From Tech Zero, to Transformation…

Published: February 10th, 2022

With over 800 pupils on enrolment, secondary school Baines School in Lancashire has recently started on a journey to implement new technology.

Having seen the potential of interactive technology and the difference this can have on the learning space, Baines School has accelerated from ‘tech zero’, to adopting a phased approach that will introduce the Promethean ActivPanel in all 44 classrooms.

As one of the first teachers at the school to receive an ActivPanel, Susan Mycock, Head of Humanities and Subject Lead for Geography, explains how the technology has already transformed lesson delivery, and assisted with student development and understanding.

Prior to the ActivPanel being installed in the classroom, our students and teachers alike had little to no experience using interactive technology within lessons. However, once we began to explore the potential of the technology and uncover how it could truly be used to our advantage, my classroom environment has changed dramatically. 

Particularly effective in geography lessons, I’ve been using the Promethean ActivPanel to help make the teaching of difficult, or sometimes dry topics, exciting, interesting and completely collaborative.

Infinite possibilities

One aspect of the ActivPanel that has proven to be incredibly useful for encouraging interaction and discussion between class members is the infinite canvas of the Interactive Whiteboard App.

Students are encouraged to voice their ideas, discuss with their peers and map lesson direction without being restricted. This freedom has given my students an opportunity to work in collaboration with one another, to build confidence and as a result improve lesson understanding.

Extending the potential of extended writing

As a secondary school, a primary focus for our students is the development of their extended writing capabilities. The Whiteboard App can also support this by giving students the opportunity to plan direction and then move away from the prompts on the screen to develop their writing skills.

Beyond this however, we have also been using the split screen functionality to create teams of students who work together to practise forming extended writing. With a focus on sequencing and logical formation, teams are encouraged to assess and prioritise the rank and structure of their writing in a fun and interactive way.

The Promethean interactive display perfectly facilitates this level of socialisation and collaboration amongst the students, they are able to plan their writing in teams and have always got a reference point to return to when writing and structuring their work.

Graphs made easy

In Geography lessons, the ActivPanel has been incredibly powerful when encouraging students to engage with difficult topics and improve interpretation.

For example, using the graph paper and the tools available as standard on the ActivPanel, I can accurately draw and model complex climate graphs. The interactivity and the immersiveness of the ActivPanel enables us to take sometimes challenging topics and make them interesting and engaging.

Students can create or model their own graphs using the ActivPanel and their peers can support or assist in the development or interpretation of these. Furthermore, the ease of editing allows students to see, at a glance, the common errors usually made when developing difficult graphs and rectify them immediately. This can help to improve their overall accuracy and spot mistakes in their own work.

Going from virtually no technology to an interactive display like the ActivPanel has transformed my classroom environment ten-fold. Students are thoroughly engaged in their learning and enjoy using the technology as part of their academic development. It has enhanced lesson delivery and my classroom is now a collaborative hub in which conversation and idea sharing is promoted and encouraged. It has also helped to make the delivery of complex subject areas more streamlined, demonstrating in an interactive and engaging way how to interpret and manage difficult graphs, easily.

As Baines School continues along its phased approach to tech transformation, this summer is set to see the installation of an additional 16 panels into humanities, maths and English, science and modern foreign language classrooms. This will see 40% of students’ timetabled lessons taught with access to the Promethean ActivPanel, giving teachers the opportunity to inspire a tech driven focus into the classroom whilst encouraging students to interact with their learning materials and peers.