Just as the students at Scotland’s Ayrshire College need education and support to reach their true potential, teachers there rely on in-depth training to maximise the power of SMART hardware and software in their classrooms.
“The best way to foster innovation and creativity in day-to-day learning and teaching is to provide staff with basically three things: the right tools, the right training and the right support to promote innovation.”
Ayrshire College is a further education institution with three main campuses, each about an hour southwest of Glasgow. The college offers an impressive array of career preparation courses for its 14,000 adult students, in everything from early childhood to hospitality and tourism, sports performance and STEM subjects.
Upgraded classrooms boast new SMART Board® 6065 interactive displays and SMART Learning Suite software so teachers can create truly interactive, engaging lessons. It’s changing the way instructors teach, and the way Ayrshire students learn.
“I think being able to use SMART software has been a massive step forward from the old traditional way of doing things,” says Joe Munroe, a lecturer at Ayrshire who regularly incorporates interactive SMART quizzes and activities into his health and social care lessons.
“We can get the attention of every student. We can show them the relevancy by getting them up and touching and doing things. Everybody gets a voice rather than someone getting left behind,” he says.
Well after the initial installation, SMART continues to partner and collaborate with Ayrshire, providing workshops, training and information sessions for staff. Now, with so many enthusiastic teachers on board, they have begun peer training as well.
“We’re trying to get staff to have that a-ha moment,” says Kevan Scade, staff learning and development technologist at Ayrshire. “The only way to do that is to get teachers who have been using it for a number of years to become the trainers themselves.”
That commitment and investment is worthwhile, as the impact is long lasting. Ayrshire student Graeme Gilchrist remembers his introduction to SMART Board displays as a 9-year-old, and how for the first time he was excited about learning and looked forward to school. Now, in his college media course, he says SMART continues to bring the material to life.
“No matter what age you are, you still have to be engaged, you still need to be excited about learning, and you still want to be able to turn up and give it your all, and I think the SMART interactive boards really enable you to do that,” he says.