Stephanie's enthusiasm for Visualisers is understandable. She has worked at a school for the last eight years where every classroom is equipped with Visualisers which, according to Stephanie, are never turned off during school hours and are used as part of the teaching process during almost every lesson. “Our teachers automatically turn the Visualisers on when they enter a classroom first thing in the morning as they take it for granted that they will use them at some point,” said Stephanie. “We often talk about what teaching was like before we had them.
Effective use of technology
Stephanie’s job title at Engayne Primary School is leader of ICT and MFL, which places her at the heart of the school’s drive to equip the 21 classrooms with technology that can assist teachers in providing the highest standards of education for its 630 pupils. Stephanie is also a Primary Advocate for the Visualiser Forum, which is a representative group of education professionals and manufacturers who are cooperating to promote the effective use of Visualiser technology. A key objective of the forum is to provide advice on the features and functionality of Visualiser technologies and to enable education professionals to share examples of best practice. “We are very fortunate to have Stephanie as part of the Visualiser Forum team,” said Deputy Chair, Chris Brittan who is Sales Manager for specialist AV distributors AVM Ltd. “It is highly valuable for us to have someone like Stephanie, who is involved with Visualisers on a daily basis, to help us spread the message to a wide audience.”
Engayne Primary School is in Upminster, Essex. It is a local authority maintained school, catering for boys and girls aged from 4 to 11 years. The school has recently been assessed as ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED and a small, but not insignificant contributing factor to this superb achievement has been the successful implementation of IT related technologies.
Unlike many schools in the UK, Engayne Primary did not join the rush to purchase interactive Whiteboards when some years ago the Government allocated substantial sums for schools to invest in technology. “After visiting other schools who had implemented interactive whiteboards, it became clear that this technology encouraged teaching from the front of the class. This did not fit with our vision of bringing ICT to the children and enabling teachers to be flexible in their teaching styles.“ said Stephanie. “We therefore decided to buy Visualisers for every classroom, accompanied by wireless slates, giving teachers the tools to be mobile in the learning environment.”
The school ordered 21 Samsung UF-80DX Visualisers but have since purchased additional machines including two Samsung SDP-860s. Six years on, the UF-80DXs are still being used on a daily basis. “I would love to be able to upgrade them with the more technically advanced SDP-860,” said Stephanie, “I can’t, however, justify the expenditure in that we are the victim of the UF-80DXs success. Its robust design has meant that not one of the 21 machines has been broken or needed to be replaced!”
Stephanie is able to provide an almost endless list of teaching activities that are enhanced by using a Visualiser which her teaching colleagues need no encouragement to use, as they all agree it is such an extremely powerful tool to help pupils absorb and retain information. “The most obvious use of a Visualiser is in science classes where pupils remain at their desks and yet are able to see close-up three dimensional detail of a sample or exhibit,” said Stephanie. “There are, however, so many other practical ways in which a Visualiser can contribute to both pupils and teachers getting the most out of each lesson.”
Stephanie quotes an example of a teacher using a Visualiser to show pupils how to sew. The Visualiser is programmed to record the teacher sewing a stitch and the recorded video is then ‘looped’ so that pupils can watch it repeatedly whilst they individually attempt to do the same stitch.
One of the most common ways in which Visualisers are used is where pupils are given the opportunity to show their work to other children in the classroom. This avoids time being wasted by the work having to be passed around. Teachers’ time is also saved by not having to make photocopies of lesson paperwork as the Visualiser, showing off its ‘green’ credentials, can project the original paperwork for all to see.
A fantastic tool
Stephanie’s enthusiastic advocacy of Visualisers is by all accounts shared by all the teaching staff at Engayne Primary School When asked the question, “Which piece of technology would you most hate to lose?” The answer from one of the teachers wasn’t a total surprise: Definitely my visualiser, I use it almost every lesson. The children use it to share work and it means I don’t have to waste time and money photocopying everything! It is a fantastic tool for assessment for learning.”
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