Angus Council: Improving inclusive learning, collaboration and flexibility
Angus Council is one of the 32 local authorities in Scotland, with a total of 52 primary schools and eight secondary schools. Among these primary schools there’s a mix of mainstream and ASN schools adding up to almost 9,000 pupils. The council has set up the ‘Angus Schools for the Future’ project, striving to create the best learning environments for young people. Good quality digital learning is an important aspect in the realisation of the ‘Schools for the Future’.
Angus teachers are proud to incorporate many of today’s current education technology into their classrooms. This includes interactive learning using personal devices, differentiated and individual instruction and collaboration between students. The goal is to encourage creativity, develop skills for the future and foster flexibility in the classroom.
Craig Smith, Acting Manager (Support Services) Schools & Learning from Angus Council, began searching for new education technology for his 52 primary schools when their existing interactive whiteboards and software from Promethean didn’t meet the requirements anymore. Many of the projectors were between seven and nine years old. At the time, all the teaching staff were regular users of ActivInspire software for teaching, annotating and creating flipcharts.
Together with Craig, Stephanie Shipley (Learning Specialist with Prowise) decided to visit one of the primary schools. They went to Lochside Primary School, wheeled in a ProLine+ 65” on an All-in-One lift, and presented to Martin Milloy, Deputy Head Teacherof Lochside Primary, some pupils and teaching staff. Inclusion and digital learning are areas of great focus and development in Scotland. When meeting with two children with Additional Support Needs, Rhys and Matthew, the Prowise solution showed it ticked all the boxes: inclusive learning, collaboration, flexible learning and adaptability. Due to the fact that the screen with lift is able to tilt at different angles, the ASN children finally were able to access the screen and to use it to its full potential.
The solution was presented to more and more schools in the council and screens were left on loan for a long duration. This enabled teaching staff to experience, consult and evaluate how it could meet their individual teaching needs. After this period, teaching staff were blown away by the capabilities of the Prowise screen and Presenter software and convinced Angus Council about how the solution would enhance digital learning in their classrooms.
We proposed a digital technology solution that would improve teaching and learning outcomes for staff and children, including supporting children with ASN using assistive technology, within the council’s budget. The council decided to purchase 245 EntryLine UHD 65” touchscreens and 245 lift systems, which were a variety of All-in-One, Mobile and Wall lifts. In addition, all teachers started using the free Prowise Presenter software. After successful implementations in all Angus primary schools, multiple other solutions were requested and installed, leading up to almost 280 solutions and 1,300 new Prowise Presenter users to date.
An important part of Prowise’s pledge to Angus Council was to offer bespoke training and tailored individual courses, as well as ongoing support. Stephanie Shipley kept in close contact with Angus teaching staff and delivered extensive training to make sure teachers could make the most effective use of their digital technology.
Angus primary schools are now flexible, inclusive learning environments that stimulate collaboration and interactive learning. Jenny Roulston, teacher at Seaview Primary states: “The pupils are definitely more engaged and are so keen to interact with the screen. We are exploring the games and mind map feature of Prowise ProConnect right now and the children love seeing their contributions appear on the screen. The children love playing, sharing and sorting using many of the fun games in the Prowise Presenter software.” Also the features of the touchscreen have led to improved teaching: “The touchscreen is fantastic for groups of children to use all at one time - we regularly have four children working on an activity together. The lifts on the screens mean that the height can be adjusted smoothly and safely, making them extremely accessible to all students. Also the image is so clear, we love that we can have a clear view from anywhere in the classroom.”
Martin Milloy, Lochside Primary School
“Our new Prowise touchscreen instantly engaged our learners. The image and sound quality is fantastic, every seat in the classroom now has the best view."
Ashley Holmes, Inverbrothock Primary School
“We have experienced so many improvements: the hardware can be used without the lights being turned off, the sound and picture is much clearer, the software is easier to navigate and the screen doesn’t need to be calibrated every time it is switched on! ”