Cardiff school adopts proximity-based tech for learning

Mary Immaculate High School

Mary Immaculate High School is a high-achieving, co-educational comprehensive school in Cardiff meeting the needs of children of all abilities aged 11-16. The school serves the Catholic community of the western regions of Cardiff and beyond, as well as families from other religious and non-religious backgrounds who seek to receive a faith education.

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A Cardiff school has adopted beacon technology for use in its classrooms, and is the first to do so in Wales. Mary Immaculate High School in Wenvoe has been working with edtech company Aspire2Be for the past six months, enabling pupils to access learning resources and exercises related to their lessons mobile devices.

A bespoke app was developed by Aspire2Be and then built on by the Geography department under teacher Rhys Corcoran. This platform enables students to access a range of learning materials to complement their studies across all curriculum subjects. The technology is being used successfully within lessons to deliver core content, provide visual aids, videos and revision exercises, and to set various tasks to suit different abilities within one classroom.

“For teaching staff, the package has allowed us to really change the way we deliver lessons,” said Mr Corcoran. “It allows us to present information in a variety of ways, and therefore enables students to access far more information, in different formats during their lessons. We can bring together websites, videos, interactive quizzes and opportunities for students to record their own audio visual resources, with more traditional methods of learning, to give our young people a fully blended experience.

“The use of beacon technology makes our pupils’ learning journey far more stimulating and we are already seeing an impact on achievement when these teaching modules are assessed.”

Geography teacher Rhys Corcoran and headteacher Huw Powell get to grips with the new technology

Headteacher Huw Powell added: “Using technology to enhance pupil learning is a top priority for us at Mary Immaculate. We are genuinely interested in how IT can actually drive results, as opposed to just making the learning more interesting. We have re-evaluated the use of ICT across the entire school over the past year or two, and have introduced a very effective digital ambassadors programme, which sees individual staff members and students using the technology we have available to enhance learning and share their experiences and successes across the school.”

Mary Immaculate has fully embraced technology and integrated a wide range of technical tools into lessons to impact on pupil learning over the past few years. The school has already collated evidence which illustrates higher rates of pupil engagement and achievement in the blended multimedia lessons staff have delivered. Among the staff is award-winning head of ICT and Computer Science Adam Speight, who is also a contributor to Innovate My School.

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