Cognita’s UK technology refresh sets teachers free
Cognita has invested £7.3 million in upgrading the technology across 36 of its UK schools, using new equipment to support the excellent teaching in its schools and ‘untether’ teachers from the front of the classroom.
Rather than just update teachers’ desktop computers and classroom projectors, the project ‘leapfrogged’ a generation of technology, introducing mobile equipment to offer more flexibility, saving teachers valuable time, improving opportunities to demonstrate student thinking and evidence their learning.
An upgraded wireless solution allows the teacher, with a handheld interactive device, to move freely around the classroom. This means teachers can access formative assessment tools in the classroom by, for example, taking a photo of a student’s workbook and instantly showing it on the digital screen at the front of the room – using annotation tools perhaps to praise or to discuss amongst the class. Staff can also collaborate on documents with other colleagues in real time which increases efficiency, reduces workload and gives teachers more capacity to focus on teaching and learning.
Samantha Nash, Head of Prep at Huddersfield Grammar School, said, “Our classroom is becoming more of a ‘learning community’ through the immediacy of being able to share work for peer-to-peer or group analysis …I am completely mobile and able to teach from anywhere.”
Julia Hallett, Early Years teacher at Long Close School, added, “The technology upgrade has changed my teaching considerably. I am now able to add my planning and online resources directly onto OneNote and with the incredible mirroring feature of the tablet I can access these from one place and display them directly on the board. This has enabled my lessons to run more smoothly as everything is to hand at a touch of a button! I can only imagine where this technology will take the students and I.”
Alongside the rollout of the new equipment, Andy Perryer, Digital Learning Adviser for Cognita, has provided complementary training focused on the tools and capabilities that will make the biggest difference in the classroom, demonstrating ‘instant wins’ that can be introduced from the very next day. Cognita has also committed to providing digital learning CPD well beyond the end of the equipment rollout by partnering with Microsoft’s largest training partner.
Andy says, “Our teachers are highly experienced subject specialists and we are mindful that we are asking them to adapt their approach to teaching. This has been a big culture change and we’ve seen that where the new technology has been embraced the most, by teachers at all levels, the rewards have been the greatest. This project is not just about new kit, it is about changing the way we deliver our learning for the benefit of all staff and students.”
In phase one, 2,760 new devices were deployed into classrooms. Phase two will see the equipment and training rolled out to the remaining Cognita schools in the UK.