Q&A with Carrie Matthews, Headteacher at The Linden Academy, Luton
Part of The Shared Learning Trust, a family of four schools in Bedfordshire, Luton’s The Linden Academy is focused on providing local children with quality education. With small class sizes, a 34-week term, and highly professional and caring staff, The Linden Academy had all the ingredients for a first-rate education – it just needed the right technology to enable new, interactive learning experiences. Here, we talk to the school’s Headteacher, Carrie Matthews, about The Linden Academy’s investment in learning technology, and why Clevertouch was the best partner for this project.
What kick-started your decision to invest in new learning technology?
We’ve been on an incredible journey at The Linden Academy, recently opening a brand new school building. As part of that investment we’ve moved from having pretty much no technology in the school to becoming one of the most effective and efficient schools within our Shared Learning Trust.
How much technology did you introduce to your new school building?
Because it was a brand new building, we had to put in a new server, an audiovisual solution, roll out a new Wi-Fi network, and add an improved Internet connection.
Then we moved away from desktop technology towards mobile classroom solutions, to give our staff the ability to be more flexible in the way they teach.
How did you want this new technology to shape classroom learning?
Learning nowadays is very active, hands-on, and child-led; technology really supports that. Children need to explore and investigate – not just wait to be told the answer.
We wanted technology to bring lessons to life, and be accessible to the children. Although this technology supports teachers, it needed to belong to the children.
Why did you choose Clevertouch as your learning technology partner?
I was sold the minute we compared the Clevertouch screens side-by-side with the other leading brand. I could see that the Clevertouch screen had more functionality, it was better looking, and it just felt more intuitive.
We were impressed with the large, bright screen, plus the Android interface which meant our teachers could just go into a room and bring something up to show the children – which was really useful when we’d just moved into the new building.
What benefits have you seen from investing in Clevertouch technology?
To quote one of our teachers, Clevertouch is a brilliant system to help children learn. The Clevertouch in combination with iPads and laptops has really enabled them to develop their skills online and offline. Learning is certainly not passive, and that’s thanks to Clevertouch.
Also, our teachers feel much more efficient. They can use the Lynx annotation and lesson planning software to show children how to write, they can look things up on the Internet, and they can use the Snowflake software to access educational games and build engaging lessons. Everything is really interactive and focused on getting the children's’ attention.
What’s next for technology at The Shared Learning Trust?
We are now looking at doing similar technology roll-outs across The Shared Learning Trust. We have a number of classrooms across the trust that are still using old projectors and smartboards. As these are at the end of their life, we’re looking to replace them with Clevertouch.