A little bit about us…
Barshare Primary School in Cumnock, Scotland, has around 207 pupils between the ages of 3 and 12. Our vision is that East Ayrshire will be a place with strong, safe and vibrant communities where everyone has a good quality of life and access to opportunities, choices and high-quality services which are sustainable to meet people’s needs.
Why we entered the 2017 Promethean Grant…
We heard about the Promethean Grant from our local council IT coordinator. He knows we are always keen to improve our technology in the school and thought this would be the perfect opportunity for us. Many of our classrooms already have interactive whiteboards which we use daily, but they are all becoming outdated and our IT suite didn’t have one at all. This made it difficult to deliver lessons with more complex content as we’d have to work on a one-to-one basis as opposed to demonstrating from the front of the class. We needed an interactive display that would act as a central hub in the IT suite but could also be used across the wider curriculum.
The IT suite is used by the whole school for various different lessons and we knew it would really benefit us to have an ActivPanel in there, especially as everyone could gain from it. It’s something we have wanted for a while, but unfortunately with tightened budgets this hasn’t been possible.
We currently have an after-school club hosted in our IT suite where a group of students called the ‘Tech Gurus’ try out new software and technologies. There are ‘Tech Gurus’ for each class who aid the teacher with pioneering technology in the classroom as well as supporting their peers. The initiative has been a real success and has enhanced everyone’s knowledge of using education technology. The ‘Tech Gurus’ heard about the competition and were really eager to enter and be in with a chance to win a new ActivPanel to support lessons and the delivery of their training. As the IT suite hosted their training sessions, they knew that having an ActivPanel in the room would significantly transform their learning and role as ‘Tech Gurus’.
What winning means to us…
Lessons in the IT suite and across the school have improved considerably since winning our ActivPanel, they are so much more interactive and engaging. Our learners enjoy being able to work on the ActivPanel together and are already confident using the various features.
Our ‘Tech Gurus’ are reaping the benefits of the ActivPanel, it has really added a new dimension and excitement to the initiative. They are constantly engaging with the teachers by showing them new and exciting ways to use the panel in class and are taking the lead on sharing new ideas. These are all skills that will be of benefit to them in whatever career paths they choose, their enthusiasm and passion is extremely refreshing.
The ActivPanel has proven particularly successful in engaging our more reluctant learners. Equally, individuals that are very shy in the classroom are getting involved in lots of group activities using the multitouch feature, allowing groups of pupils to use the ActivPanel at the same time. When it comes to demonstrating what we’ve learnt, less confident pupils also love being able to mirror their work from their iPads onto the ActivPanel. This peer to peer learning has also been effective when teaching coding and programming robotics by connecting pupils’ iPads to the ActivPanel.
Having the ActivPanel has allowed us to organise sessions that we wouldn’t have been able to do so well before. For example, an art specialist came into school and ran a fantastic workshop using the ActivPanel. He did lots of activities using video, drawing tools and images, this really inspired our learners. Another great example was when we streamed BBC Teach Musicians Live and the learners could interact with the panel and engage in online conversation during the session. The ActivPanel is proving very valuable, especially for interactive sessions like these that allow children to immerse themselves in the experiences.
Finally, making the decision to have the ActivPanel mounted on a mobile stand has been very worthwhile for us. It has enabled us to move the interactive display around classrooms, beyond its home in the IT suite. The teachers are using it across the curriculum to add another dimension to teaching and learning, making it a real asset.
We’re all thrilled to have won the ActivPanel with the Promethean Grant, it was so much fun creating our entry and we’re so glad our efforts paid off. The win has enhanced learning experiences for everyone at our school.
Our killer three tips for the Promethean Grant…
- Make it clear how an ActivPanel would help you – we made sure we highlighted how the technology would enable us to do so much more.
- Be the stars in your show – we didn’t let the teachers steal the spotlight, our learners were the stars of our entry.
- Involve the whole school – we ran a competition between classes to decide on an entry, but they were all so good we decided to merge all the videos together, and it paid off.