Case Study

Transforming Classrooms with Engaging Audio-Visual

Estimated Read Time: 10 minutes

Client: Penistone Grammar School

Core Vendors: Promethean

Project Date: November 2019

Transforming Classrooms with Engaging and Immersive Audio-Visual

Penistone Grammar School is a highly successful secondary school catering for over 1600 students on the edge of the Peak District in South Yorkshire. Computeam has worked with the school on IT development since 2015, providing support and strategic planning services as well as network upgrades. In 2019 we delivered our largest single project to date with the upgrade of over 80 classrooms with state of the art interactive panels.

The Challenge

Deliver an educational Return on Investment.

Over the past 20 years, UK schools have invested millions in high tech replacements for traditional chalk and dry-erase boards. Interactive whiteboards and projectors have recently been upgraded with giant touchscreens, but given the high purchase cost it can sometimes be unclear whether these devices have delivered an educational return on investment.

At Computeam, our mission statement is to improve educational outcomes using technology and with a school the size of Penistone Grammar School making a large investment like this, we were determined to make the technology work as hard as possible to deliver a tangible return for them.

The Solution

Teaching and Learning First with Promethean ActivPanels

As part of our initial strategic consultation, we arranged a demonstration of several leading touchscreen vendors for Penistone Grammar School to ensure a thorough assessment that focussed on desired outcomes rather than features. This resulted in a preference for Promethean technology. Computeam has long championed the UKs leading interactive touchscreen manufacturer, Promethean. While there are many good quality interactive panels on the market, few can boast the education pedigree of this UK tech success story. From the early days of manufacturing interactive whiteboards in Blackburn, Promethean have always focussed on the educational context of their products, providing their own software to ensure that the solution has the potential to transform teaching and learning rather than replacing a dray-erase board with a digital equivalent.

To ensure that the full benefits of the new screen was delivered to every classroom, we developed a detailed project plan for both implementation and user training. Not all audio-visual installations are equal, and our experience taught us that careful consideration of the location, height and input methods (e.g. VGA, HDMI) was important in delivering a quality end result. One of the reasons for selecting Promethean panels was the built in Android, so we also ensured that these were properly installed and loaded onto the system as part of our service. Finally we specified and arranged training sessions provided by Promethean experts for teaching staff to ensure that they got the best results from the start.

The Result

This large project was delivered over three phases between Easter and Summer 2019, and all of the installations were completed to a high standard and signed off after a throughout user acceptance testing process. Computeam was delighted to hear that the new screens had an instant positive impact, with departments who were not in the first phase apparently excited to have their own panels installed sooner after seeing the benefits their colleagues were already enjoying.

The simple addition of peripheral devices like Visualiser was also a key factor in delivering an educational end result. In one example, a music teacher explained that they save 15-20 minutes in each lesson by modelling new chords on a keyboard once on the screen instead of visiting and correcting all those students who were struggling individually!

Having completed the upgrade of all existing classrooms, Computeam were asked to fit out a subsequent extension in early 2020 with the same technology. Penistone Grammar School can now boast high-tech immersive audio-visual facilities in every classroom. Meanwhile the robust design, low running cost and 5 year Promethean warranty provided with every device will ensure excellent value through a low total cost of ownership.

Our Statement

"Being part of this project was very rewarding for me. As the PGS account manager for the past 5 years, I’ve been constantly impressed by the school’s willingness to embrace new technology and the enthusiasm shown by staff for incorporating it into their teaching. Like all the best Audio-visual projects, this one provided an immediate visual upgrade to classrooms and had a rapid positive impact on teaching and learning at the school."

Simon Calderbank, Key Account Manager

Client Impact Statement

"Securing the best experience to provide the greatest opportunity for learning to take place has been the driving factor in all the ICT projects that we have worked with Computeam. The project to install the interactive boards kept this in focus at all times, right from when we were testing the demonstrator boards, to the installation and positioning in classrooms to maximise their impact.

Working with Computeam is effortless as they share the same ideals and goals for learning, with clear advocacy for strategic use of technology in the classroom."

Michael O’Brien, Strategic IT Lead

Key Lessons

This project showed us that:

  • Ensuring that ICT training services accompany any new technology dramatically improves the impact and educational return on investment.
  • Product and Vendor choice is especially important in larger upgrade projects and should focus on total cost of ownership rather than the initial purchase price alone.
  • Detailed planning on the location of and connection to Audio-Visual facilities is a key factor in their success.

Talk to us to see how Computeam can help your school today.

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