Broadclyst Community Primary School, in Devon, are well known locally for the way that they use ICT to enhance learning. Knowing that they tend to be at the leading edge of new technologies, I asked a colleague to visit, to look at how they are using Windows Vista to support teaching and learning in their school

       

Over the last 15 years, Broadclyst Primary School has been pushing the boundaries of ICT to bring educational benefits to its pupils. Always looking to adopt the latest technology, the school was one of the first to develop a home access system over 8 years ago, loaning PCs to parents and tapping into the idea of e-learning portals. Since then the school has continued to develop its focus on a collaborative and creative online learning space. Delivering a rich, dynamic and multimedia learning experience needs support at base level. Having successfully used Windows XP for the past few years, moving to the latest operating system Windows Vista seemed a natural progression for them. For the school, successful learning is all about communication and collaboration, and the senior management team felt that Windows Vista was the perfect platform upon which this could take place.

Windows Vista button

Jonathan Bishop, Deputy Head at Broadclyst Primary School commented: “We were one of the first schools to roll out Windows Vista soon after it was launched. With over 350 networked PCs, our roll out was not on a small scale and we obviously had a steep learning curve. As with any new technology, it required an investment of time and effort but once we had the first processes in place, the adoption and implementation was straightforward. Having a strategic plan that involved looking at the compatibility of all the existing hardware and software and analysing the upgrade requirements was fundamental. We worked very closely with Microsoft throughout the project and found the company to be extremely supportive, not only in helping us set up the system but also in understanding what we wanted to achieve educationally once Windows Vista was in place. It is important to place an operating system within the context of what we want to achieve as a school and the extra functionality and media focused environment offer us an all round better experience and more opportunities for learning, especially when combined with Microsoft Office 2007 and our network.”

With the Government investing large amounts of money into educational ICT, it is easy to see how schools have become fixated on PCs and technology. However, as Broadclyst Primary School has found, it is the adults, not the pupils who have hang ups about advancements. Most pupils see PCs as a tool, one that is motivating and engaging when used for learning. The new Windows Vista system has been quickly embraced and adopted by the pupils.

Jonathan continued: “Ultimately Windows Vista is the next generation of operating system, offering more stability, security and functionality than previous systems. With Windows Vista now successfully integrated into our learning environment alongside all the communications and collaboration tools that our school has both sourced and created, we have a complete, networked ICT resource that has brought us real educational benefits. Having seen the difference that Windows Vista makes, I would never go back to Windows XP.”

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