ICT PIONEERING AT GLENAVON SCHOOL (SEPTEMBER 2006)
Students working at some of the 25 computers in Hadleigh
Benson’s classroom at Glenavon School. ICT activities and
techniques pioneered here are migrated to the wider school.
A classroom with 25 refurbished computers is helping develop ICT use
in Auckland schools. The classroom is at Glenavon, a Decile 2 early
childhood to Year 8 school that is one of four schools in the ‘Bay
Cluster’. The schools, which also include Marshall Laing, Blockhouse Bay
Primary and Lynfield College, have been contracted under the Ministry of
Education’s Professional Development Cluster project to help raise local
teachers’ ICT skills and bring an ICT component into unit planning.
Running the Years 7-8 classroom is Glenavon’s ICT coordinator and
teacher, Hadleigh Benson. It’s almost an ICT immersion class and the
students dive into their activities with great enthusiasm, using the
now-‘traditional’ MS Office programs plus a variety of other
A major theme has been ‘digital storytelling’, in which students develop
stories with a variety of tools: Word and Powerpoint, of course, but
also Microsoft’s PhotoStory and Moviemaker, and De Bono’s Thinking Hats.
Screenshots from Google Earth and stick-figure animations from the
freeware program Pivot Animator make their way into Powerpoint
Multimedia activities have been boosted by the acquisition of a digital
projector, scanner and digital cameras with financial help from the
Telecom Points scheme. Regular multimedia presentations by the class to
the school assembly are whetting the appetites of students from other
Freeware programs are being used – for instance the very sophisticated
3D dungeon multiplication game, Timez Attack. Some programs are accessed
online. An example is Math Mayhem, which introduces an element of
inter-student competition – not only locally, but with children in other
The school makes good use of TKI’s DigiStore software resources.
Frontpage is used by Hadleigh to maintain the school’s lively website. A simple freeware
program called NAMU6 is used by the students to create web pages as an
alternative to wall displays or Powerpoint presentations.
The school as a whole has 42 networked computers, 90% bought
second-hand. Most have come from The Ark in Auckland, some have been
donated and a few were bought new, several years ago. Classrooms other
than Hadleigh’s have 3-6 computers each. The machines range from Pentium
II-333 to Pentium III-800, running a mixture of Windows 98 and XP.
Reliability has been fine, says Hadleigh. “They’re better value than new
machines and their speed and capabilities are adequate for most primary
school work – they do pretty much everything except higher-end graphics
and that’s more for secondary schools.”
The school is building a media centre that will service the whole school
with a set of 30 new computers. It will be based on lessons learned and
activities pioneered in Hadleigh’s classroom.
This will not be the end of Glenavon School’s purchasing of second-hand
computers. A parallel upgrading programme will see more refurbished
computers from the Ark in individual classrooms. At this stage even the
oldest computers won’t be discarded – they’ll all have a place for the
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