Embracing the evolution of edtech: St George’s C of E Foundation School and the ActivPanel

The evolution of edtech

Published: October 27th, 2022

When the World Wide Web was born in 1994, nobody knew it would be such a huge catalyst for technological change. And when Dave Morgan started his teaching career at St George’s C of E Foundation School in the same year, he didn’t know what advancements it would ultimately drive in education. 

Dave has been part of a lot of change over the years, and in his current role of Assistant Head, he now helps set the edtech strategy, ensuring St George’s C of E School provides its pupils with the very best learning experiences, powered by the latest technologies.

In 2009, the school benefited from a total rebuild. Underpinned by the vision to become a ‘school of the future’, this marked a major milestone in the school’s technological journey and established them as early adopters of the Promethean ActivPanel.

Fast forward to today, and the school has refreshed its entire ActivPanel estate, upgrading its early interactive panel displays to the latest solutions from Promethean.

The evolution of edtech

“The ActivPanel served us well for over a decade,” explains Dave. “So, when considering where to move next with our interactive displays, the natural starting point was Promethean.”

With a robust and durable design made specifically for education environments, the ActivPanel had already proved itself as a sound investment that would stand the test of time. However, recognising that edtech had significantly evolved over the years, Dave was keen to understand how Promethean had developed the ActivPanel.

“The major leap forward was its connectivity,” says Dave. “Access to the internet, screen sharing, and cloud platforms, all direct from the ActivPanel – was a game changer. Plus, it’s now powered by Android and packed full of preloaded apps, all of which make it easier to teach with technology while transforming lessons.” 

While the evolution of the ActivPanel was a key driver behind the decision to upgrade its ICT estate with Promethean, Dave also recognises the importance of ActivInspire: “This interactive lesson delivery software has been a constant in our lessons for over a decade. As Promethean has continued to invest in ActivInspire alongside the ActivPanel, our teachers benefit as much from continuity as they do from the introduction of advanced new features.”

A practical approach

St George’s C of E recognised that the advancement in ActivPanel features would require training to underpin the upgrade programme. So, ahead of the implementation, the school developed a bespoke programme to upskill the teachers, which included orientation sessions from Promethean.

With a clear training strategy in place, Dave began to look at the practicality of installing over 70 ActivPanels throughout the school.

To ensure continuity for the students and enable a seamless transition for staff, George’s C of E Foundation School adopted a phased approach to the ActivPanel implementation, starting with the Maths department.

In just a few months, the teachers were making excellent use of the preloaded essential apps. For the maths department, one of the most popular ActivPanel apps is ‘Annotate’, which helps teachers to deliver constructive feedback and highlight examples of the students’ numeracy skills.

Using the Annotate App, the teachers can share complex problems with the class and guide them in finding the solutions. They can also use the highlighter to draw attention to a specific detail or the pen to add valuable feedback in real-time.

While the new ActivPanel apps are widely used, ActivInspire continues to provide teachers with effective digital tools for maths lessons. “Graph paper, it sounds really simple, but the graph paper background in ActivInspire is such a practical tool for pupils to learn how to plot grids and draw curves,” says Dave.

“We’re also using the ActivInspire Dual User function much more now. This allows multiple students to write on the ActivPanel at the same time and is particularly effective for head-to-head challenges and exciting mathematical games.”

The future looks bright

With the upgrade programme now complete, all the teachers and support staff at St George’s C of E Foundation School have the fundamental skills to get the most from their upgraded ActivPanels.

Dave reflects on how far the technology has come and why the future is looking bright for the school: “We’ve come a long way since the World Wide Web first launched in 1994. The internet now plays a fundamental role in breaking down geographical boundaries and connecting learners with groundbreaking content from around the world.

“The ActivPanel has also come a long way in the past decade. Promethean continues to evolve its solutions to ensure they meet the needs of students and teachers today, and the ActivPanel is very much at the heart of our connected ecosystem. Upgrading to the latest ActivPanel has marked the next stage in our technological journey, and we’re excited for what the future holds.”