In a world where children have almost constant access to devices such as tablets and smartphones at home – often from a very early age – schools are facing the challenge of being able to effectively engage pupils throughout the day. Many are now incorporating modern technology into their daily lessons and The Lenham School in Kent – part of the Valley Invicta Academies Trust (VIAT) – is no exception. With 453 students ranging from 11-18 years old, the school is using Epson projectors in combination with Apple devices to ‘wow’ its pupils and unleash the creativity of its teachers.
Fresh school of thought
In July 2016, The Lenham School decided a change was needed. It had no wireless technology, no staff were using mobile devices and not much in the way of visual projection, so it embarked on a period of technological investment with the aim of transforming the learning experience.
“Our strategy was to do everything in one go, completely refurbish the main buildings and install technology in every classroom,” said Chris Foreman, head teacher at the school. “We wanted to evolve from a position of having limited technology, to enabling every classroom with the technology to deliver outstanding teaching and learning for our pupils.”
The plan was to install multiple 100-inch displays throughout the school to really impress the students when they returned from the Summer Holidays. Different ways to achieve this were explored – such as large TVs and interactive whiteboards – but the cost of these solutions was prohibitive, prompting the school to turn to Epson and acquire 30 ultra-short-throw projectors.
The projectors were supplemented with magnetic screens that act as both a modern whiteboard and a projection surface, along with a tablet device for every classroom, to offer an interactive element. Activities on the tablet are shown on the screens, enabling teachers to walk around the classroom and engage students from their desks, rather than having them walk up to the front of the class.
Most importantly, the projectors were able to be mounted above the magnetic screens to achieve full screen coverage within the perimeters of the classrooms. “In terms of cost-effectiveness, it was cheaper than any other technology that I could have put in there to achieve the same goals,” Chris added.
Working with the Epson team to determine the optimum configuration, this technology was installed across 30 classrooms in just one week, ready in plenty of time for the start of the new term.
A sound investment
Epson’s 3LCD technology ensures high-quality White and Colour Light Output for vivid colours and bright images, even in daylight, but that’s not the only thing that attracted The Lenham School to the EB-585W projectors.
As well as offering impressive images, the Epson projectors also provide top-of-the-range sound quality, as Chris explains: “The sound quality from the internal speaker on the projector was surprisingly good,” he said. “We haven’t had to supplement the projector with any external speakers – you can create a very impressive impact straight from the projector.”
But the real benefit is the new level of flexibility afforded to teachers in how they choose to run their lessons. For example, they can quickly jump between using the projector and the whiteboard without any delays; a zoom function can be used to highlight specific content; and the whiteboard can be written on with traditional markers even when the projector is on.
Finally, there is now a continuity of technology across classrooms, including the staffroom and conference room, and all teachers have access to the same set of resources so that all students are given the same interactive opportunities.
“Teachers can hop between different technologies in the same installation, in the same lesson, at the same time,” Chris explained. “Everything works together seamlessly, meaning they can concentrate on engaging their students without having to worry about the technology failing.
“We wanted the visuals to have that ‘wow’ factor and, thanks to Epson’s projectors, that is exactly what we have got. The teachers love using them and, most importantly, the students love their new and improved lessons.”
The Lenham School is already seeing the fruits of its technological labours. The projectors, combined with the mobile tablet devices, have already had a significant impact on the school’s progress scores, but the school’s not ready to stand still. There are plans for a new science building with eight labs in the works, and every lab will be equipped with the same technology. There are also plans for using Epson’s projection technology for drama performances to boost the creative side of the school as well as the academic side.