The Avon Maitland District School Board, located on the border of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario, Canada, prides itself on delivering a first-class education to its 15,100 students. With its stated goal being to “engage, inspire, and innovate,” Avon Maitland understood that bringing more technology into its classrooms would be essential to maintaining its stellar reputation and reinforcing its dedication to student achievement.
So in 2018, the district embarked on creating a new Technology-Enabled Learning Plan (TELP) that would outline a long-term, sustainable strategy to achieve more equitable access to classroom technologies and transform the way classroom education is delivered throughout the district. Ultimately, the district wanted its 41 schools to be places where students are immersed in interactive technology that enriches their experiences and stimulates their minds through creative instruction.
“We wanted better technology to equip our students with 21st century skills and competencies,” said Jason Hillier, administrator of information technology services at Avon Maitland. “We needed solutions that could increase student engagement and help us stay ahead of the curve in terms of learning technology.”
An easy, seamless introduction to new high-tech tools
Once Avon Maitland defined its primary goals— encouraging engagement and interactivity, creating a more stimulating classroom environment, and establishing virtual connections to classrooms around the globe—it became clear that interactive panels would be a critical component of its technology plan. These panels would need to be full of innovative features as well as compatible with a range of devices, so students could participate regardless of the type of device they were using.
With this engaging platform, we’ve noticed that students thoroughly enjoy being able to come up to the board and interact with it directly. They’re also able to utilize existing tools such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops to engage with the subject matter and share their content wirelessly.
Hillier, who spearheaded the search for the right frontof-classroom technology solution, quickly identified Promethean as a top contender because of its long record of success in the education technology market. The company’s award-winning ActivPanel interactive displays and ActivInspire lesson delivery software were being used in millions of classrooms across the globe, which gave Hillier the confidence that the district would be making a wise investment.
Still, Hillier wanted to be sure that Promethean would be the right fit for his district. So he asked his trusted implementing partner, Compugen, to secure a demo model in order to see how students and teachers would react to the technology in a realworld classroom environment. This trial phase gave Avon Maitland’s students and educators first-hand experience using the ActivPanel, and it allowed Hillier to determine how it could be efficiently integrated into the classroom without disruptions.
“The biggest concern for me was that I didn’t want to upset our students’ learning,” explained Hillier. “You think about years and years of professional development, and classroom activities and lessons that were pre-developed. We couldn’t just throw that away and start anew. We needed technology that could help us seamlessly transition without upsetting the curriculum status quo.”
Educators see an immediate increase in engagement
At the end of the trial phase, Avon Maitland decided to go with Promethean. Compugen helped the district install the panels, integrate them into the existing technology environment, and set up training sessions for educators to help them incorporate the new technology into their lesson plans.
Right away, Avon Maitland saw a sharp increase in student engagement. “Students love the interactivity because it’s not just a static board, where an educator is simply projecting something onto the screen,” Hillier said. “With this engaging platform, we’ve noticed that students thoroughly enjoy being able to come up to the board and interact with it directly. They’re also able to utilize existing tools such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops to engage with the subject matter and share their content wirelessly.”
For teachers, the new Promethean interactive panels have been a welcome addition to their arsenal of classroom tools. The transition from their previous technology to Promethean was effortless due to the ActivPanel’s intuitive interface. Teachers were particularly impressed with the ability to annotate directly on the screen and the multiple touchpoints. They also appreciated the flexibility of having a device agnostic platform that allows students to showcase their work wirelessly from any device.
Promethean is constantly updating its solution and providing new ways to improve student engagement, so I foresee this solution becoming a core component of our continual learning plan.
Another critical advantage to the Promethean solution is the training and development resources provided. Teachers are able to interact with other educators in countries around the world, accessing prebuilt professional content that is shared in an online community, so they don’t have to design all of their own lessons from scratch.
Hillier believes this type of classroom technology is just the beginning of an exciting transformation in education. “I see this tool as continuing to evolve the classroom environment, and we will continue to change teaching practices and learning methods well into the future,” he said. “Promethean is constantly updating its solution and providing new ways to improve student engagement, so I foresee this solution becoming a core component of our continual learning plan.”
Download the Avon Maitland District School Board Customer story here!