Coordinating ICT

A couple of years ago I was on a course and someone said that being the ICT co-ordinator was a guaranteed way of killing your love for ICT.

Whilst I wouldn’t go that far I do think it can be one of the more challenging roles facing a Primary teacher.

I think part of the problem is that it’s all too easy for teachers to opt out of all responsibility for the equipment in their classrooms.

No one expects the art co-ordinator to come and cut the paper, mix their paints and sharpen pencils before they teach art, the music co-ordinator doesn’t have to tune the piano, yet the ICT co-ordinator (in my experience) can be expected to attend every minor issue that arises in the classroom.

I wouldn’t dream of asking the maths co-ordinator to come and put my new trundle wheel together, (when I couldn’t manage it the Literacy co-ordinator helped) yet if I was to hand over a laptop unopened in its box I think she’d be surprised.

The ICT co-ordinator isn’t a technician, but unfortunately in small schools they are on the spot whereas the technician may not be available for a few days.

I think this is partly due to the organic way that ICT hardware has entered our schools. It didn’t arrive as a perfectly formed entity but has evolved over the years,

Those of us who were foolish enough to be willing to poke and delve into the workings of hardware set ups suddenly became ‘experts’.

They say in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.

The most annoying thing for me is that most of the ‘problems’ I’m faced with are easily solvable.

By that I don’t mean easily solvable by me – I mean easily solvable by anyone willing to spend time checking wires and connections or willing to use Google to find a solution.

If I have time I’m more than willing to look at a problem before the technician arrives, its just a bit galling to ask ‘what have you tried to solve the problem’ only to be told ‘ nothing, I just sent for you’

Or my other not-favourite, to be faced with an issue that you have already resolved several times for the same teacher.

Mmmm, last time I fixed it by pressing Fn + F4, and I explained it to you in simple terms, so why, why, why can’t you carry out the ‘fix’ yourself?

So, in an ideal world what do I think the role of the ICT co-ordinator should be doing?

  • supporting staff as they develop their ICT skills. By this I mean via planned INSET – not at 8.30am when they realise that the visualiser isn’t working because they didn’t plug it in to the USB
  • have an overview of ICT teaching within the school – and use this knowledge to formulate a clear vision of what they hope to achieve in the next two years
  • keeping up to date with new technologies and making considered decisions about whether they will be useful/feasible in their school
  • sharing information about new technologies
  • making sure policies are up to date, relevant and adhered to
  • monitoring the teaching and assessment of ICT
  • ensuring ICT equipment is deployed in the most effective manner
  • getting feedback from staff about technology they’ve seen/read about and would like to use

What do I think they shouldn’t be doing?

  • fixing minor problems
  • setting up and organising equipment in other people’s classrooms
  • updating class websites

So, in no particular order (and not including iPads) here are the things I am asked to look at on a fairly regular basis.

I should add, I don’t think I am as terse as the middle and right hand boxes would suggest when I sort them outict_checklist