For over 200 years, Fairfield High School for Girls in Droylsden, Manchester, has been teaching pupils at the highest level of academic achievement. However, this is a school with the future in mind. In September 2004, as part of the Specialist Schools Programme, Fairfield succeeded in becoming a designated Science College and now actively encourages the role of women in the science and technology sectors. Ten years on and they are still investing in the school to future-proof both the students and the facilities.
Last summer, the school secured investment to build eight additional classrooms. As part of the refurbishment, they wanted to update their current Audio Visual (AV) solution to embrace the newly emerging technology of touchscreens, which they hoped would enable the school to improve teaching for both staff and pupils.
Stone Group worked with Fairfield High School to address two major challenges:
- Future-proofing the eight new classrooms so that they grow with the school
- Deploying systems that allow teaching staff to move audio and visual material seamlessly between desktop screens and wall-mounted touchscreens
Jamie Rowland, Network Manager at Fairfield said, “We tried various different touchscreens with demonstrations provided by Stone Group. For teaching staff it is really important that we are able to provide them with devices on a single operating system, which allows them to move seamlessly between the touchscreen system on the desk and the whiteboard on the wall. Valuable time can be saved if we can provide staff with devices that have similar controls.”
As a result, it was decided to keep the new screens in line with existing interactive whiteboards around the school – the SMART range of touchscreens. This would also reduce any time on training, as the teachers were already familiar with SMART notebook annotation software.
Stone Group worked with Fairfield High School to provide nine SMART Board 6065 touchscreens with 4K resolution and nine Stone All in One desktop PCs for the teachers’ desks. The 4K screens provide greater clarity, making the screens easy to read and capturing the attention of the students wherever they are sitting in the classroom. This is important when the screens are used to project science experiments or other detailed demonstrations, as the 4K screen can bring the subject to life in detail unachievable with lower resolution screens.
Incorporating Stone All in Ones with the school’s new AV solution has helped to enable a fluid transition from desktop screen to interactive display. It now means that teachers can have the same engagement with the class regardless of where they are in the classroom. Equipped with Windows 8, the Stone All in Ones enable teaching staff to utilise a number of new mathematical teaching applications, which rely heavily on interactive displays and the ability to drag and drop.
“We opted for the Stone All in One with touch capability and Windows 8 operating system, so that our teaching staff would have the ability to swipe smoothly, the screen at their teaching desks, as they would when standing up at the front of the class. With the added ability of an HDMI out port on the Stone All in One, this acted as a video splitter so we could have dual display without the need for extra devices,” added Jamie.
Stone equipped the school with corresponding visualisers, which can project any item onto the interactive displays, bringing a new lease of life to curriculum areas such as science.
Before installation, Stone Group’s Infrastructure Services team [SIS] conducted an on-site survey to ensure the installation would deliver optimal impact on teaching and learning. Jamie comments, “We really valued Stone Group’s input into the positioning of the screens. There is a difficult balance to be made between positioning the screens so that teachers can reach every part of the display, while also allowing pupils at the back of the classroom to be able to see. Stone Group came in and helped us to devise an installation height, which met both the needs of teachers and pupils.”
With a tight two-day window for delivery and installation, Stone Group worked efficiently with Fairfield High School to plan a suitable delivery and installation schedule. In addition, all cables and brackets were sent to the site ahead of the screens, ensuring a smooth delivery and installation program.
“By investing in the latest 4K touch screens we have equipped the school to be ready for future technological advances. As teaching software develops and expectations from staff and pupils increase, the AV technology will grow with the school.
The teachers and pupils are very happy with the displays, as they are Ultra HD. This adds real clarity to the lessons, without the need to switch off lights and close blinds, which is sometimes still necessary with the lower resolution screens you would normally get from a projector or interactive whiteboard.”