Enhancing education experiences with the ActivPanel

Published: February 27th, 2023

Situated in Hampstead, St Christopher’s School is an independent school for girls age 4 to 11, whose ethos champions creativity and curiosity. The school previously had interactive whiteboards, but they were showing their age and beginning to hinder the cross-curricular teaching which the school strives for. This led St Christopher’s to investigate options to upgrade its technology, which resulted in Promethean emerging as the brand of choice.

With 19 new ActivPanel displays now installed, every classroom in the school has access to powerful digital tools that enhance lesson delivery and enable teachers to pioneer new pedagogical approaches. 

Exploring new functionality

From their very first orientation session with Promethean, St Christopher’s teachers have been able to explore new ways to push academic boundaries with edtech. The school uses the ActivPanel to make lessons engaging by interacting with topics more dynamically. For example, geography teachers can use Google Earth on the ActivPanel to capture, annotate, and screen share content with pupils’ digital devices, helping to create an immersive experience by enabling students to visualise their learnings.

The ActivPanel is also being used to lock in concepts. Jamie McKenzie, a maths teacher at St Christopher’s, uses the split screen feature to share both PowerPoint presentations and the Whiteboard during his lessons. “Having both screens available to use simultaneously works wonderfully to explain and annotate trickier concepts,” Jamie explained. “It also goes beyond instructional teaching, because students can easily come up and use the panel to answer any queries or solve any problems.”

A collaborative approach

In addition to the ActivPanel, St Christopher’s has implemented a variety of digital tools to enable a modern approach to teaching and learning. From Surface Pros to Surface Gos, Chromebooks to iPads, the devices are all compatible with the ActivPanel. There are now 120 individual student devices being used around the school to facilitate collaborative learning.

In conjunction with the ActivPanel, these handheld devices have been particularly effective at supporting STEM subjects, facilitating collaborative work at the front of the class and on students’ individual devices right from their seats. Using Tinker CAD, a free web app for 3D design electronics and coding, students participating in space-focused science lessons illustrated their 3D designs of Mars rover buggies. These designs could then be screen shared to the ActivPanel, so students could present their visions and get feedback on work from their teacher and peers.

The ActivPanel can also be used to demonstrate software to students so they can get familiar with it before using it themselves. For example, Holly Thomas, head of digital technology, uses the ActivPanel to facilitate group-based problem solving. If students are struggling, she invites a small group to the panel, where they can collaborate and identify a solution using its larger interface.

“We believe introducing young learners to new software and technology is important as it helps to prepare them for the ever-evolving modern working world,” explained Holly. “The ActivPanel provides a great base for instruction, interaction, and collaboration among students, from demonstrating what the cursor should look like when formatting text or objects, to giving tutorials, sometimes student led, on how to navigate new software.”

Looking forward with the ActivPanel

Strivingto optimise the potential of the ActivPanel, St Christopher’s is now looking to implement the split screen and screen share across humanities subjects.

“The resources are all there with the ActivPanel, it’s just understanding how best to maximise them,” said Holly. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed with new technology, which is why I run a ‘techie brekkie’ most weeks to provide teachers with the opportunity to resolve any queries they may be having and help them navigate all the features of the ActivPanel.”

In her role as digital leader, Holly is looking forward to upskilling the team by introducing a Digital Ambassador’s Club to encourage students to take leadership roles within technology. The school has gone from strength to strength in creating cutting-edge curricula that uplift education, from upgrading their existing technology solutions to Promethean’s ActivPanel to introducing individual student devices. This is just the beginning for St Christopher’s, and Promethean solutions are set to remain a core part of their strategy in the future.