Implementing edtech excellence for interactive collaboration
A bit of background
Since 1837, when St James’ NS, Bushypark was first built, it has seen extensive transformations. Due to increased pupil enrolment a new school was built in 1973, with several more extensions added over the years to adapt to the needs of the ever-growing community and the changes in education.
Completed in 2014, the school is now a state-of-the-art mainstream classroom facility, with support and ancillary accommodation, extensive library and well equipped gymnasium. Catering for students from Junior Infants to Sixth Class, the school has effectively adapted to changes in requirements since its construction. In addition to the visible external renovations of the school, there was an opportunity to further develop the internal educational offering for students by recognising that the current technology provision in school would benefit from an upgrade.
While St James’ NS had previously implemented interactive whiteboards in classrooms across the facility, the school identified that front of class technology had quite drastically evolved since its last technology review in 2008. Tasked with the responsibility to introduce new technology in the school, the ICT team used this as a chance to review the entire EdTech market, to ensure any investment would effectively meet the needs of the learning environment both today and in the future.
As part of a full market appraisal, the school team invited an EdTech provider to visit and demonstrate the range of solutions available. Interactive flat panel displays emerged as the most collaborative and immersive forms of front of class technology, and given the school would be transitioning from interactive whiteboards, they believed the move to panels should be fairly seamless.
At St James’ NS, the staff are embracing of technology, and understand the positive influence it can have on the learning environment. Despite being a technologically savvy team, it was essential that all staff would have access to training and support with the new technology to ensure that they would get the best out of the investment. As such, they were seeking a long-term partner to support them on their transitioning journey.
When establishing the selection criteria, the school specified that any new technology should enhance the state-of-the-art learning environment they had created. The previous interactive whiteboards installed across the school were becoming redundant over time, and it was important that their new investment would encourage classroom collaboration, allow for interactivity and be adaptable to changes in the learning environment. Having a variety of iPads in each classroom for students to use, the revision of the ICT provision was also an opportunity to make better use of the iPads, by supporting a greater level of connectivity.
Promethean, with the proven ability to provide initial training, aftercare support and the technology to create a collaborative learning experience, was able to offer a solid solution and successfully address St James’ requirements. Based on the credentials, the decision was made to implement Promethean ActivPanels across the school.
Why the ActivPanel?
St James’ NS implemented the ActivPanels throughout the school’s 16 mainstream classrooms. By having a local Promethean team in Ireland, St James’ NS were efficiently and effectively able to access the additional assistance and training they needed – which proved to be an invaluable asset.
The ability of the ActivPanel to adapt to the needs of the school was essential. Eager to embrace technology in the classroom to ensure the most effective and engaging delivery of a modernised curriculum, the teachers prepared for a significant learning curve. However, the simplicity and ease of the ActivPanel’s instant whiteboarding application has incorporated interactivity into the classroom in an exciting and immersive way for both teachers and learners.
“We wanted to give our students the opportunity to learn with technology in school to better prepare them for further education. Introducing the ActivPanel has allowed us to incorporate interactivity into the learning environment, which is having a positive impact on the learning attitudes of the children.” Stephen Cunningham, ICT Coordinator
Within the classroom environment, St James’ NS uses a lot of applications and websites to help aid their learning. For the core subjects, they can access educational sites containing a huge amount of specific learning resources directly from the ActivPanel. Some of these are also available in Irish, meaning that the school can encourage English and Irish medium teaching and learning. Teachers have also been using an app in lessons which follows the textbooks. This has meant that students are still getting the essential information they need for high-stake tests, but in an enriching and interactive way.
Stephen concluded: “We have previously used iPads in the classroom as a form of interactive learning. The ActivPanel’s ability to cast from an IOS device, means that students can now share the work they have done with the entire class, and peer assess one another. Not only has this encouraged collaboration within the classroom, but we have seen a considerable impact on productivity. Pupils enjoy working with the technology and work more efficiently because of this.”
Would your school benefit from a Promethean ActivPanel?
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