Primarily Secondary- Part 2

9th April 2009  |  by Greg

A teacher’s life in primary and secondary compared

Pupil access to ICT and Educational Technology

I’ve been working with my secondary colleagues in the maths department today on sorting out our new wiki and this got me thinking about my previous role as ICT coordinator in a primary school.

As a keen user of educational technology, it did not take long to see the differences between the primary and secondary settings. My year 5 class last year had four PCs in the classroom and at least three hours per week in the ICT suite. Now my classes and I get very sporadic and limited ICT time. Tom Barrett’s essential blog about his integration of ICT with his Year 5 class shows how quickly things can be tried and implemented with a primary class that you see all day and can work alongside. At primary, embedding the use of a new web application across school was as easy as going round each member of our small staff, showing them how it worked and before long they’d be running with it (I did work with a great bunch of people though!)

At secondary, it is much harder to truly embed practice due the size of the organisition and the fact that each department’s aims are often quite different. For example, how the Art department might use a blog or Google Doc is very different to the way my Maths Department would. Doug Belshaw, e-learning manager and teacher at a school in Doncaster, has an equally essential blog ( aimed at teachers at his secondary school. Elearnr is full of top tips for ICT integration and I feel sure that we’ll start to see many more roles like this within the secondary sector.

Since September however, I have used a blog to set homework for my classes in a similar way to my old primary school blog. Not having much access to PCs has made getting things off the ground a bit harder, but it can be done. I’ve used Google Spreadsheets to collect data for a maths project; Glogster for posters about Italy and green issues; and Mind42 for various topics and revision. This time next year I reckon I’ll be much further down the road. But the biggest problem in secondary will undoubtedly remain: in-school access to ICT.

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