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Chapter 2

ADMINISTRATION AND DATA/INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

2.9 GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF MICROCOMPUTERS IN EDUCATION

2.9.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • National Educational Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996), Sections 3(4)(a) and 8(3), which give the Minister of Education a mandate to “undertake the monitoring and evaluation by analysis of data gathered by means of education management information systems, or by other suitable means, in co-operation with provincial departments of education” [NEPA]

 

POLICIES

  • White Paper on E-Education: Government Gazette, Notice 1922 of 2004 – Transforming Learning and Teaching through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) [NP 1922/2004]

 

GUIDELINES

  • South Africa Institute for Distance Education: Managing ICT’s in South African Schools: A Guideline for School Principals [NG MICT]
  • Reference C SP INTERNET for an Internet Access Policy for Schools
  • Reference C  SP SMS for the Framework for a School Management System
  • Reference A NG e-SAFETY Guidelines on e-Safety in Schools

EasternCape

CIRCULAR

  • EC Circular 27 of 2015 – 2016 Academic Year Programme Of Submission Of SASAMS Databases [Reference B1 27/2015]

FreeState

ACT

  • Free State School Education Act, 2000 (Act No; 2 of 2000) [Reference B2 FS EDACT]

 

GUIDELINES

  • Free State SA-SAMS Manual: Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) [Reference B2 FS SASAMS]

 

KwaZulu-Natal

POLICIES

  • KZN E-waste policy [Reference B4 E-waste]

2.9.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on the Use of Microcomputers in Education

  1. Definitions:
    • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are the technologies which together support people’s ability to manage and communicate information electronically. They include not only computers, but also such technology as digital cameras, video recorders, television and radio.
    • E-Education: In the South-African context, the concept of e-Education revolves around the use of ICT’s to accelerate the achievement of national education goals. E-Education is about connecting learners and teachers to each other and to professional support services and providing platforms for learning.
    • E-School: An e-School is any GET or FET institution (including Early Childhood Development Centres and ABET Centres) who have:
      • learners who utilise ICT’s to enhance learning;
      • qualified and competent leaders who use ICT’s for planning, management and administration;
      • qualified and competent teachers who use ICT’s to enhance teaching and learning
      • access to ICT infrastructure.
    • An e-School connects with the community by:
      • allowing community access to its computer facilities after hours;
      • receiving support from the community and local SMME’s to maintain and sustain ICT interventions; and
      • serving as a venue for business advisory services and training for community based small computer and repair businesses.
    • E-Learning:
      E-Learning is about learning and teaching philosophies and methodologies using ICTs in the learning environment.  Enriching the learning environment through the use of ICTs is a process that takes learners and teachers through:

      • Getting to know more about ICTs (investigating what we can do with ICTs),
      • Getting to learn with ICTs (supplementing normal processes or resources, utilising ICTs), and
      • Getting to learn through the use of ICTs (supporting new ways of teaching and learning through the use of ICTs).
  2. One of the keys to successful ICT implementation is the development and implementation of an ICT policy. It is important to note that ICT include not only computers, but also such technology as digital cameras, cell phones, video recorders, television and radio.
    • One of the key elements of an ICT policy is a vision statement. A vision statement shows:
    • Where you want to go or be in the future;
    • How you expect to get there;
    • Why you are on this journey;
    • What goals or milestones you expect to reach before long; and
    • What values and ways of working you commit to in order to achieve the vision.
    • Key areas to be covered in an ICT policy:
      • Physical security – burglar bars, alarms and responsibility for seeing that the security is working;
      • How to use the equipment – guidelines for handling sensitive equipment;
      • Guidelines for access – who may use the equipment and when;
      • Rules for use of the Internet – including such issues as time spent and/or material downloaded.
      • E-safety towards responsible, accountable and ethical use of ICT
  3. Why should we have computers in schools?
    There is no doubt that to manage the amount of information in the world around us today, we need the computer technology.  We need to record, process, store and share information with others.  According to the North Central Regional Education Laboratory (NCREL) in the United States of America, ICT’s in schools can:

    • Make learning more interactive;
    • Enhance the enjoyment of learning;
    • Individualise and customise the curriculum to match learners’ developmental needs as well as personal interests;
    • Capture and store data for informing data-driven decision making;
    • Enhance avenues for collaboration among family members and the school community;
    • Improve methods of accountability and reporting.
    • (NCREL Report http://cct.edc.org/projects/north-central-regional-educational-laboratory-ncrel)
  4. Purposes for which educators use of computers
    Teachers use computers to support their work in a number of ways and can be structured around all seven roles of the educator as follows:

    • Learning mediator
    • Interpreter and designer of learning programmes and materials
    • Leader, administrator and manager
    • Scholar, researcher and lifelong learner
    • Community, citizenship and pastoral role
    • Assessor
    • Learning area/subject/discipline/phase specialist.
      Wonderful resources are available for CAT and IT teachers at: http://techteachers.co.za

      Table 1: Software uses for teachers from the Microsoft Office suite
      Administration, teaching and other general functions Applications
      Word Excel Power

      Point

      Access Publisher Outlook
      Advertising x x
      Amending forms x x
      Assessment forms x
      Assignments x
      Budgets x
      Certificates x x
      Checklists x
      Class discussions x
      Class lists
      Classifying data x
      Creating web pages x
      Dealing with money x
      Drawing graphs x
      Exam papers x
      Flyers x
      Forms x x
      Interactive worksheets x
      Invitations x x
      Lessons plans x
      Letters x
      Lists x
      Mark sheets x
      Mass mail x
      Minute taking x
      Networking with teachers x
      Newsletters x
      Notes x
      Organising x
      Planning documents x
       Posters x x
       Presentations x
       Registers x
      Report cards x
       Requisition forms x
      Research x
      Rubrics (assessment) x x
      Schedules x x
      School records x
      Stock control x
      Submitting EMIS reports x
      Templates x x
      Worksheets x
  5. Purposes for which learners’ use of computers
    Learners use computers for a range of purposes, depending on the resources available and the school policies that guide their use of these resources.
    Developing computer literacy. There are two approaches:

    • Learners learn basic skills in a computer literacy class They apply these skills to work they do in other classes
    • Computer literacy is seen as something learners will acquire through using the computer in order to learn a subject. This approach is sometimes called “just-in-time” learning, as learners acquire the skills they need at the time they need them for an applied purpose.
      Generic application Examples of software packages
      Word processor MS Word, Corel Word Perfect
      Spreadsheet MS Excel, Quotro Pro
      Presentation software MS Power Point
      Database MS Access
      Graphics Package MS Paint, Corel Draw
      E-mail client Outlook, Pegasus Mail
      Web browser Internet Explorer, Netscape, Google
      Group ware MS Outlook
    • Supporting subjects directly based on knowledge of the computer.
    • In the national curriculum for the Further Education and Training Certificate, there are two subjects which rely directly on learners having access to computers, and associated resources such as the Internet.  These are Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology.
    • Supporting learning in subjects across the curriculum. Here follows some broad categories:
      • Computer-aided instruction (CAI)
      • This requires the use of software that is usually developed commercially and has some interactive quality. It mainly consists of “drill and practise” activities.  Typical examples of these are the popular Maths packages.
      • Using generic software to support learning in a subject. Examples:
        • A word-processing package to type up and edit material for submission to their teacher, or for presentation to the teacher;
        • A spreadsheet package to process numerical data or draw graphs to show data they have gathered or been given, and integrate this into written work;
        • PowerPoint to present ideas to the class;
        • A CD-ROM or web browser to obtain all kinds of information and
        • E-mail to contact external resources
    • Using special packages and tools for a particular subject or learning area
    • In some subjects, such as Science and Geography, there are simulation games and problem-solving activities that give some benefits of interactivity. Accounting packages are mentioned as optional in achieving learning outcomes in the National Curriculum Statements in the FET band and in Maths, there are packages designed specifically to support understanding in geometry.
    • Using software and other resources designed for learners with special needs
    • Computers can be adapted to assist learners with particular problems. It is possible, for example, to acquire software which can covert electronic text into speech.  Equally, when a teacher is assessing the completed work of a learner with reading difficulties, she can use the computer to produce spoken comments on his work, instead of giving him written comments he would find difficult to read.
  6. Eight types of ICT use
    Use 1:    The school administration uses the school computers
    Use 2:    Teachers use computers to do their administration work
    Use 3:    Teachers use computers to prepare worksheets and tests for learners
    Use 4:    Teachers access online resources to support teaching and learning in their subject
    Use 5:    Learners are taught to use computers to develop IT skills and knowledge. No formal attempts are made to integrate this work with subject-based learning; focus is on computer skills taught in relevant context – some use is made informally by learners (using a CD in their own time, or Internet access)
    Use 6:    Learners apply basic IT skills to work across the curriculum in their IT lessons, and informally outside official teaching time
    Use 7:    Learners use computers to work on non-IT subjects from time to time, in loose arrangements made by their teachers as needs demand and resources are available.
    Use 8:    Learners use computers to do subject related in non-IT subject lessons in a sustained and well-integrated way.
  7. The South African School Administration & Management System (SA-SAMS)
    SA-SAMS is a computer application specifically designed to meet the management, administrative and governance needs of public schools in South Africa. The implementation policies of provinces can differ and principals are advised to consult provincial-specific policies or circulars on the matter.
    SA-SAMS was developed to provide schools with a cost-effective, easy-to-use and fully-integrated computer solution containing all aspects of school management requirements.
    SA-SAMS consists of a number of different modules:

    • General School Information:
      This includes school details, school cycle details, classes, school subjects, feeder schools, disciplinary/ demerit and merit codes, house groups, school terms, teaching and non-teaching days and a year planner.
    • Human Resource Information:
      This includes educator information, staff information, INSET training records, development appraisal interview records, weekly staff attendance and the Integrated Quality Management System for educators.
    • Learner and Parent Information:
      In this module, administrators can maintain learner enrolment information for current learners or future registrations. Parents can also be added to the system. Schools can keep disciplinary/demerit and merit records, record incidents, and maintain a record of learning barriers. It can also maintain a record of sport, art and culture. This module records weekly learner attendance and year-end learner promotions.
    • Governance information:
      This module keeps record of all issues pertaining to the School Governing Body (SGB), namely members, functions, policies and training records. Various reports are available. The school can view statistics regarding learner misconduct and fee exemptions, as these are areas that require decision making by the governing body. Sexual harassment incidents are also maintained here, as they also require decision making by the SGB and they can be printed out.
    • Standard letters and forms:
      The mail merge facility can be used to send existing or new letters to a selected group of people. Blank application forms can be printed for learners and parents, educators and staff. Completed data forms can also be printed and sent out for verification of the accuracy of the data. Mailing labels can also be created and printed
    • Export data:
      The exporting of the 10th Day Survey (snap data) and the Annual School Survey data from SA-SAMS is one of the key advantages of the use of SA-SAMS. The export functionality takes all the required General School Information, HR Information and Learner Information within SA-SAMS and automatically populates the relevant sections of the survey to vastly reduce time and errors for schools in completing the survey. The survey file is produced in xml format and delivered as an electronic file to the provincial EMIS unit for easy import into the provincial system.
    • Financial assistant:
      The system setup function allows the school to maintain their financial system parameters. Either annual or monthly budgets can be maintained. All receipt and payment transactions can be maintained and journals can be viewed or printed. All deleted financial transactions are written to an audit file. Debtors and school fees (including school fee exemptions) can be maintained and various reports are available. Bank reconciliation can be done and various financial and transactional printouts can be printed. Expenditure and budget information can be exported to the SA DMS system. Year-end functions include writing off bad debtors, processing year-end transactions and opening a new financial period.
    • Curriculum-related data:
      The school uses this module to set up the structures for recording and reporting on the progress of learners. School subjects, learners and educators are linked here. The school can maintain their subjects and learning outcomes per subject. Evaluation cycles are set up usually for the end of each term, with a final promotion cycle at the end of the year. All school based assessment activities can be recorded here.
    • Timetable modules:
      A new automated timetable has been added to SA-SAMS. This ensures a fully-functioning school.
    • Physical resources and school infrastructure register:
      This module has three functions: Learner Support Materials; Fixed Assets; and Physical Infrastructure.
    • Security and database functions:
      The administrator can use the security functions to add users to the system and maintain their user rights with regards to all modules in SA-SAMS. Password maintenance can also be done. Database functions include export of data fields to MS Excel, compacting the database and the Microsoft backup and restore facility. Security includes physical security, software security; programme security and backup/restoring of data.
    • Library Module:
      This module is designed to ensure that all schools can administer the day-to-day running of a school library facility. They can create and manage a library catalogue, manage system users, issue, return and renew library items, manage fines, manage reservations and manage history records.
    • SIAS for SNE Module:
      The SIAS module was integrated into SA-SAMS to reduce the administrative burden related to the assessment of special needs learners. Sections include background information on the learner, diagnostic profile, extended profile, individual support plan, assessment of support requirements and an action plan for additional support.
    • LURITS Approval Module:
      Schools are able to approve and manage their data for the national tracking system through the use of this module. Data is exported to the national tracking system and imported from the national tracking system via xml file format without requiring schools to capture any data twice.
      SA SAMS can be managed in two ways:
      Using Administration Staff
      Using school educators
    • Using administrative staff
      • An administration staff member is appointed as the SA SAMS clerk. This person must be thoroughly trained in SA SAMS. Three quarters of her/his time will be involved in the administration of SA SAMS.
      • The use of an administrative staff is advantageous for the following reasons:
        • Work can be done throughout the day
        • One person is accountable for the operation of SA SAMS
        • One person develops in depth skills in SA SAMS
        • An operational schedule must be set out according to the needs of the school.
      • Time must be scheduled for the following type of operations to:
        • Ensure that all new learners captured on the data base, subjects/learning areas are added to all learners, school calendar is completed, learning programme in all subjects are added and printed for the parents etc.
        • Class lists for all subjects/learning areas are printed for educators.
        • Dates when teachers must hand in their learner’s marks. This is critical and must be spread out to avoid slow periods and congested periods.
        • Regular times for operations like absenteeism
        • Times for the school accountant to complete financial matters
        • Asset management
        • Time for completing new time-table for following year etc.
        • Large schools need to use only one computer if the time management of capturing data is carefully worked out.
        • A school management team member must oversee and support the administrative staff official at all times.
    • Using school educators
      • A small group of educators may work as a team to capture learner performance and other operations. This time will have to be additional to prescribed teaching time, usually in the afternoons. Due to the shorter time period and more than one user, a number of computers may need to be networked.
      • SA SAMS may be networked, but users must use different functions or different data bases simultaneously.
      • In the same way as shown above an operational schedule must be set out according to the needs of the school. A time must be scheduled for all the different operations:
      • Careful thought must go into the planning of the end of term schedules and printing of reports. Data must be regularly backed up and where possible an extra printer must be available in case of a breakdown. Extra stationery and toner must be procured in good time to avoid delays with printing of reports.
  8. Internet Access Policy for Schools (Template)
    See REFERENCE C – Internet Policy for Schools [SP Internet]