Delivering a Robust EdTech solution for Twenty First Century Schools

A bit of background

Situated in South Pembrokeshire, Ysgol Harri Tudur is a mixed comprehensive school with over 1,200 students. The new-build school, which opened its doors for enrolment in September 2018, is defined as a Twenty First Century School. A joint partnership between the Welsh Government and Local Authority councils, Twenty First Century Schools are part of a long-term investment programme for schools to improve buildings and develop them as learning hubs.

At Ysgol Harri Tudur, the school aims to provide all pupils with a comprehensive and stimulating educational experience through a vision of excellence, achievement and success. With a strong culture of learning, development and accountability at all times, students are encouraged to reach their full academic potential at a school that is prepared to innovate and explore.

Key Considerations

As part of the match funding programme from the Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire Local Authority, Ysgol Harri Tudur was awarded £38 million to undertake the full build and fit-out of the school. Recognising the integral part technology plays in today’s world, it was essential that the technology provisions implemented at Ysgol Harri Tudur would provide a platform for academic and future successes of students.

During the two-year planning process, Ysgol Harri Tudur allocated £1 million of its budget to ICT infrastructure. Identifying ICT solutions that would suit the scale of the school and encourage student engagement was essential. Ysgol Harri Tudur recognised the superior interactive and connective capabilities of interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs) and the decision to introduce IFPDs rather than interactive whiteboards was made.

As a Twenty First Century school with an ambition to become a learning hub, Ysgol Harri Tudur needed to ensure that the IFPD specified would be best suited for an educational environment.  This led the Ysgol Harri Tudur team to attend the Bett Show.

After meeting several IFPD manufacturers at the Bett Show, Ysgol Harri Tudur selected six panels to trial. From seeing in-depth features and demonstrations at the Bett Show, to an independent demo at the school, the Promethean ActivPanel was chosen by all staff as the preferred solution. Manufactured specifically for the educational environment, with lesson delivery software, ActivInspire, available as standard, Ysgol Harri Tudur implemented the Promethean ActivPanel across all 77 classrooms in the new build school.

Why the ActivPanel?

Promethean worked closely with Ysgol Harri Tudur to ensure its implementation of the ActivPanel and training process was as streamlined as possible. As the school was participating in a new technology venture, it was important that all members of the school were confident in using the ActivPanel. Promethean developed a training schedule of orientation sessions to ensure that staff were comfortable and confident using the technology. Due to the scale of the implementation, Promethean attended the school across the course of a few days at the start of term, to ensure that all teachers had access to training sessions that suited them, helping them to begin the year with the appropriate skills to adapt lessons to embrace edtech. With extensive access to Promethean support, the school was confident that they could rely on one trusted point of contact to help them effectively adopt the ActivPanel into the new build.

Rob Ellis, Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Harri Tudur, commented: “During the initial planning programme of the school, we needed to find an edtech solution that we trusted and could rely on. Promethean was supportive of our decision to test the market’s technology and as a result of in-depth demonstrations, clear and concise orientation sessions and reliance on support whenever it was needed, we decided to implement the ActivPanel school wide. Promethean has been extremely supportive and responsive, helping to make sure we are getting the most out of our panels.”

Ysgol Harri Tudur runs an asymmetric week, where formal lessons end at 1.30pm on a Friday and teachers utilise this time as an opportunity to conduct weekly CPDs on areas of interest. A regular supplement of this time is sharing best practice advice on how other teachers are using the ActivPanel, not only engaging students within lessons, but creating a community of teachers sharing ideas.

The investment in ICT infrastructure from the Welsh Government and Local Authority also allowed the school to update its handheld provisions, computers and laptops. The ActivPanel’s ability to cast from these devices to the front of class display unit has encouraged student participation, interactivity and has enhanced traditional methods of learning within the school. Teachers are able to use the panel for an array of different tasks and new methods of learning, such as immersive CAD drawings and geographical maps, which has increased student engagement.

Rob concluded: “The ActivPanel has transformed the classroom and each subject is finding new and exciting ways of integrating the technology into its lessons. STEM is a key area of focus for us, especially as more jobs and careers are focused on a student’s technological capabilities. The multi-touch feature of the ActivPanel has helped us to engage students in STEM subjects that are usually considered as difficult or boring, and it has even helped us with behaviour. Students are encouraged to work as a class or compete against each other in races against the clock in maths and science and this has helped to spark an interest in these subjects.”

Would your school benefit from a Promethean ActivPanel?

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