The school is in the seaside town of Prestatyn on the North Wales coast. There are 430+ full-time pupils from four to 11 years of age in 17 mainstream classes. A further 60 part-time pupils attend the nursery. Gaia looks after the ICT in the school through its support arrangements with Denbighshire County Council.
The school was formed through amalgamation of the infant and junior schools. In 2015 work started on extending the school so as to bring both phases on to one site. During this period of change the school was considering investment in new technology. However, following discussions with the Gaia Account manager it was decided to work together to develop a new vision for ICT across the school, undertake some development projects and focus upon professional learning for the staff. The school believed that going through this process would help identify what technology would best meet its future educational needs.
In reaching this point Gaia engaged its education specialists in the conversation with the head, deputy and ICT lead teacher. We agreed to run an initial visioning workshop with staff and deploy a survey of staff ICT skills and current patterns of use. This information was used to identify a number of professional development priorities.
Gaia’s Head of Education developed this agenda into a CPD programme to run from March 2015 to July 2016. Gaia programme managed the professional support for the school over this period. At the same time the school agreed to participate in a Gaia sponsored action research pilot project supported by Dr Christina Preston from MirandaNet. Two teachers helped collect and collate evidence of impact on teaching and learning for collation into a short report at the end of the programme.
Each project was supported by Gaia’s education and training team. The first to start was the IWB training programme with all staff receiving update training in the use of Smart Notebook a a tool for teaching and learning. Three staff champions were then trained to a more advanced user level so that they could provide in house support and feed new ideas and techniques to colleagues though on-going short workshops.
Gaia’s primary education specialist helped formulate the new vision statement and we worked on planning integration of green screen technologies into a ‘Mars Exploration’ topic to be undertaken by two classes. Gaia supported this project through deployment of its video production specialist, who worked alongside the lead teachers in the first use of the technology in early 2016.
The Google Apps project involved providing help to the school in setting up their GAFE accounts. Also developing class sites that provide basic VLE function, including use of Google Classroom. The particular educational development at Bodnant Community Primary School was modelling of the way that the virtual workspace can be used to secure links between the teacher, pupils and home.
Each development was tracked through Gaia’s programme management and watched internally by the action researchers. They were supported by MirandaNet through both face to face mentoring of the application of action research techniques. The concluding report evaluated the impact of the support on teaching and learning. It was used to decide on the next steps in device procurement and professional learning for staff.
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