How the ActivPanel helps students with disabilities

Published: May 30th, 2022

At Promethean we know that no two learners are exactly alike. Making sure that classroom technology is versatile to cater to a broad range of needs is essential for providing equitable education. The ActivPanel provides user-friendly edtech, allowing a chance for everyone to benefit from personalised learning and a wide variety of teaching resources presented in a multitude of ways. It’s perfect for specialist schools like Aspect Vern Barnett School in New South Wales and Swan Hill Specialist School in Victoria. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Staff at these schools have plenty to say when it comes to how the ActivPanel helps students with disabilities:

Visual learning for accessibility

Based in Forestville, New South Wales, Aspect Vern Barnett School is a specialised school catering to around 130 students of various ages with autism. Bradley Muffett, a teacher at Aspect Vern Barnett, was among the staff who recognised the capacity for technology to help empower students and provide engaging teaching and learning experiences. 

Teachers from Aspect Vern Barnett had seen the ActivPanel showcased at the EduTECH expo and, with the help of students, went on to win one through The Promethean Grant in 2017 (now called Classroom Stories). Since then, the school has invested in more ActivPanels for their classrooms.

Teaching a class of six learners around the age of five, Bradley found it effective for his young students to bring up pictures and videos on the ActivPanel – “Each child has high support needs as they are non-verbal, so we rely very much on visual learning to help with communication,” explains Bradley. It is hugely important for the school to give students new ways to learn and motivate them to express themselves visually.

By facilitating a wide range of multimodal resources to be taught, the ActivPanel encourages engagement from visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. Plus, having access to an ever-expanding ecosystem of apps via the Android device, the ActivPanel has helped teachers at Aspect Vern Barnett School meet the individual requirements of every pupil. 

“Certain apps really engage students – we can create lessons and have options that really suit the nature and needs of the kids,” explains Bradley. “Adapting the lesson on the fly maintains an enthusiastic environment in the classroom.”

Versatility and adaptability

Swan Hill Specialist School was another winner of an ActivPanel in the 2019 Classroom Stories competition and, like Aspect Vern Barnett, has also since installed them in more classrooms throughout the school. Amanda Dalton, Teaching and Learning Coach at Swan Hill, said: “As a specialist school that caters to students with a diverse range of needs, the true value of the ActivPanel for us is its accessibility and how we can use it to support each and every learner.”

Mounted on adjustable stands, staff at Swan Hill can easily change the height of the ActivPanels. This means students can use it while standing or seated, making them accessible for wheelchair users.

The smooth Vellum writing technology of the ActivPanel gives a more intuitive writing experience, without the lag or need for tools that can cause frustration and disruption. “Having access to such a large touchscreen empowers those of our students with lower motor control skills, as they can navigate and use the ActivPanel comfortably whereas tablets and laptops can be tricky,” Amanda added. “It also gives them an interactive device which doesn’t require a mouse, as some of our students prefer to use a stylus or their finger.”

Read the full customer stories for Aspect Vern Barnett School and Swan Hill Specialist School at the Promethean World Resource Hub.