As part of a recent technology upgrade, Ashgrove State School has made the switch from interactive whiteboards to Epson’s interactive ultra short throw projectors, encouraging greater levels of student collaboration and enhanced functionality.
At the Brisbane-based school, technology is viewed as an important tool to enhance student learning. “I think we need to resource teachers well if they are going to be able to teach well. Part and parcel of equipping teachers with what they need is upgrading our technology,” says Anita Bond, Ashgrove State School Principal.
Catering to almost 800 students, the Prep to Year 6 school had nine Epson EB1450Ui interactive projectors installed in classrooms at the beginning of 2018, and a further five added at the beginning of 2019 – with more on the cards, budget depending.
Interactive projectors are now being used right across the school, in most year levels. In Prep to Year 2, many of the classrooms feature older Epson interactive projectors, installed in 2015. These will be the next classrooms to be upgraded to the Epson EB1450Ui. In addition, there are plans for other teaching spaces such as the school’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden classroom, library and communal areas to be equipped with Epson projectors in the near future.
The school’s Technologies Mentor, Sandy Gardner, says the new projectors have replaced old equipment in many of the school’s classrooms. “We had interactive whiteboards in all our classrooms since about 2012 and are slowly replacing and updating them with Epson interactive projectors. The technology of the old interactive whiteboards meant they had to constantly be recalibrated and were difficult to use, so they weren’t being used with all of their functionality. With the new interactive projectors, we’ve had such great service from the Epson team. Our teachers, particularly those who were a bit hesitant, have picked it up easily and are excited about the technology.”
As part of the upgrade, Epson undertook a professional development session at the school to ensure all teachers understood how to use the projectors and all of their functions.
“Epson ran a professional development afternoon and I was asked by staff to record it. That night I was approached by staff again who wanted more professional development around the use of the projectors because they were so excited about the opportunities they would provide for their teaching,” says Ms Gardner.
Staff quickly identified a variety of features that would prove beneficial in the classroom. “Among the most exciting features for our teachers are the fact that they can have a couple of students interacting at once, can screenshot student work, annotate over the top and provide just in time feedback. This work may then be saved for future reflection, a task that teachers and students couldn’t do in the past. They are really excited about the opportunities the technology brings.”
Students at Ashgrove have a bring your own iPad program from Years 3 to 6. Using the Epson technology, teachers can actually photograph a student’s work on their iPad and then quickly and easily share it with the entire class. “Being able to annotate and capture that so they can refer to it at a later time if needed is a big advantage. Teachers are also able to go to the whiteboard, visit a website or other online source, screenshot the page, and investigate the digital literacy components of the website, and take screenshots of the appropriate things they need so it can be shared with their class,” adds Glen O’Halloran, Deputy Principal for Years 3 to 6.
For Ashgrove, the brighter colours offered by Epson’s exclusive 3-chip LCD technology, which dedicates an entire chip to process each primary colour, has proven to be a great advantage. “Our classrooms have a lot of windows, and therefore a lot of natural light, which is great. The ultra short throw projectors Epson provides means the colour is always bright so teachers don’t need to darken classrooms for students to be able to see properly. These projectors work seamlessly,” adds Ms Gardner.
According to Mr O’Halloran, choosing Epson for this latest technology upgrade brought with it many advantages. “The interactive projectors were well-priced for what they can deliver. While the price-point was good, Epson’s continued support, including coming out and doing professional development days and being able to support us when we need it has been a real winner. Interactive projectors are a genuine alternative to what a lot of schools are doing. They bring so much functionality that teachers didn’t have access to previously.”
The install was completed by AboutTech, a Queensland-based audio-visual technology specialist that has completed a wide variety of successful technology upgrades in schools.
“AboutTech has been a long-standing provider, which we have worked with for many years,” says Ms Gardner. “We worked with the company’s director, Glenn Searle, to determine the best option for our needs. For the actual install, AboutTech has been very accommodating with regard to school hours, coming in very early so they are finished by the time school starts, which results in less disruption to our students. Glenn has been great at providing advice and professional development for our teachers. There is no point in putting this sort of technology into our school unless our staff have the proper skills to use it. The Epson EB1450Ui interactive projectors were seen as the best match for us.”
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