Server-less success: Devonport High School for Boys aligns tech provisions with school philosophy

Two students draw on a digital presentation displayed on an interactive display

Published: January 13th, 2022

Starting on its journey to tech success almost a decade ago, Devonport High School for Boys has been investing, innovating and inspiring students with its server-less successes. Removing legacy technology and transforming the learning space into a connected and immersive hub of collaboration, Devonport High School for Boys has been forging the path of edtech innovation since its tech enhancement began in 2012.

As the first in the UK to wear the badge of ‘Google School’, Devonport High School for Boys has continued its innovation-led expedition to technology triumph by sharing best practice, constantly working towards pedagogical goals and enhancing classroom environments.

With its Google strategy making gains, and students working well with accompanying Google technology, Devonport High School for Boys was chosen to encourage and support other schools to join in its endeavours.

Invited to participate in the Edtech Demonstrator Programme, a government scheme that is centred around encouraging free access to technology advice, Devonport High School for Boys put its experience in motion and became one of 50 schools in England to share its skills. As the only secondary school in the programme to adopt a Google-led strategy, the school sought to support its educational colleagues across the country to transform the learning space into a connected, cloud-driven environment that enables students to learn at pace and bolster technology understanding.

“With our server-less goals achieved and our Google positioning proving successful for both teacher and student, we wanted to share our experiences with schools across England. Positioning us as a leading establishment, the Edtech Demonstrator Programme is an opportunity for us to encourage other schools to stimulate learning outcomes with technology, which is a fundamental passion of ours. Also, the additional support from the government has enabled us to continue to enhance our classrooms with technology,” commented Nick Berryman, Assistant Headteacher at Devonport High School for Boys.

Front of class tech that’s top of the class

Continuously identifying areas of improvement and enhancement, Devonport High School for Boys aimed to align its classroom provisions with that of its cloud-based solutions. Recognising the need for a front of class display device that could work effectively within its technological structure, its legacy interactive whiteboard and projector systems had become obsolete.

“Finding a front of class display device that was able to operate on our Google systems and in conjunction with our teacher and student Chromebooks was a top priority. We needed to work with a manufacturer who understood that our set-up wasn’t a traditional one, but one that sought to avoid additional PC devices, or equipment that couldn’t operate singlehandedly,” Nick continued.

Having spoken to many manufacturers and being told that it would not be achievable to run a front of class display device without being connected to a PC, Devonport High School for Boys turned to Promethean…

Growing ActivPanel potential with additional extensions…

With specific requirements in tow, the school’s ICT department discussed its set-up in detail with the Promethean team. Having worked to understand the school’s systems and how they wanted to use the technology going forward, Promethean recommended the ActivPanel interactive display with the certified Google computing add-on, Promethean Chromebox.

Ensuring Devonport High School for Boys could continue to make yards in the edtech space, inspiring and encouraging students with technology, Promethean’s ActivPanel, coupled with the Chromebox functionality, enabled the school to use its Google systems simultaneously with its new front of class display device. As well as this, the Promethean ActivPanel is able to work independently, with a range of pre-loaded apps that can encourage immediate interactivity and stimulate discussions.

“The ActivPanel gave us an opportunity to use our front of class display device to further support our connected strategy. The Promethean Chromebox integrated our experience completely, allowing ease of access to the Google ecosystem and introducing a new dimension of interactivity and collaboration into the classrooms,” Nick explained.

Encouraged by the potential of the ActivPanel and reassured by its collaborative features that drive Devonport High School for Boys’ wider Google strategy, the decision to roll out the ActivPanel across all classrooms was put into motion during the nationwide lockdown of 2020.

“Promethean worked to completely understand our ambitions and was aligned with us on our passion for effective use of technology in the classroom. Beyond this, Promethean’s understanding of the education space supported us to make this transition and implementation seamless and easy.

“Taking advantage of our empty classrooms, we commenced our overhaul of technological infrastructure to future proof our technological investments. This also ensured that when our teachers and students returned to the classroom, they would have new tools and devices ready to use going forward to support engagement and interaction in lessons,” Nick commented.

Chromebooks, casting and collaboration…

As the UK is slowly emerging from the pandemic and students are back into school, Devonport High School for Boys is making the most of its new investments, with students and teachers alike engaging with and benefiting from the ActivPanel’s streamlined use and collaboration tools.

“Since installation, our ActivPanels have supported teachers to keep learning moving forward, whilst allowing them to introduce new and exciting methods of modelling into lessons. For example, the Promethean Chromebox allows teachers’ Chromebooks to connect to the ActivPanel, enabling the device to drive onscreen activity. Not only does this help when in lessons, to annotate on-screen display instantaneously for immediate feedback, autonomy and a technical edge, but it also enabled self-isolating teachers to continue to teach lessons to their classes using Google Meet.”

Going forward, as restrictions ease, we are looking forward to integrating further collaboration elements into our classroom activities, encouraging teachers and students to interact with their learning to boost engagement and make the most of our quality investment,” Nick concluded.

As Devonport High School for Boys continues to innovate and inspire students with technology, the ActivPanel has positioned itself as the creative focal point for lesson delivery and interactivity. To find out more about the Promethean ActivPanel and how it aligns effectively with education strategy, request a demo today.