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What should schools do regarding smartphone & tablet use?

The Department of Education decided to release a rather odd circular (38/2018) on the use of smartphones and tablet devices in order for them to update or replace their existing whole school policy on ICT. Schools are being asked to decide on a number of issues: The appropriate use, if any, of tablet devices and smart phones in school The issues governing the use of smart phones and tablet devices with regard to, for example, recording videos, taking photos The nature and Read More...

What do I do about GDPR if I have a teacher blog?

Lots of teachers have blogs today where they share some of their classroom practice. With the new rules around GDPR coming up shortly, like all websites, they will have to ensure that they are compliant. I am not an expert in this area so this guide is merely a starting point to get you going. Ultimately, what you need to do depends on what information you keep about people that interact with your blog or website. If you are simply Read More...

How do I add a Cookies’ Notice to my School Website?

Under GDPR rules, after May 25th, your school website will have to have a notice to say that it uses cookies. If you don’t know what cookies are, in summary, they are something that keeps a little bit of a user’s data on your website. Because it isn’t your data, under GDPR law, you will have to let the user know that you are using them. Because your website is very very likely to store these cookies even without Read More...

Do you have any ideas of the types of questions I can expect to be asked at an interview for an AP2 post?

There was a moratorium on Posts of Responsibility for almost a decade and in 2018, they came back, albeit in a reduced form. If your school was lucky enough to get some extra posts, here are some ideas of the types of questions you might be asked. Before I list them, please be aware that all schools are very different and there is no definitive answer to these questions in reality. Assistant Principals are no longer named Posts of Responsibility Read More...

Should I set up a WhatApp group for messaging Parents?

Firstly, this question is for principals who want to send messages to parents, not for teachers! Teachers should never ever ever set up a WhatsApp group for their parents and have messages coming from their personal WhatsApp account. That is, of course, unless they wish to be contacted by parents at any time during the day or night. The reason this question was asked was twofold. Text messaging is expensive, up to 5c per text sent. In a school of Read More...

How do you scan a document to Aladdin?

One of the great things about student management information systems (MIS) is the ability to store any documents or files associated with a child. For example, a child might receive a psychological report, and rather than keep it in a physical file, it might be useful to upload it to Aladdin (or any other MIS.) In order to do this, you’re going to need some sort of machine to scan in your paper-based document and turn it into a digital Read More...

Is there a perfect AUP (Acceptable Usage Policy) for Internet?

Sadly, the short answer to this question, is “no.” However, the PDSTTiE (formerly NCTE) website has some advice, but even more helpfully, it points to one of its sister websites, WebWise, which gives some comprehensive support on creating an AUP. There are even some samples on the WebWise page here which have been recommended. Finally, my own school has its own AUP, which may be far from perfect but it is available to use too. Read More...

Do new school builds come with Interactive Whiteboards?

Getting a new school building is a lovely experience for everyone. Although a lot of work for the principal who needs to remember the building project management module(!) he/she did in teacher training college, once everyone moves in, it’s worth all the phonecalls and screaming matches. New School Buildings in 2018 don’t come with a lot in terms of technology. You’ll usually get a server cabinet but without any of the infrastructure such as switches, routers, etc. You’ll generally Read More...

How can I use the latest Digital Learning Planning Guidelines to make an ICT Policy?

This article is in two parts. The first part summarises/critiques the Digital Learning Planning Guidelines and the second part offers a different solution. The Department of Education released its latest plan, the Digital Learning Planning Guidelines, a few days ago, and I thought I’d go through it to see what they possibly could have forgotten to do since the last Digital Learning Plan, which was called the Digital Learning Strategy and was released less than 2 years ago. Perhaps, it Read More...

What advice would you give to a school wanting wifi?

WiFi is now becoming a basic need in any primary school with the emergence of WiFi-enabled devices. Devices such as iPads and Chromebooks require a decent WiFi set up to get their full use. However, any device benefits from WiFi as the lack of wires mean extra portability. What should a school look for in terms of a WiFi set up? There are two answers to this question, in reality, and it rather depends on your school size. Tiny schools can Read More...

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