ICT at Birkdale is both studied as a subject in its own right and is also a valuable tool to support teaching and learning across the whole curriculum. The main aims of the department are simple:
- To provide access to facilities throughout the school day and beyond.
- To equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in today’s world of information dependence.
- To encourage independent learning through safe and appropriate use of the Internet and other computing resources.
To train and support staff with ICT skills to enhance teaching and learning.
In the four years at the Prep School from Prep 1 to Prep 4 (Year 3 to Year 6) all study ICT through weekly double lessons on a half-termly basis. They are taught how to manage their own files and use the facilities in a safe and efficient manner. They are also taught the basic skills of word-processing, spreadsheets, painting and drawing, desktop publishing, presentation software, simple databases and safe and responsible use of the Internet. These skills not only enable the boys to use computers across the curriculum but also prepare them for the Senior School where they develop the skills to a higher level.
All these lessons are taught in a dedicated ICT Suite with networked computers, interactive whiteboard and projector. These facilities are used by other subject teachers in addition to being open at lunchtimes and after school for ICT clubs and societies for different age groups.
The boys are assessed every half term and given grades. Boys receive a written report on their progress at the end of Prep 3 and Prep 4 (Year 5 to Year 6). This is achieved by ensuring that time is spent on a one-to-one basis with each pupil as often as possible during practical periods of a lesson. Enthusiasm for the subject, ability to answer questions on procedure, willingness to share skills with others and confidence at using the computer are all clues as to the progress each boy is making. In turn, this has a direct effect on the maintenance of standards throughout Key Stage 2 and the broader curriculum at the Prep School.
All boys in the Prep School enjoy using computers and look forward to ICT lessons. This is made clear in the boys’ Records of Achievement and the enthusiastic way they line up for lessons in the ICT Suite.
At parents’ evenings a number of parents comment on boys who come home and want to tell their parents what they have been learning in ICT lessons. There are times when parents admit that their son has taught them some aspect of using a computer that they had not previously come across. This is a two-way process in that boys are equally keen to show teachers what they have learned at home.