Sunday, 20 November 2016

Rolling Out Those Big Screens

Star Classroom is first and foremost about professional development and building a community of practice that spans all our academies and massively improves our agility to adopt, adapt and fully exploit new technologies in our work in ways that work for us: not as a parallel "tech for its own sake" agenda, but simply by supporting all our great teachers in their work to make learning better.

That said, the work to put in the physical side of the project - our standard classroom equipment, is now well underway. This is in no way the classroom of the future - we can't wait that long - this is the classroom of the present.

Installation at Eastfield

Engineers from European Electronique are visiting academies to do site surveys and discuss any special requirements with staff and then visiting to put up as quickly and with as little fuss as possible the equipment.

Soon after
The installs have been done so far at Charles Read, Charnwood, Ingoldsby, Eastfield, Cedar Road, Briar Hill and Newnham: and there are many many more to do before we reach the end in January.

In most cases the installation is a simple swap-out for the old projector and board. We fit an LED touchscreen with a Windows 10 PC mounted behind linked to peripherals. The aim is a good value, an all-in one system that will operate reliably and usefully for many years.

Showing the iPad Screen-casting to the big screen

Not every classroom is the same though. In a couple of cases, a mobile unit was needed rather than a wall-mounted one - so the system can be set up on a stand. In two academies we're trying the new screen supplemented by the old one alongside it to review how that might be best exploited in lessons.

Students at Charnwood making use of their Chromebooks to interact with the teacher's display
Every installation is followed by by a 1 week checkup and then 6 and 12 week coaching visits. In those initial visits it has been so positive to see imaginative and effective use of the new systems (in ways we hadn't always expected) within days - it will be fascinating to see how things develop in the weeks and months again.

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