Teaching staff and Education Officers of Inverclyde Council have had a busy year, but that is nothing new. Striving to help support their students during these unusual and challenging times, the council has been working hard to uplift the wellbeing of children in their community.
Engaging in further renovations and upgrades of their entire school estate, as well as an overhaul of digital connectivity and Wi-Fi infrastructure, the council’s investments have been underpinned with widespread training put in place for teachers.
The challenge of COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020 became an opportunity for Inverclyde to rethink how they could use technology to best execute their staff training, and to maintain their student attainment goals. These endeavours were bolstered by the tremendous efforts of highly motivated and influential teachers, who have been working hard to upskill and uplift their colleagues over a trying period of change.
Investing in Inverclyde
Training for attainment
With the event of the recent hardware update, the Scottish team began delivering face-to-face orientation services to educators. Teachers who needed the most support in the transition were the first to be engaged. This included early childhood educators, for whom the new panels were a brand-new addition (rather than a replacement of whiteboards), after funding was made available to them in 2019.
While many primary and secondary teachers enjoyed a transition made smoother by familiarity with Promethean’s lesson delivery software – award-winning ActivInspire and cloud-based Classflow – many were not aware of the much wider capabilities of the ActivPanel, as demonstrated by the Scottish support team.
“The use of Promethean solutions allowed us to deliver high quality teaching and learning in an active and engaging way to our learners.”Norman Greenshields, Education Officer
Norman Greenshields, Education Officer for the council, was confident over their decision to stick with Promethean for their replacement programme: “The use of Promethean solutions allowed us to deliver high quality teaching and learning in an active and engaging way to our learners.”
As the Schools Estate Programme neared its end, and teacher training to make full use of the new infrastructure was well underway, in March 2020 COVID-19 saw students confined to their homes for much of the remaining year. With educators now needing to find new ways of engaging with children from afar, they were having to rely on technology more than ever before. Recognising the threat that lockdown could pose on their attainment progress, Inverclyde council ramped up their digital skills training to help teachers fully utilise their new interactive panels.
Train the trainer, upskilling and uplifting
It was fortunate that there was already pre-recorded training from Promethean ready to go, and we were able to immediately direct teachers there through our online channels.Norman Greenshields, Education Officer
“What we quickly realised from COVID-19 was that digital training of staff was crucial,” said Norman. “It was fortunate that there was already pre-recorded training from Promethean ready to go, and we were able to immediately direct teachers there through our online channels.”
Online support networks previously set up by Norman and the Inverclyde Council Team were quickly put to work, enabling teachers to access resources and information. Links to ‘Learn Promethean’, a virtual learning environment which offers teachers on-demand, ‘learn in your own time’ training materials, were utilised to maximise the full potential of the edtech investment.
As teachers explored the capabilities of the ActivPanel, they could then pass knowledge on to colleagues through Inverclyde’s online channels. For example, the ability to teach fundamental coding principles through drag and drop block coding apps was a hit with early childhood teachers, while the whiteboard capture function, allowing collation of displays at the end of the day for assessment and repetition, was a tool found to be relevant to all.
What we saw was a marked and measurable difference between the two lockdowns. Learning quality improved following effective IT upskilling, as teachers learned how to better communicate with children through technology.Norman Greenshields, Education Officer
On the training programme’s effectiveness, Norman was confident: “What we saw was a marked and measurable difference between the two lockdowns. Learning quality improved following effective IT upskilling, as teachers learned how to better communicate with children through technology.”
In session 2021/22, Inverclyde will offer staff the opportunity to participate more fully in the Promethean Train the Trainer programme, seeking ultimately to build capacity within its own staff to further support the development of these important digital skills across their education community.
After proving just what the Inverclyde’s education staff can do in the face of changes and challenges, the council is preparing for further ActivPanel installations to complete the major investment. Having overcome the hurdles of lockdown learning, they are now looking at ways to bolster and authenticate their training programmes, so that teachers and education officers can continue in their ambition to uplift attainment across Inverclyde.
Explore more on the Promethean ActivPanel and its uses, or request a demo from one of our Education Consultants.