Supporting Early Years Learning with the ActivPanel
A bit of background
Torkington Primary School can be found in the leafy suburb of Stockport in Cheshire. The school believes that every child has their own individual talents, skills and abilities and that it is their responsibility to recognise and nurture these aspirations, so the children can meet their full potential.
A growth mind-set culture has been adopted by the school which aims to equip the children with key life skills to allow them to meet new challenges with a sense of optimism and resilience.
The school technology at Torkington was beginning to fail due to its age. The lamps in the projector and interactive whiteboard set ups were constantly overheating and needed to be switched off to cool down. The problem was such a hindrance to teaching, that the interactive whiteboards were no longer being used.
Headteacher, Andy Buckler, wanted to update the school’s technology as part of a long-term ICT strategy so began to look for possible solutions. Andy could see that the children’s skills were becoming hampered by the failing tech and wanted to open up their learning opportunities. Some of the younger children were coming into school and trying to touch the interactive whiteboard screens and swipe. It was clear that the old technology was holding the children back and that an interactive touch screen would be better suited to their technology experiences.
It was important to staff at Torkington that a solution could be found that was designed for use in education environments and could be easily integrated into the classrooms. The technology would also need to be suitable for use by children from early years to Year 6, hosting software and resources for all capabilities.
The school had recently invested in iPads and wanted to ensure it was continuing its vision to create a collaborative classroom environment. Connectivity became a key driver in the decision-making process to achieve this objective. A front-of-class interactive display was needed that would allow teachers to connect and interact with pupil iPads and other class devices.
After Promethean was recommended by a teacher colleague as a trusted edtech brand, Andy began to look for a reputable partner to see what solutions were available, subsequently approaching a Promethean partner. A group of representatives from the school, including Andy, visited the partner’s Customer Experience Centre in Leeds so that they could investigate the potential of modern front of class technologies in greater depth.
The group from Torkington Primary received a demonstration on the Promethean ActivPanel interactive display and then had the opportunity to explore the functionality themselves. As a Promethean Platinum Partner, the reseller has a wealth of product knowledge to be able to demonstrate the very best of the ActivPanel’s capabilities, which the school found very beneficial.
After seeing the ActivPanel, Andy returned to Torkington Primary with a realisation that improved technology could really open a world of opportunities for the children at the school. What was initially going to be a longer-term strategy to upgrade the school edtech was now set to be expedited.
Why the ActivPanel?
“After receiving the demonstration on the ActivPanel, it was clear that our school edtech was not sufficient and the timeframe of the upgrade should be accelerated. We needed to try our best to get new technology integrated quickly and to a high standard so that the children at our school could benefit without delay,” commented Andy.
The teachers at Torkington gathered to make the final decision on what edtech should be implemented at the school and there was resounding support for the ActivPanel, particularly as many of the teachers were already familiar with Promethean’s ActivInspire software. As such, a total of nine 75” ActivPanels were implemented across the school.
In Key Stage 1 the ActivPanel is really engaging the children in lessons as they love using the panel at the same time with the multi-touch, which supports collaboration and group work in early years learning.
“It’s fantastic to be able to see the children up at the ActivPanel working together on tasks. Before the upgrade, they would be sat around school tablets, and whilst they were engaged and learning, it wasn’t supporting interaction and group work. Now, even when the children are using the tablets, they can be connected to the ActivPanel to foster deeper discussion and interaction as a class,” Miss Hannah Lobley, Year 2 teacher
The ActivPanel is supplied with ClassFlow software which supports connectivity with all class devices. The teachers run interactive lessons using polling features so that they can get instant class feedback. By using this feature, it is easier for the teachers to identify misconceptions in their early stages.
ActivInspire software is also supplied as standard on the ActivPanel. Teachers find the software useful for adding an interactive element to teaching and learning. The multitude of digital tools available allows teachers to create engaging lessons tailored to learning objectives. Children can go up to the panel and get involved in the lesson, whether this be using a digital ruler or handwriting templates, for example.
One of the notable benefits of the ActivPanel in the early years classes is the precision and high-quality writing experience. For English, the ActivPanel interactive display is used with visualisers to show children how to hold a pen, the teacher can then demonstrate writing on the panel with a stylus for the whole class to see.
“The children are learning letter formation far more quickly. We use templates in ActivInspire for the children to have a go at writing with a stylus, these skills are then transferred onto writing exercises on paper,” added Hannah.
For Maths, there are numerous apps available to support children with learning numbers and shapes. Lots of the apps are games which camouflage learning, children are developing and improving without even realising the advances they are making. Simple activities such as drawing on the ActivPanel using the instant whiteboarding tool also help the children with shapes and numbers.
“The Promethean partner has been into school to give us training and opened our eyes to a wealth of activities and resources we can use on the ActivPanel to really enhance our lesson delivery and learning. From the procurement stages all the way through to aftercare, we been provided with the best guidance. This allows us to make the most out of our investment and use the ActivPanel to take learning at Torkington to the next level,” concluded Andy.
*The Promethean partner was Elementary Technology
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