In this first meeting we visited two schools: de Triangel primary school in Gouda and the Helen Parkhurst Secondary school in Almere.
De Triangel is a multidenominational school in the west of The Netherlands. The school has about 250 pupils in the age range of 4-12. ICT is well integrated and the school has taken steps in the recent months to extend the number of available interactive whiteboards. Although some of the iwb's were installed only a day before the visit of the inspectors and despite the delegation of six inspectors, the teachers and the pupils were quite at ease with the technology. We witnessed a music lesson where internet tools were integrated effectively into the teaching. The visitors were also impressed by the use of the adminsitartion systems to monitor and record pupils progress and to analyse test scores. Pupils had plenty of opportunity to use pcs with a 1:4 computer:pupil ratio and pcs placed not only in the back of all the classrooms but also in the hallways. The school had a very pragmatic approach to the integration of ICT in the school, with an important role for the ICT coordinator who together with the school leader managed to enthusiasmise every team member.
Helen Parkhurst is a school for general secondary education for students aged 12-18. The objectives for 6 (young students) to 12 weeks (older students) are fixed through so called curriculum lines by the teachers in the different subjects. But the order of activities, pace and to some extent the way how to reach the objectives can be determined by the students, in close agreement with the teacher. Many activities are based on collaboration with other students. Reflection on the different activities and results of the learning process are very important. The school has some 1900 students. The ICT curriculum is divided over different subjects. Mediaplus Office is used to train students in the lower forms for the use of a word processor, presentation tools and spreadsheets. In the higher forms the subject Computer Science can be chosen, and also modules from the Cisco Academy. At Helen Parkhurst ICT was especially used by the pupils for independent and group work - which reflects the value the school puts on self-directed learning. We witnesse some very confident and reflective students who were eager to see ICT used more by teachers. HP has about 1 computer for every 5 students, almost all of them connected to broadband. Other facilities are also in place (digcams etc) to support studnets in their learning.
So, did we manage to agree on our verdict at the end of the day? The answer is yes, although in some cases there was disagreement on details. We also agreed that some elements of the methodology needed improvement, but that overall the toolbox was very helpful in making informed decisions that did justice to the school. The schools found the visit useful and sometimes tiring. They recognised the findings. For each school visit, a comprehensive evaluation report was drafted, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses of the schools. Base on the visits a new revised evaluation toolbox wwas developed to be used during the next school visist in Luthuania.
by Bert Jaap van Oel (originally posted on the P2V Blog-Inspection)
Last changed: Thursday, 26 February 2009