Established in 1874, Lilycroft Primary School located in Bradford, West Yorkshire, is a co-educational primary establishment that welcomes students from Reception through to Year 6. The school is of historical interest as a grade 2 listed building, yet the inside is very much a modern learning environment. An interactive whiteboard adorns every classroom, and mobile laptop caddies ensure that children have access to technology across the curriculum.
Lilycroft put their valuable resources to meticulous use in support of their school vision: celebrating creativity and success in learning. To this end, they have invested in emerging technology to enhance everyday teaching and ignite a passion for learning.
At Lilycroft, children are at the centre of the school’s objectives. Each student is taught fundamental skills to enable them to be happy and successful in a future paved by technology. This includes a focus on the ability to use ICT safely, responsibly, and effectively.
Ruby Hanif, the ICT Co-ordinator for Key Stage 2, was disappointed by the performance of Netbooks supplied to the school by an alternative provider. Having worked at Lilycroft for over 10 years, she was well-acquainted with the school’s needs and recognised that they were not being met by the mediocre equipment.
She explains, “ICT is such a valuable part of the curriculum, but both learning and teaching were being disrupted by faulty devices. The Netbooks were much too slow and their keys kept falling off when the children inevitably fiddled with them. In order for our students to truly benefit from technology in the classroom, I knew it was time to invest in durable equipment that could keep up with the pace of learning.
“With the introduction of the new Computing curriculum, the procurement of new devices could not have come at a better time. I didn’t want to just replace our existing Netbooks, I wanted a more mobile solution in line with the school’s values of creative and immersive learning. It made sense to find a device capable of providing the children with access to technology throughout the entire curriculum, supporting all areas of learning, not just in ICT. It was the next step in our journey to create a more innovative curriculum with fun and engaging methods of learning.”
Lilycroft began a partnership with Stone by investing in 90 Classmate devices, well within their budget.
Commenting on the integration of the new ICT equipment, Ruby says “I’m very happy with my decision to choose the Classmates. The children have definitely found the technology very engaging and won’t put them down!”
Thinner and sleeker than a laptop, the Classmate is light and portable enough for even the youngest students. However, it is also an extremely durable device, designed to withstand the typically rough handling of school ICT equipment. The device is drop-tested to 70cm and also spill-proof, so Lilycroft have the peace of mind that low-flying paint, glue, or drinks bottles will no longer result in the loss of productivity in lessons.
Ruby comments, “I’m particularly pleased with the flexible nature of the devices – we wanted to provide the students with the mobility to work and play on the go, and they’re easy to carry around so the students aren’t tied to one spot. They can enjoy learning by taking pictures and videos indoors or outdoors, and have the choice between the laptop or tablet format – whichever is most comfortable for them for a particular task. It’s given all of us the opportunity to interact with technology in new and exciting ways.”
Each Classmate comes pre-packaged with a range of educational tools and apps to deliver an enhanced learning experience.
According to Ruby, “The best part was the free education-specific software. Ranging from Science apps, making use of sensors to collect and analyse data, to Art apps, unlocking creativity with digital artwork, it means that staff have the ability to use resources specifically targeted to numeracy, literacy, and more.
“Additionally, a vital reason for procuring the new devices was to support the new Computing curriculum. It was important for the children to be able to use Scratch, a programming tool that we use extensively in ICT lessons, which also teaches them to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Most importantly, the Classmates are quicker at loading the programmes than the Netbooks were, and much better at handling them too – they run without a glitch.”