Friday, September 22, 2006

It hasn't taken very long back in school to make the weekends ( and Friday afternoons when the w/e is in view) hallowed ground. When on school break you forget the amount of energy that you need throughout the teaching day. We have arrived it is Friday evening and the short weekend is laid out before us... time to take a deep breath and relax.

School itself has begun with a bang and as a Primary School ICT Co-ordinator occasionally the bangs are literal... We had a case in point this time last year. We were in the process of going through the Basic Skills application process A colleague and I had spent 3 months gathering all of the information for the visit of the accessor who was due in early October. One of the issues we wanted to work on was giving pupils who needed additional Maths support access to a computer running a Maths Learning Program on a regular basis. We found a great room, being used as a Reading Support Room and set about equipping it with a PC. Problem - no free PC's in school- solution, our Infant School Cook was getting rid of a PC ( win95) and wanted it to go to a good home. Great, all we had to do was wipe all of the program data off the hard drive and load our Maths Program, and timetable the room. All worked well for about a week, and then the day before the accessor was due in, my room which is opposite said Reading Support Room begins to fill with an acrid smoke !!! I rush out of the room and notice a pall of smoke in the corridor coming from the R.S. Room. Once inside I realise that the monitor is in meltdown - quickly turning off the power at a main point we disconnect the machine and allow it to cool down - PC is toast and is disposed of ( environmentally). However the strong electrical smell persist for weeks - Basic Skills accessor sees the funny side of what could have been a very dnagerous/disasterous situation - moral schools should not accept other peoples hand-me downs...
This year has not quite lived up or down to this, however we have had the usual early demise of a few old (win95) PC's and a few elderly printers who have lost their heads and are 'not worth saving'. Hence my Headteacher is steering a wide berth as I am about to land our budget with the inevitable costs of such mortality ( at present a £3,000 suggested replacement cost - much to offset by leasing ). I feel uneasy when other Departmental Heads are told that money will be tight this financial year - but it is ever so.
One situation which I am really fed up with is the problem of replacing fixed digital projectors when they also reach the end of their life expectancy. We have had such an experience as a projector which was bought for ourshinyy new IT Suite in 2000 has also died ( the suite isn't soshinyy either anymore- but has coped well over the years, and has become my second home). Unfortunately when replacing you find out that there is not a standard focal length or prefered height for projectors and so to replace a £600 projector we will have to move and adjust the mounting bracket and support and re- direct all of the trunking for same ( cost - an additional £500), so £1100 to replace a projector ( and I thought prices were falling !!!!)
So far as you can see just a few weeks into a new school year and I am already heading towards a spend of £4,000 out of an already described 'tight budget'.
I asked a colleague the other day if I were the Geography co-ordinator would people coming knocking on my door if a textbook was ripped or a compass was faulty - I think not - however an IT co-ordinator seems to have a constant stream of visits and requests to load or repair or just plain help others with their computer woes - I think that it is time to end rant and have some peaceful weekend time - lean back and relax - ( oh dear apparently our home computer isn't printing properly and someone wants me to have a look !!!!! Have a good weekend.

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