St. Mary Magdelene School in West Bromwich are the first school in the West Midlands area to have an iSurround environment installed in their school.
This impressive room enables movies and images to be interactively projected onto both the walls and the floor. It also includes its own air-conditioning unit and scent capsules which help to create the right atmosphere to transport children to an endless number of locations or spaces in time. There is a wealth of readily prepared resources available, along with the ability to create and design your own quizzes and to project your own movies and images (in fact anything you want to from the internet) onto the screens via an easy-to use keyboard system.
l went along to have a look for myself and was so impressed by what I saw. This wonderful solution I believe is technology at its best in education and the possibilities really do seem endless.
Read on to ﬁnd out why Mrs Gillett, headteacher, decided to have an iSurround room in her school and how this has impacted school life for both children and staff.
Where did you ﬁrst hear about the use of iSurround rooms in schools?
A fellow colleague of mine had heard about them previously and told me about them. Coincidentally, since this conversation an email from Fusion 1 Ltd was sent through to the school advertising their iSurround product and I decided to follow it up.
How do you intend to use it?
It will be used for everything from supporting an already exciting and immersive delivery of the curriculum through to the development of writing. To engage the children into a world which they don’t normally have access to through sensory enhancement.
What did the project involve?
We visited a school in the Northern area which had one of the rooms to see how it was being utilised and were very impressed by what we saw. We then arranged a site visit from Fusion 1 Ltd to measure up the room in order to receive a tailored quotation. This then went to governors for their approval along with a presentation from myself on this fabulous resource. The local authority were contacted for audit purposes and I am pleased to say that due to the bespoke nature of the product fell into the ‘exclusions’ bracket and no further quotations were required. The room was previously an IT suite, so we arranged for our technical support company Concero to empty the room of if devices and relocate them around the classrooms. The installation took 8 days from start to finish and went extremely smoothly. Since the install has been completed there has been one staff training session and one tweak of technology since. Further training is to be carried out for staff wishing to design their own games which are tailored to the needs of their students. The support we have received from Fusion1 Ltd has been absolutely fantastic and they have such a friendly and helpful team of staff. The whole process has been considerably seamless and any technical support needed has been supplied quickly. I can highly recommend them.
How has this impacted on the children in school so far?
I have already seen noticeable improvement in children’s writing skills. This is down to motivation and engagement that comes when believing they are truly in a specific environment; allowing their imagination to ﬂow. Our new room has excited, motivated and engaged all of our children.
How have your staff responded to integrating this new technology into their lessons?
Staff have been so enthusiastic and excited about it. l am very lucky to have such a creative team anyway when it comes to structuring their lessons, and our new room has only enhanced what they are already doing so well. Staff have commented that this room is better than they thought it was going to be and have found the navigation very easy.