|Staff and students at the Co-Opertive Academy at Brownhills are getting very excited about their new building, which is due to open its doors for the first time in September. This will mark the culmination of a lot of hard work which has been in the planning stages over the past few years as part of the wider Stoke on Trent Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.|
ICT Education partners RM Education, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire have been working closely with the Academy over the past year to ensure that the design of their new state of the art technology systems will support exciting and engaging learning. Teachers and students at the Academy have already been trialling new devices by taking part in Action Research Projects as a means of taking practical research into the classroom to evaluate the impact of the devices on improving teaching and learning. Currently a number of teachers are researching the impact of visualisers, iPods, interactive slates and voting devices as part of the wider Change Management, CPD and training programme and the results will help inform the Academy about their purchasing decisions.
Chris Hall, Vice Principal at Brownhills, together with a mini bus full of excited students made the trip down the M6, M40 and A34 to the REAL Centre at RMs Headquarters in Abingdon. The RM REAL (Rethinking Education and Learning) Centre has been created to showcase examples of successful learning and offer hands-on experience of how technology can stimulate and enhance classroom practice and equip learners for a rapidly changing future. The centre is divided into a number of innovative learning spaces that schools are increasingly using in the new designs. The purpose of the day was to allow the students to work on some projects using some different technologies to provide their feedback, while offering Chris the chance to examine some of the new technologies and furniture that can be used in the new Brownhills building.
When Katrina, our RM EDM, mentioned the possibility of a visit to the centre I was very keen, as I had seen the Centre on the RM interactive website and wanted to see if the technologies engaged our students
Following a welcome and introduction to the Centre by Mark Maybury, one the RM Educational Consultants working with Brownhills, the students were split into three groups and given their instructions. One group were tasked with programming some Lego Mindstorm robots to manoeuvre around a course, another to produce an animated story using a HD Camera and software, while the third group had to produce a TV broadcast using the Green Screen technology. Meanwhile Chris was busying himself examining the furniture such as the vertable, IWBs and projectors, interactive floors and a variety of hand held devices such as the iPods and iPads.
|Chris was particularly interested in the versatile 'Vertable' which is a multi-purpose table that in its upright position can be used as presentation device with the attached short throw projector. Once flipped into the horizontal position it becomes a fabulous project table ideal for students to collaborate on projects using a variety of software packages.|
After lunch the students put on a show of their creative productions which were excellent, before the long journey back home to Stoke-on-Trent. It was an exciting day and one that was beneficial in informing the Academy about the important decisions they are currently making regarding their technology choices.
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