At Somerset House computers are seen as essential tools for learning and living. Our objective at Somerset House is to blend the use of technology and learning in such a way that technology is a seamlessly used tool enabling learning to happen. The focus of learning remains the skills acquired and not the technology used.
Each Grade 1 – 7 child at the Prep School has been allocated a private profile on our internal computer system. This profile is password protected and ensures that each child has a digital space through which to experience technology. They will communicate, work and save data on this profile too. They have space allocated for files and documents, as well as photos and videos.
Our Grade 1 – 7 pupils are also allocated an email address. This address is used for communication within the school, as well as externally. Each email address has the same format: the first three letters of a child’s name, followed by the first three letters of their surname, followed by @somersethouse.co.za. Our email is web-based which means that users can access their mail from any computer with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.
A formal ICT skills training lesson takes place each week for Grade 1 to Grade 5 pupils.
One of the most exciting developments in terms of the use of technology at Somerset House has been the introduction of the BYOD programme. This started as a pilot programme in Grade 6 and 7 in 2012 and has transformed access to knowledge in our classrooms. The school is covered with a seamless wireless network which allows teachers and pupils to use mobile devices wherever they are working on campus. The access to the web or the server has made it possible to integrate the use of technology into the learning process. The focus is now more on skills than content and pupils are learning skills and work techniques that are relevant and up to date. Again, it must be noted that the emphasis is on the task not the technology. It is strongly encouraged for children in Grades 6 & 7 to bring devices to these classes. While we are not prescriptive regarding which devices the children bring to school, we do have basic guidelines regarding which devices work best when doing projects and research. Lockers have been acquired to assist in keeping valuable mobile devices safe during school hours when not in use. Pupils are encouraged to not leave mobile devices in their lockers overnight. Inappropriate use of devices will result in disciplinary action being taken.