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Good Practice - Case Study
Barkway and Barley First Schools
School Numbers: 52 and 53
Technology Rich Mobile Classroom
Barley C of E (VC) First School and Barkway VA (C of E) First School are two small schools in villages near Royston in Hertfordshire. They are approximately 2.5 miles apart and as they are small they share one head teacher. The schools therefore work together very closely in many different ways, and share certain resources, one of which is a technology equipped minibus.
On first inspection the Barkway and Barley Classroom Bus looks like any other mode of transporting pupils. But with a small amount of setting up, pupils and teachers using the minibus are able to utilise many of the learning technologies found in modern classrooms. Non-interactive whiteboard screens can be fitted on one side of the bus, onto which images can be projected from two small projectors mounted on the other side of the bus. Linked to the projectors is an Apple TV, and an Apple router provides wifi to the bus so that iPads and a Macbook Pro laptop can project onto the screens, wirelessly via the Apple TV.
All the technology can easily be removed from the bus for safe storage, and the iPads and Macbook are also utilised within the schools.
Pull-out tables can quickly be set up so that children can sit and work, use mobile devices and see the screens, and even project their iPads onto the screens to share their work.
Example of use
HfL staff joined Year 3 and 4 pupils from both schools on an outing in the minibus in the summer term of 2014. Pupils were taken to a section of local woodland where they had an environmental science lesson. They captured images of trees on their iPads and then used the ‘StoryKit’ app, a simple electronic storybook creator, to display and label their findings. Once back in the bus, each pupil independently connected their iPad wirelessly and projected their work up onto the two screens to share with their classmates.Pupils love the experience:
“We can go round in it and explore nature and use the projector”, said one Year 3 pupil. “I like that we can connect the iPads and see everyone’s work”, said another.
To fund the bus, the school received a grant in 2013 from the Jacobs Foundation, part of the local Newsells Park Stud. This covered the minibus and all the IT equipment on board. The foundation supports projects directed towards life skills, computer skills and activities associated with nature and the environment.
Chris Carter, Herts for Learning eDevelopments Adviser, provided training to teachers inside the bus in setting up and using the equipment, as well as general iPad training so teachers and pupils can get the most from the devices both in school and out in the minibus. All the equipment is running smoothly thus far and staff from both schools are building confidence in taking lessons on the road.
“We’re really enjoying having it and you can really see the benefits for the pupils” said Sharon Brown, Assistant Head at Barkway.