ICT in schools is taught as a subject in its own right and also supports students’ learning in other subjects, including English and Mathematics.

Within ICT lessons students learn to use a wide range of ICT including:

  • Word Processing to write essays, news articles or letters;
  • Databases to record information, e.g. GCSE data handling project;
  • Spreadsheets to create tables, charts and graphs;
  • Desktop Publishing to design posters, leaflets or cards;
  • Multimedia Presentation to present text, pictures and sound;
  • Drawing Programs to create pictures and designs in Art and Technology lessons;
  • Internet to access research for project work;
  • Email to contact friends and email coursework to teachers;
  • Digital Cameras to record what they have done in class or on a field trip;
  • Website Publishing to create their own websites.

How you can help your son or daughter at home

ICT is not just about using a computer. It also includes the use of mobiles phone, digital cameras and equipment such as a tape recorder, MP3 or DVD player.

Students can be helped to develop their ICT skills at home by:

  • Writing a letter or email to a friend or relative;
  • Creating digital artwork and pictures;
  • Using the Internet to do research for a project;
  • Using an online simulation to develop problem solving;
  • Using interactive games to enhance their learning.

Benefits of using ICT at home

Many studies have looked at the benefits of having access to a computer and/or the Internet at home. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Used effectively, ICT can improve students’ achievement;
  • Using ICT at home and at the academy develops skills for life;
  • Students with supportive and involved parents and carers do better at the academy;
  • Students enjoy using ICT;
  • Using ICT provides a wider and more flexible range of learning materials.

How learning at home with ICT benefits students

Home use of ICT by students:

  • Improves their ICT skills and makes learning more fun;
  • Offers them choice in what they learn and how they learn it;
  • Supports homework and revision;
  • Improves the presentation of their work;
  • Connects learning at the academy with learning at home;
  • All this can lead to better performance at school and an improved standard of work.

Using the Internet safely at home

Whilst many Internet Service Providers offer filtering systems to help you safeguard your son or daughter at home, it remains surprisingly easy for students to access inappropriate material including unsuitable texts, pictures and movies.

Locating the computer in a family area, not a bedroom, will enable you to supervise your son or daughter as they use the Internet. However, don’t deny them the opportunity to learn from the wide variety of material and games available on the Internet. Instead discuss with them some simple rules for keeping them safe and make sure they understand their importance.

To keep safe they should:

  • Use websites recommended by teachers and use a student friendly search;
  • Be aware of who created a website and possible bias within information;
  • Only email people they know (why not consider setting up an address book?);
  • Exercise caution before opening an email sent by someone they don’t know;
  • Use Internet chat rooms with caution and know how to block unwanted users;
  • Not use their real name when using games on the Internet (create a nick name);
  • Never give out a home address, phone or mobile number;
  • Never email their school name or a picture in school uniform (even to a friend);
  • Never arrange to meet anyone alone, and always tell an adult first;
  • Only use a webcam with people they know and turn it around if it is not in use;
  • Tell you immediately if they encounter anything they are unhappy with;
  • Report concerns to the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP);
  • Avoid using websites they feel they could not tell you about.

Go through the rules above with your son or daughter and pin them up near to the computer. It is also a good idea to regularly check the Internet sites they are visiting e.g. by clicking on History and Favourites.

Please reassure them that you want to keep them safe rather than take Internet access away from them. Create a dialogue and a relationship of mutual respect as far as the Internet is concerned.

For further information please visit the CEOP website.

Some useful websites