Success Stories

Ashby School, UK

Primary school enhances teaching and learning with PolyVision's Walk-and-Talk interactive whiteboard.

Engaging pupils in a busy classroom environment can be challenging in the best of times

In the central England county of Leicestershire, teachers are meeting the challenge by bringing learning to life. Every day, they captivate energetic little minds by teaching creative lessons on PolyVision Walk-and-Talk™ interactive whiteboards.

“There’s no chance of these boards lying idle in the school and gathering dust,” said Teresa Harrington, teacher at Ashby de la Zouch Church of England Primary School. “The teachers and pupils here use them every day.”

"We're thrilled with the impact our Walk-and-Talk boards have had. We use them even with out youngest children to help make the learning experience positive, interactive and fun."
Teresa Harrington
Ashby De La Zouch Primary School
New technologies make teaching easier

Maintaining the focus and interest of young children with diverse learning needs has traditionally required teachers to spend a considerable amount of time carefully planning each lesson and researching appropriate resources. Because the pace of delivering lessons must accommodate each child’s ability to understand and learn the subject matter, variety and inclusion are keys to successful teaching.

New technologies and teaching styles make it easier. In order to enhance effective teaching through the use of information and communication technology, United Kingdom’s government provides financial help for schools wishing to purchase new tools for classrooms. With national funding and British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) approval, Ashby School purchased PolyVision interactive whiteboards for its classrooms.

Simplicity, ease, durability and flexibility required To increase the likelihood of successful adoption, Ashby School wanted boards that were simple to use for teachers new to technology as well as young children.

“Ashby Primary School had specific requirements in mind when it decided to purchase interactive whiteboards,” said Stephen Twigg of the UK Department for Education and Skills. “Ease of use was paramount, as the school wanted to minimize the necessity for teacher training.”

It was also important that the boards be constructed to withstand the regular day-to-day use of a busy classroom full of enthusiastic children. Finally, the boards had to support the full range of educational software and online resources currently available, rather than specific software packages which could only be used with certain individual manufacturers’ interactive whiteboards. This would allow a classroom teacher to deliver lessons to all ages across the UK’s National Curriculum.

"I didn't even require any formal training with these whiteboards. I simply switched the board on and quite literally walked and talked around the classroom."
Teresa Harrington
Ashby De La Zouch Primary School
Dynamic lessons yield enhanced learning Around the world, the use of interactive whiteboards in schools gives teachers the power to deliver more dynamic and exciting lessons in stimulating classroom environments that enhance learning. Harrington,the teacher at Ashby School charged with coordinating curriculum for the school’s youngest students, uses the PolyVision interactive whiteboards on a daily basis.“

Without a doubt, the biggest benefit of these boards is the amount of time they save when preparing lessons,” she said. “It often used to take up to 20 minutes to search for resources around the classroom to help with lesson planning. Now, I have immediate access to a wide variety of online resources that are instantly accessible via the interactive whiteboard.”

Harrington uses the boards primarily for teaching math and reading lessons, but covers other subject areas too. Because the plug-and-play technology eliminated the need to load special drivers or software, she found it easy to get started.

Student confidence soars

At Ashby School, using PolyVision interactive whiteboards helps improve young children’s hand-eye coordination and self-expression,essential parts of the curriculum for early learners. “I encourage my pupils to use the boards as much as possible,” Harrington said.“I would say they have certainly helped increase the self-confidence of a number of individual pupils.”

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Milan Schools, Michigan

Award-winning math teacher activates learning with Walk-and-Talk interactive whiteboard.

Michigan teacher activates learning

Hasselbring, a National Board Certified math teacher at Milan High School, is also a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She received the national award because of her innovative teaching techniques. Integrating her lessons with instructional technology, Hasselbring uses the PolyVision Walk-and-Talk™ interactive whiteboard daily.

"The technology I use in class is so powerful, It gives my kids so many more opportunities than they ever could have had before.”"
Milan Schools, Michigan

Hasselbring, who spent her first 10 years in the classroom wielding chalk, said the transition to interactive whiteboard technology has yielded significant benefits for her students.

Classroom of the future

Twenty years ago, classroom computers, televisions, calculators and overhead projectors were considered progressive teaching tools. Today at Milan High School, PolyVision interactive whiteboards are the progressive tools of choice, popular with both teachers and students. PolyVision interactive whiteboards have made a dramatic impact on the way teachers engage and inspire their students. From streaming video with sound effects to homework problem-solving with the touch of a button, these boards are a multimedia classroom tool that teachers and students enjoy using.

New tools for new schools

When taxpayers voted to build a new high school, William Matley was charged with designing the school and making it the premier high tech school in the area. As executive director of the district and former high school teacher and principal, Matley had a solid understanding of what makes a good teacher and how children learn. He realized that teachers need creative learning environments where students can be more actively engaged in the learning process.

Along with superintendent Dennis McComb, also a former principal,Matley envisioned technology that not only excited teachers, but also captured students’ attention beyond the traditional lesson and whiteboard method. Matley and McComb were immediately impressed with PolyVision interactive whiteboards and the technology’s ability to assimilate into the classroom. They also appreciated the ease and flexibility of integrating the boards into the curriculum.

After researching and reviewing technology contractors and designing the network, Matley devised an easy, economical way to mount a projector in every classroom. Now every classroom in the school district is equipped with his solution and includes:
  • Wall-mounted PolyVision interactive whiteboard
  • Ceiling-mounted LCD projector and amplified ceiling-mounted speakers
  • Computer with flat screen monitor
  • DVD/VCR player
"I am able to provide more variety in class, tailored to a very diverse group of learners. Meeting all their needs is difficult, but the new technology gives me more ways to do that."
Cindy Hasselbring
Milan High School Math Teacher

Not just an “add-on”

Although Milan may appear to be your average school district, it is anything but average when it comes to technology in the classroom. The technology is not just an “add on” with a few computers in the back of the classroom, or on a cart to be signed out by the teacher and used once in a while. Every classroom in the K-12 school district is fully equipped with technology. Each day, more than 2,200 students and 140 teachers interact with a PolyVision interactive whiteboard from a visual, auditory or tactile perspective.

Special software for different subjects The PolyVision interactive whiteboard technology allows teachers to instruct in innovative ways; for example:
  • In algebra, the board becomes a calculator
  • In history, it is an encyclopedia
  • In Spanish class, the board becomes a two-way communicator
  • in current events, it becomes a news source to hyperlink to national newspapers
With PolyVision interactive whiteboards in their classrooms, Milan’s teachers now have the ability to write, save, print, stream cable television, access the Internet, project from a DVD/VCR, display PowerPointpresentations and more.

The technology also gives parents instant access to the entire lesson presented during each class, which is particularly important when a student is absent or has special needs. A key element in the technology solution is RM Easiteach® software, developed specifically for interactive, whole-class teaching. With dedicated toolbars for different subjects, it’s easy for Milan’s teachers to create virtually unlimited interactive lesson plans.

According to teachers, the interactive whiteboard technology significantly improves students’ comprehension of the material,and decreases teachers’ time involved with paperwork and planning. As an integral part of the algebra and calculus program, the interactive whiteboard is used daily by teacher Steve Porter.

“When I’m teaching, I put everything on the interactive whiteboard,”he said. “At the end of the hour, I can save my notes into a web folder so students (and parents) can access it later, either from the computer lab or home.”

PolyVision interactive whiteboards allow teachers to capture, annotate and highlight their work and distribute it in different ways than they could with a regular dry-erase whiteboard. Captured information can be printed, e-mailed, or uploaded to the Internet. Additionally, teachers can emphasize critical parts of the lesson through its unique visual and auditory effects.

Math teacher Cindy Hasselbring uses content tools from RM Easiteach software to move through lessons more quickly. “It’s so much better than Microsoft PowerPoint for teachers,” she said. “For math, it has graph paper, number lines, protractor, timer, math symbols, exponents. It’s so much faster, plus you can prepare your notes ahead of time, and you can save them for reference.”

Speeds teaching, enhances learning

Before using the technology, math department head Steve Porter recalls spending up to four days in class explaining the different formulas of a parabola. Now, with the interactive whiteboard and a graphing calculator, he can explain it in ten minutes. “It’s more effective because it’s more accurate and precise, and the kids can participate too. I’m doing more than educating the students. I can cover more material; it’s more encompassing and I can saturate a unit much better.”

Additionally, Porter uses the technology to quickly review work without having to rewrite the entire problem and answer, which can be extremely time-consuming, particularly in calculus. “Kids will always ask me about a problem I explained 20 minutes earlier.If it was on a chalkboard, it’s gone. And I would have wasted 15minutes of class time looking up the problem and rewriting or graphing the answer. Now, I just arrow back and find it, and we can move on. It’s an incredibly useful tool.”
"Instruction with a Polyvision interactive whiteboard is the best way of teaching without releying on books and worksheets. Using the internet and streaming video sites, we open up the world to our students. Students are excited and teachers will never go back to the old way of teaching."
William Matley
Milan District Tecchnology Consultant

Adds excitement and freshness

Many veteran teachers who were once preparing for retirement are now teaching at higher levels of effectiveness, according to Matley. Sue Haas, who has taught Spanish at Milan for 26 years, agreed.“When you’ve been teaching as long as I have, things tend to get a little stale. With so much media coming at kids, teachers need tools that add a lot of excitement and freshness, and that’s what PolyVision’s interactive whiteboard does.”

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