages. • There is a school internet website. • There is strong interest from staff in the school about ICT and all syndicates have indicated they would be willing to attend voluntary workshops to upskill. • There was a thorough review of where the school is at in ICT carried out at the end of 2003 at the completion of the last three year strategic plan. • Apple Direct staff will come and run workshops for teachers for free. • There are shared folders in the teachers resource areas where staff can share ideas.
Weaknesses • Staff are not yet completely confident in using the new operating system. • Use of the digital still camera and digital video camera has been very limited up until recently. • Some of the older machines do not have the capability to run memory hungry programs such as imovie. • Teachers are not yet familiar with School Master and AssTLe. • The internet website is very out-dated. • The intranet was designed on an older web design program that is not available since the latest upgrade. • There are no written guidelines for the school in the following areas: internet safety, the publishing of children’s work, the use of ICT for internal and external communication, the use of ICT for teaching resources and shared planning, the use of ICT for record keeping and reporting • Most teachers are not currently using ICT for administration purposes. • The computer suite is stocked with the oldest computers and there is not enough to have a class in there doing a session - there are only eight out-dated computers. • Teachers do not currently have lap tops for their own use and for use as a portable computer pod that can be used in their classroom. • There are no shared folders for storing lesson plans to help reduce teacher workload. • The internet safety link is not yet operational on the school intranet.
Opportunities • The new three year strategic plan needs to be developed. • The school internet website needs to be updated. • Workshops need to be arranged on the following staff nominated topics: working with digital images; using imovie; using School Master; creating databases for admin purposes and for children to use; using powerpoint and the data projector (which should arrive soon); managing students using computers in the classroom; designing webpages using the new program ‘Adobe GoLive’; and using the BELTS Learning Objects (part of a MOE trial). • Planning formats need to be created so that planning can be then stored centrally. • Information about upcoming courses needs to be given to staff in order to match their ICT development goals. • Information for teachers on ICT policies and how to use the operating system and different programs needs to be included in the school intranet. • Interested classes could develop portfolios on the computer for each student. • Internet safety materials can be displayed by class computers and in the suite. • Guidelines can be developed in the areas currently missing. • Greater use can be made of the Apple Direct staff in running sessions. • The form currently sent home at the beginning of the year to get parent permission for children to use the internet can have a section added where parents give permission for children’s work/pictures being published online. • A centralised whiteboard can be mounted for people to report problems. • A list of good websites at each syndicate level can be added to the intranet.
Threats • The numeracy contract the school is involved in is taking a lion’s share of the professional development time. • Many teachers are already feeling overloaded with other commitments. • Links between home and school are made more difficult as most homes use PCs and not Apples. • The budget does not allow for much development of the computer suite though many teachers would like to be able to run whole class sessions. • The ICT lead teacher may burn out!!! • ERO are coming this year and many teachers will find it hard to take on new initiatives with that pressure added.
Summary • Overall the school has a lot of the necessary infrastructure to run good quality ICT programs and the staff are highly motivated and keen to incorporate ICT in their classrooms. The staff are generally computer literate in their personal lives but have yet to develop a number of skills related to the latest advances in ICT education. Professional development opportunities offered to the staff need to be matched to the areas of interest highlighted by the staff themselves. There is a need to use ICT to reduce teacher workload through centralising planning and using computers for administration. Teachers need to be given the appropriate support in order to meet their professional goals. Awareness of the workload of teachers is important so that any new initiatives are seen as positive rather than overloading. Many policies have already been developed and many well understood and functioning systems are in place. A few more policies need to be written so that all staff know the procedures. Overall, Somewhere School is in a very good position to make large ICT gains in the near future.