Leading Digital Learning Series: Digital Technology Infrastructure in Post Primary Schools
In this video from our Leading Digital Learning series, Deirdre Redmond, Project Officer with Oide Technology in Education, Lorraine McCool, Dominican College, and Paul Byrne, St. Patrick’s Classical School, discuss the setup of digital infrastructure in post primary schools.
Overview of Digital Technology in Post Primary schools
Deirdre explains that most schools have 200 MB per minute, with some up to 600MB depending on usage. If demand is there, bandwidth is upgraded. Deirdre says in her experience most post primary schools have a teacher PC/laptop/tablet device connected up to a projector and screen, a TV or an interactive screen. She says that some still use fixed computer rooms for students to have access to online resources, multimedia, and for subjects such as tech graphics etc. One to one devices can feature in the guise of Chromebooks, iPads, or Windows. The two most popular learning platforms are Office 365 or Google Workspace for Education. Some schools have mobile trolleys which they charge and move from class to class as needed.
Deirdre says technical advice from a third party is vital. Both Lorraine and Paul’s schools use third parties. Google Forms are used for teachers to report technical issues. Both Paul and Lorraine try to troubleshoot some of the problems themselves. Dominican College has a company that comes in once a week and uses the Google Form to guide them. In Paul’s school, it’s only if he can’t fix the issue himself that the outside company is called in.
Schools’ digital journey
Lorraine describes starting their journey in 2017. They first decided what platform to use and once this was done the next few years were focused on creating the main infrastructure and building up sets of Chromebooks for the students to use. They wanted to bring technology to each classroom and to this end they now have 6 sets of trolleys with 30 Chromebooks in each, which teachers book at the start of the week. The trolleys are being used so extensively in the school that the digital learning plan focus for this year was to get access points for WiFi into every single classroom. From a teacher perspective, every member of staff has a Chromebook and every classroom a data projector, screen and desktop computer.
Paul describes his school as in the process of transitioning from projectors and whiteboards to interactive screens. When planning for digital technologies, the heads of departments were consulted on what their specific subjects needed. For example, SEN students have access to Chromebooks, Music and IT have iPads, and DCG have desktops. They also have two IT libraries with 30 desktops in each. Teachers have their own devices and there are 4 sets of Chromebooks which teachers can book through VSware. Their online platform is SchoolWise which they use for subject planning, grading, day to day resources, and creating student assignments.
Advice for schools
Deirdre recommends schools start with where they are, saying a Digital Learning plan is essential. When a school has identified their goals, they can look at the type of technology that can support that. The Digital Technology Infrastructure (DTI) Guide and reaching out to Oide Technology in Education are two supports available to schools.
This interview is from our Leading Digital Learning course.
Visit our Digital Learning Hub for information and resources on planning and embedding digital learning.