Increasing student engagement and boosting performance: Using SMART hardware and software

A SMART Customer story with Simon Atkinson and Rebecca Timms, St. Stephen’s CE Primary School, Westbourne Park, London, UK

St. Stephen’s CE Primary school in Westbourne Park has been serving the local community for over 150 years. It’s a school that has a vision to break down barriers, open doors and allow for dreams to be dreamed. At its heart is a desire to provide the best teaching and learning opportunities for its staff and students alike. Previously, the school had been using old style pen based interactive whiteboards and flip charts, but found that the limited technology was not providing a rich enough learning environment for their students and did not support teachers in their planning and lesson creation. It caused a lot of frustration for the teachers and the learners. St. Stephen’s was looking for the latest and best technology to support their teaching and learning aspirations and desire to provide the best education for their students.

Why SMART?

SMART Technologies and Leverstock were chosen out of four RFP responses to implement their collaborative products and services. The school has implemented a variety of SMART hardware and software, that supports learning specific to that environment. For example, in classrooms, every teacher uses SMART Notebook® in conjunction with a SMART Board® for teaching.

In year 6, the classrooms use SMART amp™ to enable students to synchronise with other devices. They are then able to view information on both the large screen and smaller individual screens on which they can see lessons in real-time and answer questions.

“We transitioned to SMART Technologies after having used the old Promethean boards for two main reasons. The first was cost effectiveness and the second, was the opportunity to marry all of the technology and support for a more streamlined system and set of processes. What we have now is technology that is easy to install, simple to use and we have support 24/7.”

– Rebecca Timms, Assistant Head Teacher, St. Stephen’s Primary School

In the library, SMART Board displays are used for small group work and staff meetings. The school is planning to implement the Junior Librarian software on its screens to allow children to check books out and return them independently. In addition to providing and installing SMART hardware and software, as part of its ongoing support, Leverstock remains the school’s only source of technical assistance by delivering ongoing IT support remotely 24/7 and in-person consultation onsite once a week. Immediately, the school was able to minimise operating costs by eliminating a suite of IT service staff.

Learning at St. Stephen’s has also crossed international borders as part of the SMART network and the Children Matters initiative, where children learn to understand that their views are listened to and opinions valued. At BETT 2017, the children were given the opportunity to connect with classrooms internationally to observe how other children work and learn in other parts of the world. They are also able to work together to combat social issues and exchange ideas.

How SMART Solutions Improved Learning Outcomes

St. Stephen’s has morphed into a modern “SMART school” that embraces Edtech as a core element in its curriculum and has recently become a SMART UK Collaborative School. A key component of this transformation was the deployment of SMART hardware and software in May 2016. Rebecca, describes a SMART school as “a school that is using technology such as SMART boards, document cameras and visualisers to display work, with the aim of engaging and motivating children in groups. It juxtaposes technology used for play and technology used for study to decrease the gap between the two.”

The partnership with SMART and Leverstock, has transformed the mobility and productivity of the teachers by providing remote access to school servers. Consequently, teachers and support staff are able to access school documents without the need for storage devices. Not only does this allow the team to be nimbler and fluid but is also great for school confidentiality as it eliminates the need to transport information.

As part of the SMART Technologies network, new and existing teachers are continuously trained on the new capabilities as well as ongoing upgrades to the equipment and software.