Founded in 1886, MLC School is an independent girls’ school operated by the Uniting Church in Australia. The school’s mission is to educate young women to be fearless thinkers with moral courage and compassion. MLC School provides education for 1200 students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.
The school’s curriculum has been carefully designed to provide the best possible academic support for students at each year level. Technology is also widely used both as a teaching aid and a tool for students to study and interact with their peers.
To support teachers and enhance lessons, data projectors had been installed in each of the school’s 80 classrooms. Fixed to ceilings, they offered a way for teachers to display still and video content to students.
“While they had served the school well for many years, they were starting to show signs of age,” says MLC School Technology Services Manager, Rudy De Vos. “And, because they were fixed in place, they didn’t offer any flexibility as to where they could be used.”
De Vos says operational cost was another factor causing some concern. Replacement globes for certain projectors could cost more than $1000 each and had to be purchased on a regular basis.
“We were keen to find a new projection solution that could provide teachers with the tools they need while also keeping our IT budget under control,” he says.
Working with technology partner ASI Solutions, the MLC School IT team examined a range of different projection options. After evaluating flat screen devices from a number of vendors, a decision was made to deploy 70-inch ActivePanel displays from Promethean.
The touch-screen panels are connected to the school’s Wi-Fi network and can be used for interactive sessions during lessons. Cameras allow the screens to be used for video calls so students can interact with people in other locations.
“The advice provided by ASI Solutions was invaluable in terms of their ability to understand our specific requirements for student learning outcomes. In addition, their commitment to innovation and engagement as well as their ability to work within budget and on time have enabled us so far to install 30 panels as part of a rollout that will continue during the next 12 months to 18 months,” says De Vos. “Each panel is located on a wheeled frame which allows it to be readily moved about the classroom and to other locations within the school.”
Both teachers and students have quickly embraced the new screens and the value they add to the learning process.
For example, maths teachers can use a screen to help illustrate the power of equations. Students can ‘draw’ on the screen to show how they believe an equation will appear as a graph, with the correct answer then superimposed over the top.
In the Junior School, students can use the screens to undertake quizzes and interactive lessons. They can also view video content that relates to the topic being studied.
The screens have also overcome the problem of ambient light in classrooms that would often interfere with the data projectors. Instead of having to darken windows, teachers can use the new panels in normal lighting levels.
“Having the screens on wheels has really helped to make our classrooms much more flexible,” says De Vos. “Teachers can change the seating layout and then shift the screen into the most convenient location. We are also looking at the potential of linking multiple panels together so one teacher in a classroom could be teaching students in multiple classrooms.”
The panels will also enhance the regular presentation sessions staged by students for their parents. “Rather than having static displays of their work, students will be able to devise interactive presentations that parents can view on the screens,” he says. “That will really make their work come alive.”
De Vos says he anticipates the panels will serve the school for “at least the next five years and probably much longer”.
“The combination of ASI’s ongoing assistance as well their recommended technology solution are proving a great investment for us and will add considerable value for our teachers and our students,” he says.