This interactive approach has resulted in a more collaborative approach to teaching, leading to greater engagement from our students and stronger learning outcomes. This is reflected in our move up the league tables to become a high performing academies.
Andy Percival, Deputy Head Teacher
Rodillian Multi-Academy Trust
The Rodillian Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is a newly established and fast growing MAT in Yorkshire.
Created in September 2014, the Trust is building a reputation for transforming under- performing schools. Its success is founded on developing bespoke solutions for individual establishments which are heavily based on meeting local community needs.
The Trust currently sponsors three academies and supports three others across West Yorkshire, all within a 30-minute drive of each other. It is responsible for Rodillian Academy, Featherstone Academy, BBG Academy, Brayton Academy, Southway and John Smeaton Academy.
Whilst working with individual academies to improve school standards, the Trust also believes in strongly in developing a common methodology to improve standards across its partner schools. The technology it uses is critical to this approach.
With the foundation of the MAT and the joining forces of the various academies Rodillian found that it had inherited a mixed bag of technology.
It was keen to show it could help its schools make fresh starts and quickly show the benefits to students, parents and staff of becoming part of the Rodillian family. Feedback suggested that students were increasingly interested in having mobile devices in the classroom, using similar technologies to the smart devices many were regularly using away from school. From a technical perspective, this meant introducing new innovative technology into the classroom to improve the teaching and learning experience.
Rodillian MAT turned to SMART Technologies to see how it could help refresh the interactive boards across its schools.
After a number of conversations and site visits, SMART recommended its top of the range interactive SMART Board 6075 combined with the SMART Learning Suite (SLS) which comprises a number of software solutions to equip teachers with instructional, assessment and gamification techniques to create engaging lessons. SMART Boards have been installed across 200 classrooms leading to a new era in collaboration and teaching excellence for staff and pupils alike. The large 190cm screen interactive panels improve the learning experience and the 4K Ultra HD resolution gives a crisp and vibrant image which allows pupils to focus on the learning task in hand rather than straining their eyes to see a projected image on a screen in a darkened room. The SMART Board 6075 also benefits from an Energy Star® certification to lower the total cost of ownership.
For teachers working within the Trust, the SMART solution allows them to present lessons and tasks, give direct instructions and check knowledge and understanding more easily. Lessons can be planned in advance and uploaded to SLS to save teachers time. In addition, these pre-prepared lessons can be easily accessed by supply teachers to ensure continuity within a classroom when the need occurs. Fingertip access to a wealth of learning materials though SMART Exchange further equips teachers with content created by other teachers outside their immediate network.
The solution allows pupils to simultaneously collaborate, share and demonstrate their understanding in the way that works best for them. With students already comfortable with smartphone features, they are instinctively familiar with the SMART board capabilities such as zoom, rotate and flip. They quickly grasp the finger, pen or palm gestures to touch, write and erase as required. Multiple pupils can write on the boards simultaneously creating a dynamic learning environment and the smooth SMART InkTM features help build pupil confidence writing on the board as handwriting appears neater.
These capabilities result in a more collaborative and engaging approach to teaching and learning across all the academies in the Trust. It fosters communication within the classroom, develops high order thinking skills and sparks creativity for all pupils whilst supporting self-paced learning and team collaboration. Assessments give instant feedback and can be exported for teachers to use for parent-teacher evenings and the creation of school reports.
A tailored training programme was also developed and implemented by SMART to ensure teaching staff were equipped with the skills to make the most of the technology and ensure early adoption. This is a rolling programme allowing for continuous skills development and encouraging active use of the technology by teaching staff.
SMART was also able to offer Rodillian MAT a flexible subscription-based model to finance the technology refresh programme. The arrangement ensures that the Trust immediately benefits from the technology to improve teaching and learning across the various schools. The fact that payment is spread over a three-year period makes it more affordable and removes the need for an upfront capital investment. It also includes an annual health check of the SMART technology and the ability to review options to extend and update as required.
Teaching staff have welcomed the technology citing more animated and engaged students. They also value the increased insight into knowledge and learning throughout lessons which allows them to tailor their teaching according to individual class needs.
Students have also given the technology an A+. Feedback shows they find the SMART solution is making learning easier, encouraging them to participate and increasing their understanding and progress.
The Academy has seen an increase in pupil attainment levels and the more engaging lessons have boosted pupil attendance. The improved progress of students in the Trust is now outpacing many schools nationally and has helped Rodillian climb the league tables.
“Working with SMART we’ve been able to create classrooms for the future across all our schools,” said Andy Percival, a deputy head teacher within the Rodillian MAT.
“This interactive approach has resulted in a more collaborative approach to teaching, leading to greater engagement from our students and stronger learning outcomes. This is reflected in our move up the league tables to become a high performing academies,” he added.