Pinders Primary School is a diverse, inner-city school in West Yorkshire. Fully 80 per cent of students speak English as an additional language and Head Teacher Lorna Kemplay knows engaging visuals and lively lessons are a necessity to get children hooked early on reading, writing and maths.
“We’ve got a higher than average number of children with additional needs; it’s the diversity and inclusion that makes us particularly special.”
When Kemplay arrived at Pinders two years ago, she saw that the school's ICT was old and failing. As a result, the classroom environment was not as stimulating, attractive or conducive to learning as it could be.
Kemplay initiated a technology renewal along with her Deputy Head Teacher Craig Fraser and their team. Working with expert consultants Elementary Technology, the school created a 5-year plan to invest in new SMART Board® interactive displays alongside visualizers, upgrade to SMART Notebook® 17 software and commit to ongoing training.
“To have technology that we can see, the resolution of it is phenomenal, now we've got sound that erupts over the children, that has high definition to really capture them,” Fraser says.
“When you say software to support children's learning, you think of SMART,” he says, because staff already have the foundations with it on which to build. “The differences from Notebook 11 to Notebook 17 is clearly a wide variety of resources through 3D images and class lab systems that allow it to be an engaging system.”
As he says, who wouldn't rather learn from an activity where a dragon is shooting fireballs than from staring at an intimidating blank white worksheet?
With hardware upgrades that resulted in vastly improved performance, software that matched students' and teachers' needs and brought lessons to life, the essential third piece of that implementation puzzle is ongoing training, an approach they've coined “triangulation.”
“You've got to have all three to get value for money,” Kemplay says. “Triangulation, that's really a central part of it and that's what we've had with SMART and Elementary Technology.”
Looking beyond their near-term improvements in outcomes and engagement, Pinders' leadership is taking the long-term perspective on their investment. “We have to get something that's going to have an impact and have longevity,” Kemplay says. “It's a legacy for the future and for the children that come through Pinders Primary.”