The Inspire Suite, our most iPad-centric classroom, is the crowning achievement of our immersive, technology enriched environment philosophy. Hidden behind our very own Tardis door is an environment that is so inspiring that it truly feels ‘bigger on the inside’; for behind this portal lies a 140” Apple TV enabled screen, displaying curated topic content as pupils remove bags and coats, informing and exciting them about the lessons they are about to experience. The Inspire Suite corridor also features stereo surround sound and LED tube lighting throughout, making the entire environment come alive to create an experience unlike any other.
Children are tasked with taking ownership of the task set, often having free reign of which apps to use to create the end product. This is combined with lessons where children specifically focus on using a particular app to demonstrate their learning. The Inspire Suite has been at the forefront of using the ‘Everyone Can Create’ programme in our school. Children have enjoyed exploring their creativity before transferring these skills across to other curriculum areas.
The Inspire Suite has been a transformative hub for learning for pupils across the school. It has been the classroom at the forefront of ‘Augmented Reality’, using apps such as HP Reveal and AR MAKR to create displays that come to life. Mathematical concepts alongside poems and stories are read to children as they hold their iPad up to the walls of the classroom.
In lessons, pupils have created 3D shapes, portals to other ‘worlds’ as well as treasure chests and have placed them ‘inside’ the classroom with the use of Augmented Reality. Children have also had the chance to ‘virtually’ visit and explore parts of the world that would have otherwise been near impossible to see. Virtual tours deep in the Amazon Rainforest, from the top of the Eiffel Tower and in the middle of Antarctica have been made possible through the use of 360° photographs and mapping software available to the children, allowing them to immerse themselves in a topic to a greater extent than ever before.
Over the past two years, the ‘Everyone Can Code’ programme has been delivered in the Inspire Suite; this has worked well to compliment the practical application of Swift Playgrounds and other coding languages in the school’s Spark Lab. Pupils using this software have grown in confidence with coding basics as well as the transferable skills that come from these lessons.
Setting, sharing and monitoring work in this class is made easy with Apple Classroom, the teacher is given the chance to instantaneously share a pupil’s work with the rest of the class. Documents are easily shared and all of the pupil’s screens can be viewed at once. The latter of these tools has even been used to set activities such as photo challenges, whereby the teacher can see all the results at the same time.
The Inspire Suite is an ever-changing, fluid and evolving concept which is designed to challenge preconceptions of learning, transforming itself as technologies are created, expanded and become obsolete. The Inspire Suite does not stand still in its push to improve learning for all at Howard Junior School and will continue to be our flagship classroom for piloting exciting new developments for years to com, whatever they may be.
In terms of the near future, the Inspire Suite aims to continue to place itself at the forefront of digital learning with further development of chromakey ‘Green Screen’ videos as a way for pupils to present their work. Looking towards the next academic year, the Inspire Suite will also play host to Apple RTC (Regional Training Centre) workshops and aims to enrol a number of its students on the Apple Teacher programme.