Whitestone Primary School

Using Interactive Plasma Screens.

Whitestone Primary is a medium sized primary school in the West of Swansea. The school has a number of children who have Additional Learning Needs including Specialist Teaching Facilities for both infant and children.

Within the Infant Specialist Teaching Facility some of the children have motor difficulties which make control of traditional interactive boards or computers a challenge which means that the school have to give careful consideration to the needs of all children when providing touch based interaction within the facility.

The teacher within the Specialist Teaching Facility wanted to provide the children within the class with opportunities to control the computer using touch screen technologies. This would give the children far more opportunities to interact with CD ROM and Internet based software packages which would help the children to enhance their learning as well as give the children the opportunity to work together collaboratively with Support Assistant help.

There was limited space available in the facility which has limited the options which could be taken at the time of implementing the change into the STF facility.

The school looked at the technologies which were available at the time such as interactive white boards, touch screen monitors and other technologies and weighed up the pros and cons to each device looking at issues such as price, suitability and ease of use with the children.

The school decided to wall mount a large digital plasma TV on the wall using a moveable bracket which was set an appropriate height to allow the children who used a wheel chair to help with mobility issues to get up close and use the touch screen. Ideally, the school would have liked to have been able to use a height flexible mounting however this was not available at the time.

The SMART Interactive Display Frame was purchased and mounted around the TV so that it became interactive with the children able to touch the screen with this touch resulting in the computer performing a left click. This meant that the activities used on internet sites or CD ROMS became far more interactive and easy to use both individually and in groups with support from an LSA or the class teacher.

In wet break or lunch time monitors from Year 6 come down to the unit and help the children in the facility use the board which has helped to develop an inclusive ethos amongst the children.

The children within the class have benefitted from having improved access to ICT equipment within the class room and being able to control their interaction with the computer at a far easier level.

Co-operation and group work skills have improved in individuals in the class who like to have control over the computer as they have learnt to take turns and wait for others to take theirs before taking over.

As technology becomes more advanced new options have become available such as short throw projectors on interactive boards which could have the height adjusted by the class teacher or LSA or similar plasma screen products supplied by other companies.