Transforming lessons with tech

HP has been working with primary schools in Hampshire to transform lessons and bring learning to life

Norwood and Crescent Primary Schools joined in 2007 forming an arrangement whereby both schools work together through shared leadership and governance. This federation also allows both schools to share an IT infrastructure to produce economies of scale. 

The schools invested in 120 student laptops and 34 laptops for teachers, but five years later they had become practically unusable and the built up patchwork of wireless networks was unwieldy and difficult to administer and manage. The schools wanted a new IT infrastructure to take advantage of the latest technology.

Brian Jukes, ICT manager, Crescent Primary School, explained: “We had created an ad hoc Wi-Fi network made up of lots of different brands of access point which simply couldn’t cope with the volume of traffic while the old server was struggling to manage the network effectively. Furthermore, our existing laptops had reached end of life, took an age to boot up and regularly crashed. It was time for a fresh approach to our IT environment.”

Upgrading ageing machines and technology

After approaching four companies for advice on how best to build a new IT infrastructure, it was Medhurst that won the proposal. The HP Gold Partner and IT Education specialist has successfully equipped over 100 schools with HP solutions.

“Using HP technology for laptops, tablets, network switches, access points and servers made it a consistent, coherent and cost-effective choice” said Jukes.

Using 150 laptops, new servers and tablets, pupils and teachers are reaping the benefits of enhanced mobility and interactivity – including a seamless wireless network and screen sharing across multiple devices. However, the most innovative aspect of the overall solution was the inclusion of 60 HP ElitePads.

Jukes added: “The ElitePads are the perfect way to equip teachers and pupils with a truly mobile device that can bring learning to life.”

The equipment was installed during the Easter holidays after which, pupils and teachers began to explore the new opportunities on offer. After years of failing hardware and unreliable WiFi, the new infrastructure reinvigorated interest in technology.

“It had got to the point where the kids and the teachers had given up on the old laptops and so were not getting the most out of the interactive whiteboards so this new infrastructure brought it all back to life,” continued Jukes. “Coming in after the Easter break, it was a joy to see their reactions, particularly to the ElitePads.” 

An engaging and interactive classroom

With the new systems, the start-up process is near instant, and the wireless network Allows for travel between classes without connectivity loss. This increases productivity and makes the learning experience more interactive.

Jukes said: “This complete HP solution has transformed our educational environment and improved productivity, giving pupils and teachers alike the freedom to work seamlessly from class to class while making lessons more engaging and interactive.”

Resources can be sent to any device using Medhurst’s web-based dashboard cloud solution, meaning staff and students can securely access school programmes anytime, anywhere.

Teachers can also connect their HP ElitePad 900 Tablets to interactive whiteboards, making for a more collaborative learning environment.

“Anyone can now connect to the whiteboards and share their screen with the class, which really makes the lessons fun and engaging. The laptops and tablets need only one charge to keep them going all day and they never crash so there is no frustration,” comments Jukes. “The ElitePads in particular are proving popular with special needs pupils who tend to react better to interactive stimulus so it is helping provide an inclusive experience for all.”