Leading Digital Learning Series: Digital Technology Infrastructure in a Primary School
In this video from our Leading Digital Learning series, Deirdre Redmond, Project Officer Digital Infrastructure, with Oide Technology in Education, says the most common basic setup is a teacher’s PC, laptop or tablet device connected to an interactive whiteboard or a large screen. A well functioning broadband and WiFi set up is important also.
In her experience, schools in recent years have moved away from fixed PCs and towards more mobile devices, such as trolleys containing laptops, Chromebooks or iPad and other tablet devices. Dedicated devices for pupils with SEN, many with built-in assistive technology are also common.
Sandra Byrne from Talbot Senior National School describes her school as being relatively well equipped with interactive flatscreen panels in all classrooms. Teachers have their own laptop, and they have a set of 60 Chromebooks split into two sets of 30. The school has a set of 30 iPads also. SET teachers have dedicated devices and the school has good quality broadband and WiFi.
Mark Boggins from Rathcoole NS describes how when moving to a new school building recently they prioritised high quality broadband and WiFi and that this is proving very beneficial. The school uses Chromebooks for senior classes, and tablet devices at junior level. Every teacher has a desktop PC and a Chromebook which they can connect to an interactive whiteboard.
How do they manage shared devices?
Sandra says they recently introduced a rolling timetable which goes online every fortnight. When teachers are planning their fortnightly plans they look at how digital technology can enhance their teaching plans and they will book the devices accordingly. The result of this change is that devices are used more intentionally and children are having more access to technology.
In Rathcoole, they similarly use a timetable for booking devices, with a dedicated WhatsApp group on each floor of the school. This is also proving beneficial in managing the devices.
What about tech support?
In both Sandra and Mark’s schools, they are in the lucky position of being able to deal with minor troubleshooting issues themselves (and in some cases not so minor). Both schools have access to outside support for more complex issues.
Oide TIE provides guidance on this issue here.
Where should a school start?
According to Deirdre Redmond, the most important thing is to have a Digital Learning Plan in place and only when you have identified your priority areas for development within that, should you start investing in new technology.
The Leadership Guide in the Digital Technology Infrastructure section of the Oide Technology in Education website is a great place to start to find support. Deirdre also encourages schools to contact her directly for support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This interview is from our Leading Digital Learning course.
Visit our Digital Learning Hub for information and resources on planning and embedding digital learning.